We had the good fortune of connecting with Yahra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yahra, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
One motto that I’ve always tried my best to follow in life is individuality or the ability to always be or do something different than the norm. This is a mantra I’ve lived by not just in my musical career but in my professional and personal life as well.
We currently live in an age where choices are infinite. Want a pair of noise canceling headphones? A quick search on Amazon gives you atleast 5+ brands with similar specs. Craving a certain type of cuisine? Look hard and you’ll find atleast 2-3 options in a decently sized city. Have a specific hairstyle in mind that you’d like to get for a special occasion? A google search will give you 10+ hair stylist options within a few miles of your current location. So, in such a competitive world, how does one enter and be competitive and successful? See, that’s where your individuality comes into play. If you’re not offering something different than your closest competitor/counterpart, why would you expect someone to chose you?
When I decided to seriously pursue my hobby of playing music, the first question I asked myself was: how are my sets going to be different than the others? With the boom of electronic music in in the recent years and the ease with which you can learn how to DJ, you’ll find several artists/DJ’s that are “good” at curating live sets. But then, what separates the “good” from the “great” DJ’s? That is where I try to differentiate myself. I try my best to achieve this by digging deep to discover and play music from relatively lesser known artists or labels. If someone walks away from my performance or set without having heard most of the songs that I’ve played, that is when I’m most proud of myself! I hope to continue to do this through my live sets and hopefully through my own productions in the future!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Most of us have busy work lives nowadays and we all seek some sort of an outlet where we can truly express ourselves. I think it’s really necessary to channel all your frustrations and worries into something that let’s you be you, something that brings out a better version of yourself rather than wasting time and energy dwelling more into those frustrations. To me, that outlet has always been music. No matter the circumstances in my life: happy or sad, I’ve always gone to music for feeling and expressing that particular emotion. Although listening to music gave me great relief, as I was growing up I often hoped to make music of my own, especially electronic music! Through the influences and connections I was able to build by attending concerts and music shows all over the world, I finally have been to able to achieve that dream of mine! Although, I have to say reaching to this point definitely hasn’t been easy. As with any creative process, it’s important to approach projects with an open and free mind. However, working a full time job as an engineer often leaves me with very little mental energy to get my creative juices flowing. Somehow through the support of my family, friends, mentor and peers I’ve been able to push through and find a good balance in distributing my energy between the two different aspects of my life. One thing that this process has taught me though is to never “push” something beyond a certain limit, especially when working on a new track (It’s probably the engineer in me that tries to find a solution to everything!). Early on I tried hard to finish every single musical project that I worked on and more often than not, I ended up scrapping those projects because they just didn’t sound right. As I gained more experience, whenever I hit a roadblock I pushed myself again not to finish the project but instead to put it aside at that moment, start something new and maybe come back to it later. If I had to take away one life lesson from my journey so far, it’d probably be to learn to “let go”. Sometimes when things don’t work out, it’s probably for several reasons and it’s important to let go because that means you’re making yourself ready for something new or better.
With having a reached a level where I can finish projects to my liking, one thing I want to do is try and differentiate myself from the artist next to me. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a motto that I follow currently in my musical career. If you ever come and catch a performance of mine, I want you to discover something new (a song or an artist). That is what I aspire and hope to be known for!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As someone who loves traveling, that is a tough question haha!
Well to start with, it’s a no brainer for me to take them around and show the beautiful scenery Arizona has to offer. There are some absolutely wonderful spots I’ve had the chance to discover and see over the past few years here, some of them include: Camelback Mountain, Saguaro Lake area, Apache Trail (when it’s open), Lake Pleasant, Flagstaff, Sedona, The Grand Canyon (Of course!), Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, etc. I would definitely drive around to these places and make a 2-3 day road trip out of it. Another thing that has impressed me quite a bit is how different each major city in and around the metropolitan Phoenix area is. Downtown Phoenix has a vibrant and modern feel, Tempe is always buzzing with it’s nightlife especially in and around the ASU area and the rich history in Scottsdale. So the next thing I’d do is spend a day or two walking around in all 3 of these cities.
When it comes to food, the options here are endless. This might come across as a surprise to a lot of people, in-fact it was a surprise to me when I moved here but the Asian Cuisine in the state is A+; especially Thai and Chinese food. Two restaurants that I love going to are: Malee’s Thai Bistro in old Town Scottsdale and Original Cuisine in Mesa (the crispy chicken with peppers here is something I’d highly recommend getting!). And since we’re in Arizona, it’s again a no brainer to try out some Mexican food! Los Taquitos has been my favorite so far!
However, one particular thing that I have thoroughly enjoyed over the past few years here are the sunsets. In my opinion, they’re some of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed among all the places I’ve travelled to! If you ever find yourself with some free time in Arizona, I highly recommend going out and watching the sunset. Dobbins Lookout in South Mountain has been my go-to spot!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to give a huge shoutout to Michael Hooker for providing me with the right mentorship and advice that I needed to pursue my hobby of producing music and also giving me the opportunity to release my first ever single through his label Re:Sound Music! I’ve been attempting to make music for a few years now and I always hit a dead end after a certain point. I needed some kind of guidance and YouTube tutorials just weren’t doing it for me. But ever since I started working with Michael, I could see myself finishing more projects than ever before. If you’re in the same boat right now as I used to be, make sure to get in touch with Michael or anyone that may have some experience of producing and releasing music. That mentorship can help you immensely and I cannot stress that enough!
While we’re talking about Michael, I highly recommend checking out his label Re:Sound Music. It’s grown to become a great platform for both upcoming and well established artists to release their music with little to no restrictions or constraints. I couldn’t have been any more happy to have my first official release with them. Also if you’re ever in the Phoenix area please do check out one of the several rooftop or pool parties they host, they’re always a highlight!
I certainly do not want to end this without mentioning the role my wife and some close friends have played. No matter how good and supportive your mentor or peers are, having a loved one support you equally if not more is extra special and a huge motivating factor. With the busy lives both me and my wife lead, it hasn’t been easy for me to give time to many other essential things in life as I would want to. But that’s where my wife has taken the lead and taken care of things at home just so I can seriously pursue my passion in the music industry. I hope to return that same amount of motivation and support to her in her future endeavors!
Other: SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/yahramusic#