YADi Hunger TV Mixtape by The Hunger on Mixcloud
YADi (real name, Hannah Yadi) is a bit of a musical magpie. Both her style and sound are an eclectic mixture of influences yet her songs are consistently cohesive and catchy.
Her heritage – a mixture of Algerian, Norwegian and Italian – is often cited as the main influence to her sound but, like most things, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.
Growing up with musically-minded international parents, the melting pot backdrop of London, and cultivating a diverse and creative group of friends has steadily instilled a fascination with the limitless possibilities of sound.
Though she’s been writing music since she was 13, YADi officially came onto the scene around three years ago as more of an electro-pop act. Since then her sound has evolved, now incorporating her love for North African music and visuals. She has recently collaborated with Baaba Maal , The Very Best and Spoek Mathambo.
She further expanded her portfolio working with experimental producers such as Raffertie, Ariel Rechtstaid, Johan Hugo and Hoost (who she worked with on the exclusive mixtape for Hunger TV). She not only lends her powerful vocals to their projects but is also actively getting to grips with production herself.
Visually and sonically engaging YADi is an example of an artist who genuinely loves her craft and believes in her own vision. With the time and care that have gone into this project we have no doubt that she’s going to be big.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT YOU WANTED A CAREER IN MUSIC?
I knew from a really young age. My earliest memories of music are singing and dancing on top of the kitchen table when my parents used to play me their records. I turned everything into a stage.
HOW MUCH HAS YOUR HERITAGE/FAMILY INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC?
I was lucky enough to have parents that played music all the time and introduced me to different genres – my mother loves jazz and classical and my father came to England from Algeria in 1976 to watch the Rolling Stones and never left – so music is everything to him – I definitely inherited that. I also listened to a lot of different styles of North African music and it’s roots in Malian blues from the desert – I became obsessed – I feel connected to that music somehow. Listening to so many styles meant there were never any boundaries when I started making music myself.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR SOUND HAS EVOLVED SIGNIFICANTLY OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS AND IF SO, HOW?
Yes absolutely, I never set out to write a particular style of song, my music is determined by my mood at the time and my mood is always changing.
I’m a chameleon and I love bouncing off other musicians so when I meet amazing producers like Ariel Rechtshaid and Johan Hugo I just let the mood take me, and the results are unique.
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’VE BEEN COLLABORATING A LOT RECENTLY – FOR EXAMPLE WITH RAFFERTIE AND BAABA MAAL – HOW IMPORTANT ARE COLLABORATIONS TO YOUR OVERALL PROCESS?
More than I would have ever thought. I learn something different in every session and that filters its way into my own music. I’ve never sought to hone in on one sound, I’m still experimenting with it and I think that’s what makes you into an artist – to keep pushing boundaries until you’ve explored every avenue that excites you.
HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT TO CARVE A PATH FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC? IF SO, WHAT HAVE SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES BEEN?
I think the most difficult thing is remembering to be you. Whilst I love collaborating I always try to stay true to the reasons that I started making music in the first place.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS A COMMON MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
That production is a men’s game. There are increasing amounts of female producers coming – you just have to show an interest, the opportunity is out there.
STYLE AND VISUALS SEEM TO BE A BIG PART OF YOUR CREATIVE OUTPUT. WHERE DO YOU GET VISUAL/STYLE INSPIRATION FROM?
All around. Paintings by other people or ones I’ve painted myself. They feed into my music and vice versa. I day dream all the time and come up with short stories – sometimes I think of an idea for a video first and that informs a song. I pick out stories my grandparents used to tell me about Algeria and Norway and try to imagine what life was like back then, which puts me in a different world entirely and I write songs from there. It’s more subconscious than it sounds though.
THOUGH IT’S GREAT TO SEE SO MANY STRONG WOMEN ON THE SCENE AT THE MOMENT, DO YOU FIND IT MORE DIFFICULT TO STAND OUT AT ALL?
It’s always going to be hard to stand out whether you’re a man or a woman; you just have to be yourself.
DO YOU THINK THAT WOMEN ARE FINALLY GAINING SOME EQUALITY IN THE HISTORICALLY MALE-DOMINATED MUSIC INDUSTRY?
I don’t necessarily think that the industry has been male dominated in the past -perhaps in terms of business, but not in terms of talent. Some of my idols are women, Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Bjork, Annie Lennox, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and some of them lived in a time when life was far less ‘equal’ for women and they all fought stereotypes. So as long as we continue to do that, it will always be possible for us to dominate.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP? CAN WE EXPECT AN ALBUM SOON?
I am about to release my single ‘Creatures’ my own label Seven Brother Records. Yes.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
That I do what I love everyday.
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?
YADi will be playing at The Old Queens Head in Islington, London on Thursday 22nd August.
To find out more, visit her website.