Denver dark rhythmic pop singer YaSi played her first Sofar this year as part of our Xfinity x Sofar Future of Awesome Tour, handpicked by Dinah Jane. She’s quickly become one of our standout artists of 2019, performing at a few other Sofars in Denver and NYC. We chat with her about being a first generation Iranian-American in the music industry, the Denver music scene and more:
Her dream act to see at a Sofar:
Yeesh there are so many people I’d love to see in an intimate setting, but I think Frank Ocean and Lorde are two people I’d love to see do a Sofar.
Artists she’s loving right now:
I’ve really been into bands like Khruangbin and Jungle. Bad Bunny, J Balvin, Rosalía, Lucky Daye, Doja Cat and Ari Lennox have also been on repeat for me lately.
If she could play a Sofar anywhere in the world, it’d be:
Paris 100000%. That city has always been so magical to me.
Her favorite Sofar discovery:
When I was first asked to play a Sofar event I found a song by YEBBA, and it completely blew me away.
YaSi just released a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s eternal bop “Dreams.” Her other “dream” collabs or covers:
I’ve always wanted to cover a Mac Miller (RIP) song and have been waiting to find a production that’ll bring out my voice, but keep his songwriting and production intact. My dream collab has always been Kid Cudi though. He is the reason I pursued music.
Why her first generation Iranian-American background is a part of her career as a pop singer:
Most of my life, Iran has always had a negative connotation in America. With the recent election and Muslim Ban, I’ve become really passionate about bringing attention to my culture by preserving it with art and entertainment. In return, I hope it shows the American audience that we are people too, and we don’t have to have this political cloud over our heads. It also pushes me to go after my dreams harder. The Iranian artists I know of now (that are speaking English in most of their songs) are Snoh Aalegra and Sevdaliza. Despite them growing up in Europe, they have been really inspiring for me because it’s nice to have representation and to see someone that looks like you accomplishing their dreams at a very high creative and business level. I want that for myself and for other Iranian-American kids too.
What it’s like to be a musician in Denver’s under-the-radar music scene:
Denver is really known for the EDM, jam band, and indie rock scene. So I’ve really learned a lot from my peers and the previous success of artists in these genres. Denver really embedded in me the importance of having a kickass live show and for that, I am forever grateful.
Being an artist here is interesting. There’s not much of a business model, so it really puts an emphasis on making great music. But Denver's my home, and I really want to make people pay attention to what we have here.
Why social media is the biggest challenge and greatest opportunity for artists today:
More than ever, we have the opportunity to reach people directly, but there’s also this weird numbers game and facade that can sometimes hurt your creativity. But what I love the most right now is that there are so many people making such cool genre-fusing sounds. I just always have to remind myself that if I’m making honest music and I get to travel, that I’m doing what my younger self always dreamed of.
What makes playing a Sofar different than other gigs:
Sofar is the chance I get to strip back my live performance and have it be just me and a guitar. It’s a different energy than normal shows and I feel recharged every time I play one. It’s so memorable when people at the shows tell you that you really moved them or that they relate to something you were singing.
Cheers, YaSi! Keep an eye out for her EP Unavailable, releasing in the next few months