In this new collaborative series between Rolling Stone AU/NZ and NZ On Air, we get to know the lives and music of some local Aotearoa artists.
“I was just always surrounded by music and loved being the centre of attention… I’m going to be honest, I loved it!”
When you’re a self-proclaimed “woman of excellence” like YAHYAH, the centre of attention is where you belong. Wherever the singer-songwriter finds herself, whether it be living overseas in London and Los Angeles, or being back home in Aotearoa, where she’s found herself since 2021, YAHYAH wants to be noticed for her music.
After learning several instruments as a child, YAHYAH turned to songwriting in the English capital, before getting a management deal as a songwriter in Los Angeles.
Being back home, though, is where she feels she truly belongs. “The reason I came back home last year was to really get back to my Māori roots,” the musician recently told NZ On Air. “My mum passed away around 10 years ago, and so coming home was quite emotional.
That’s why YAHYAH’s music is all about making her mum proud as “a woman that sings about real things, relatable things.”
She’s definitely been living up to her words: last year’s excellent single “Thoughts From My Bed”, vulnerably discussed mental health, before the song was transformed – literally and spiritually – when it was translated into te reo.
YAHYAH will follow “Ngā Mahara Moenga” – and “Talk It Out”, a sweet collaboration with Taylor Roche – this Friday with her new single “Go”, a lightly melancholic electropop number that puts one in mind of a glitchier Robyn.
And as she reveals to NZ On Air, she has plenty more planned for 2023, including festival appearances and an EP. You can watch YAHYAH’s full NZ On Air interview above, and you can pre-save/pre-order “Go” here.