Musical Prodigy: Yayi’s journey from a childhood passion to industry recognition

Musical Prodigy: Yayi’s journey from a childhood passion to industry recognition

Yayi is a young Zimbabwean singer and songwriter who has her sights on the international scene. With a deep love of the arts, this ambitious young star has released singles and is working on building a career and making a name for herself in entertainment. We had an exclusive chat with her. *KM – Kudzai Mhangwa, Yayi – Yayi

KM: It’s great to have this conversation with you. Please introduce us to Yayi. Who is she as an artist and a creative?

YAYI: Thank you so much for this opportunity. So Yayi is a young and vibrant artist, singer/songwriter based in Zimbabwe. I am very passionate about my craft and all the elements that come with it. Anything that involves art, I’m there!

KM: When did you get started in music and how has the journey been so far?

YAYI: So my musical interest blossomed from a very early stage in my life. I was five years old when I started being keen about music. As time went on, I would perform at school events and participate in a number of competitions. I remember obtaining an Honours grade for most of my solo Eistedford performances in primary school and in high school. Then I started posting covers which got the attention of many prominent figures in the Zimbabwean music industry when I was fourteen. My official introduction into the industry happened when I was sixteen, this is when I recorded my first single called ‘Ruvarashe’ which was produced by Rodney Beats. From there I became more exposed to a lot of big names in the National and international industry and I began working on more projects from there.

KM: I’ve watched some of your work online and I especially liked ‘Ruvarashe’, I found it electric. Where did the inspiration for that song come from?

YAYI: The inspiration for the song was my little sister. Her name is Michelle Ruvarashe. I wrote the song specifically for her because I watched her go through moments of self-doubt and growing insecurities, which is common amongst a lot of teenagers. Watching her be unable to see how much beauty she had made me realise how much we forget the beauty we hold. So ‘Ruvarashe’ came to be.

KM: How does your creative process look like?

YAYI: My creative process and how I write or create music differs with the season. So sometimes I may write based off of inspiration or maybe something I would have seen that catches my eye or touches my heart so I proceed to write song about it or I just write a song. Ideas just come into my head, I just go ahead and write a song. So, it really varies with the time, season, what’s happening around me, what’s going on but mostly it’s just ideas that come into my head or I could go to the studio and probably come up with ideas, come up with a melody and when the melody is set then I start to hum some sounds and then we build from there but it’s a whole process and it really differs. It’s never the same thing it changes and it varies. 

KM: What have been the highlights of your career so far?

YAYI: Throughout my music career, I’ve had the privilege of performing at a number of venues, collaborating with talented musicians and releasing singles that have resonated with people. One of the highlights was performing for an event organized by Zimoco, sharing the stage with the talented Tamy Moyo, where I felt the energy of the crowd pulsating with every beat. Another memorable experience was being in the same creative space as some of the biggest producers in Zimbabwe. The likes of Rodney Beats, DJ Tamuka, Nasper Incoming and Manuchue. These moments have not only shaped my journey as a musician but have also fuelled my passion to continue pushing boundaries and exploring new sonic landscapes.

KM: What are your plans and what would like to achieve in the future?

YAYI: I plan on elevating myself creatively through engaging with other creatives and exploring new sounds. I have also been working on some projects which I am excited to share. I have always been keen on exploring the fashion world and tapping into modeling so that is definitely part of my plans. One of my biggest goals is to penetrate the international market.

KM: What’s your take on the music industry in Zimbabwe and what ways can it be better; if it needs improvement?

Yayi-1024x807 Musical Prodigy: Yayi's journey from a childhood passion to industry recognition

YAYI: The music industry in Zimbabwe, with it being relatively small, is doing quite well with some Zimbabwean artists gaining exposure internationally. However, like any other industry faces its own challenges. One of the most obvious challenges is sustainability. Many artists are unable to depend on music as a sole source of income. This results in many artists having side hustles which can burn them out. This can further lower the quality and standard of music. If more Zimbabwean artists receive adequate appreciation and financial resources this may improve the quality and standard of work.

KM: What challenges or difficulties have you faced in your work?

YAYI: Most of the challenges I have faced are common to many independent artists worldwide. For example, financial restraints, creative block, self-doubt, etcetera. I have always found ways of maneuvering around and coping with the challenges I have faced because I am surrounded by some of the most amazing individuals like my parents.

KM: So behind the beautiful pictures and music videos there is a person. Who is Yayi outside of music?

YAYI: I honestly enjoy listening to music and dancing. I am very big on spending time with family so being around my family has always been as enjoyable experience for me.

I am a person who enjoys wholesome activities like being outdoors, far away from the city in areas with a lot of greenery. Furthermore, I have always enjoyed challenging myself. Currently I am taking on music production which has been a very interesting experience.

KM: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

YAYI: There is a lot of music in the making and a lot of projects which are going to be released soon. I am very excited to collaborate with some artists and producer. A lot is on the way.

KM: We wish you all the best with your plans and a successful career. Any final words for our readers?

YAYI: Thank you very much for this opportunity. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who continues to support me. There is a lot coming your way so stay tuned. Lots of love.

Kudzai Mhangwa

Kudzai Mhangwa is a writer, actor and musician. He writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. His work has been featured on House of Mutapa, Atrebla Magazine, Ka'edi Africa, Poetry Soup and elsewhere.

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