Interview: Yana

I completed a round-up review based around acoustic music, with Yana’s track Calm Before The Storm being included. If you somehow missed out on the song then, you can also find it at the end of this interview!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a song titled Calm Before The Storm, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about this song and where can it be purchased?

The idea for the song arrived when I learnt about the sudden passing of a fiddle player and singer Jitka Suranska, a key figure of folk holidays festival here in Czech Republic. She died of cancer at just 41. I didn’t know her personally, but it was a shock and I felt the need to react.
You can purchase all my music on Bandcamp: https://ya…

Your debut album is coming out soon! Can you tell us more about it and when it will be released?
The album is called Journey of the Soul. It is a true labour of love and a fulfilment of my biggest dream yet. I have been fortunate to work with an amazing bunch of people on the album, it’s an Irish affair through and through. I haven’t set a release date yet, but it looks more and more like spring 2023.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Yes and no. The positive side I see in those two years is the fact I had more time to write, to be creative. I got a chance to revisit older lyrics too and some of them ended up on the album.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

I see myself as a better lyricist than composer and so I write the lyrics first and then I try to figure out the melody around that – a melody that captures the feel the song is supposed to carry. I record a rough demo in my home set up which is very basic. The proper recording is always done in AP Studios in Dublin, Ireland.

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

Yes, I am planning to release a third single from the album this September. Lyrically, that song is one of the newest, written during the lockdown in spring 2020, and it has quite an oriental or experimental vibe which I absolutely adore.

You’re based in the Czech Republic – what is the local music scene like?

It is a very colourful yet I would say it is quite small and people are not that used to hearing songs in English – it is slowly changing now, but for me personally I am not really aiming for the local scene. I have received the strongest support in the British Isles. Besides, we do not have such a strong busking culture as Ireland has – here the perception of buskers is generally negative and most people consider it begging, when we all know this is not always the case. It is starting to change now, but we are miles away from the respect these people deserve. I personally wouldn’t have the guts to go busking. It requires a special personality, not just being able to sing and play.

You also have strong ties to Ireland. Can you tell me a little more about that?

Ireland is my happy place, my home away from home. I have been going there for 18 years on and off, and I have been considering moving over for quite some time, which is not gonna happen in the end as the reasonable part of my mind prevailed, realising there’s no point in trying it for a few months as it’s too expensive. Yet it so happens that my closest friends are in Ireland, most of my musical endeavours happen there too and all my recordings as well. Many people have also mentioned they hear an Irish accent when they hear me speak or sing. Therefore I have been saying I am adopted by the Irish at this stage. As my sound engineer put it “you don’t have to be born Irish to be Irish.“

Your music is rather folky. What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

My biggest influences are Interference and their singer Fergus O’Farrell. I have always been into meaningful lyrics and I love to dig deeper into the words.

Here are a few albums I have been listening to recently:

Cloud Cult: Metamorphosis
Jesus Christ Superstar Official Motion Picture Soundtrack
BK Pepper: From An Empty Castle
Breaking Out Soundtrack
Black: Water On Stone
Duke Special: A Note Let Go

Do you have any tour dates lined up in the UK?

Not at the moment but I am hoping for more gigs once the album is out. So stay tuned.

Any last words for the fans?

If you like what you hear, go and support the artist. It means the world for independent musicians like myself.