• New Wave

Women's Series: Yiigaa Talks Being A Woman In Music

Words & photography by Joseph Clarke

Born and raised in Brixton, Yiigaa is a singer/songwriter from South London. Having recently released her EP “Inner Dawn'' with upbeat fast tempo pop infused hits. As well as the recent remix from successful DJ Conducta on her song “Closer” make me very excited to see what the future holds for Yiigaa. With the likes of Spotify filling their curated playlists with songs like “For Me.”

I met Yiigaa in a coffee shop in Brixton to talk about her experience as a woman in a male dominated industry, her upbringing and what inspires her most. We talked and then walked around Brixton and took some photos. Yiigaa is an inspiring and interesting person to talk to and I felt that she has finally found her sound that makes her an really exciting artist to watch in 2021.

Where did your love for music begin?

“My love for music came from my household, my dad was a master drummer, he’d have goat skins hanging on my door for making drums. My whole house has always been filled with music. My mum has traveled and was an old hippy, who was massively into world music. I grew up listening to such a variety of music.”

What inspired you the most growing up, your surroundings or your home?

“My parents. My friends growing up weren't into making music. I met everyone through music outside of my immediate friendship group.”

How difficult have you found it breaking into the music industry as a woman?

“Early on it used to frustrate me, I think you block out the journey you’d had a lot of the time when things are going well. When I first started I was the only girl doing underground music at that time in South London. I met a lot of people as a 17 year old girl, putting myself in quite a vulnerable position. I do feel I’ve had quite an easy ride in terms of being accepted in the underground scene, because I had the backing of those who had already been accepted.”

Are there enough events for women?

“There weren't any nights for me, I would either get put on to perform at the beginning, or I just wouldn’t be put on at all. Even though I was doing just as well as the boys, I wasn’t making the music there was a night for. Which was frustrating as I didn’t get to perform much.”

Were there many other women you knew to offer support to each other at the start of your journey?

“I didn’t know any other women in the industry, there weren't that many doing what I was doing, they weren’t really in that same sphere. It’s only now that girls are coming into the underground scene and now there's loads. Obviously there was before but we didn’t cross paths and now it’s lovely as we do.”

What do you think the industry could do to better support and promote women?

“Not so much focus on the way girls look, as soon as you’ve got two girls who are the same skin tone, it's a comparison, especially black women. They constantly compare you to one another. I couldn't be in a publication once as I looked too similar to Mahalia and IAMDBB.”

“Make more platforms for singers, there are so many rap ones, more for singers to be independent not through labels. They see money and women have to look a certain type of way. The industry has a massive colourism problem. All the girls running the UK right now are all light skin, all about Size 8, there are so many other girls who have this massive talent, especially darker skin girls and they don’t get that opportunity. The UK has a history of not understanding black artists.”

What are your essential ingredients for creativity?

“Being somewhere i'm comfortable in and that's why it’s important to find a producer you work well with. Making up beat house music now, I can be in the room because that is just about vibes, I’m not focusing on the lyrics needing to be perfect.”

What advice would you give your younger self?

“Do not try and focus on proving that you’re the best singer or the best writer or the best rapper, just literally make the music you want to make.”

Would you say your sound has changed from your debut EP Breath in 2016 up to your latest releases such as Closer and For Me?

“The music I’m making now is what I’ve always wanted to make. In my head I’ve not changed, I’ve just never had the facilities and tools to make it. I think I was making music that people expected to make and it was the music I had the facilities to make. I loved it at the time, I’m so grateful for that.”

Recent Posts
ferino banner 300x600.jpg
Featured Articles
Follow Us
  • Instagram
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square

© 2021 by New Wave Magazine. Proudly created by New Wave Studios