Ready for a new sound this summer? Then up-and-coming songstress YADi is just what you’re looking for. British beats, hypnotic vocals and North African cultural influences combine in an evolution of art, style and sound.
Quintessentially British, YADi’s heritage is an exotic fusion as varied as her music; part Algerian, part Italian and part Norwegian. Respect for vocal talents such as Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Edith Piaf is clear. She has a vintage feel but is fiercely contemporary – it was the unique sound of her debut EP The Blow that caught our attention (and nothing to do with being our nearly-namesake, honest).
YADi’s lyrics, stories and artwork also mean that newcomers can identify with her on different creative levels. The Frida Kahlo-esque watercolour imagery covering the EP gives her energetic tunes visuals to match.
Keep your ears open. YADi is currently working on her debut album with collaborators such as Johan Hugo (The Very Best, Santigold, M.I.A.), Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Major Lazer, Usher) and Hot Flush label founder Scuba.
Le Blow caught up with her to talk travel, melody and style inspiration…
Firstly congrats of the buzz around your new The Blow EP. Great choice of title by the way!
You’re back now from playing The Great Escape festival in Brighton. How did it go?
I loved my first Great Escape experience. It started with a pop-up street gig on the seafront. By the end of the show a crowd had gathered and the sun was shining. Later that night I played the Blind Tiger Club for Company magazine, which was brilliant – there was such an amazing atmosphere and it’s always exciting to see the reaction from a crowd who are new to your music.
Did you discover any new artists whilst you were there?
I was so busy I didn’t get a chance to see many bands, but I’d love to have seen Lulu James and Thumpers. I was at their first ever gig at The Seabright Arms and they totally blew me away.
Your vocals have been compared to Kate Bush and Jessie Ware. How do you see yourself sitting in the landscape of female musicians today?
My music is as much about the rhythms as the vocals, and I’d say it’s the combination of those things that sets me apart from others.
You played alongside Aluna George recently. Which musicians inspire you the most?
I like musicians who push barriers and try to create something you’ve never heard before.
Chris Baio and Joe Goddard have remixed your work. Who would you love to collaborate with artistically?
I’d love to get together with MNEK. He has such a great ear for melody, which is the thing I love the most about songwriting.
You shot your video for The Blow in Casablanca and are planning to tour North Africa. Is spreading your musical message globally more important to you than making it big in a single territory, like Britain or the US?
I see the two as being complimentary. I’ve got some followers in all corners of the world and I’d like to try and play live to as many of them as possible.
Is fashion important to you?
Absolutely, and I think you can tell a lot about a person by what they wear. It’s a very immediate form of expression and it’s like painting a picture of the way you want the world to see you.
Watching the video for The Blow your style seems to be a cultural and designer remix. It’s quite an eclectic look to pin down. What influences your aesthetic?
I love working with emerging British designers, and I like to mix their ideas with North African elements to give a little nod to my ancestry. I love ornate North African jewellery and I love the romance of Hispanic traditional dress.
Your Instagram feed reveals your amazing accessories collection. Would you say that great shoes, bright nails and statement jewellery are a signature?
Thank-you! I’d definitely agree, and don’t forget the centre parting.
Does your style change day to day? Do you take fashion inspiration from your travels?
I was recently in Lisbon and I went to see a collection of Fado singers in a local restaurant. It was such a powerful performance and the costumes brought the drama of the songs to life, which is something that inspires my own performances.
Whose style do you admire, past or present?
Frida Kahlo is such an iconic artist. I love her style and her courage to be herself.
Finally, what’s your life and fashion mantra?
Remember to look at the sky.