Categories Interviews

Yehaiyahan: “Hip hop is big in China but there are little female artists involved”

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How did you become an artist? Did you receive any musical training when you were younger?

I studied piano when I was young, not for a long time, but it helped me learn some basic knowledge of music. I had a rock band when I was in high school as a singer and a keyboard player. That’s how I started.

You’re internationally known for being the half of AM444, your jazzy/electro/soul duet with Dutch producer Jay.Soul. How popular is AM444 in China?

AM444 is still underground in China, but we are well-known on the music scene.

You’re usually labeled as an electro artist. However, you incorporate many different sonorities in your work, such as soul and hip hop, and you also rap. How would you describe your music?

I make unique ChaCha sound, a vocalist that is having fun with all kinds of music.

You worked with French musician and singer Mathieu Chédid (M) on the track “Détache toi”. How did you two meet? Did you know his music before working with him?

When he first toured in China, he was trying to discover some interesting Chinese musicians, so our friend Pierre A (Kaiguan Culture) gave him some CDs, and he liked us. That was his idea to remix one of our songs. After that, we did his second Chinese tour together. Before this collaboration, we didn’t really know him. I had only seen a few videos of M.

He calls you the “Eastern Björk” and you name Björk as a major influence. Which other female figures inspire you?

I also like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Roisin Murphy of Moloko, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, Yukimi Nagano of Little Dragon, Yarah Bravo ,PJ Harvey and Sinead O’Connor.

How is the female hip hop music scene like in China?

Hip hop is big in China, but there are little female artists involved. I feel that people like hip hop outfits and style more than the music itself. There were a few female rappers years ago but none of them stayed long.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why?

I don’t tag myself with any kind of “ism”. I’m proud of who I am and what I am doing. I fight to be treated equally and respected not only because I’m a woman, but because of I’m a human being.

What are you listening to these days? Any cool Chinese artists we should check out?

I’m listening to a lot of reggae these days, and discovering more good musicians from all over the Asia. Please check Chee Productions, Soulspeak, Kafe.Hu, Purple Soul, Linfeng

Do you have any upcoming solo projects?

I’m trying to finish a new album of my solo project Faded Ghost. It should be done before the end of the year. I also release a few EPs every year with some of my producer friends. I will also do that this year.

What do you think about Madame Rap? What should be changed or improved? 

It’s a nice way to introduce female hip hop artists from all over the world. I’m happy to have a chance to know them over the pages.

Find Yehaiyahan on Soundcloud, Tumblr and YouTube.

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