You can not even begin to imagine the excitement that we felt we came across this next artist’s profile on Instagram. We just had to reach out to her for an interview and we are extremely lucky that she agreed to meet with us. Hailing from Sacramento and now making her mark in the City of Angels, we present to you the rising star and captivating singer-songwriter, Yelly! With a voice that can mesmerize even the toughest of critics and a songwriting ability that’s beyond her years, Yelly is definitely an artist to keep on your radar. She has been making bold step towards chasing her dreams, and with each performance, she’s leaving audiences spellbound. So without further ado, check out our interview with rising R&B star Yelly.
SFND MAG: What’s up Yelly. We can’t thank you enough for agreeing to interview with us. How are you?
YELLY: I’m doing well. I’m doing really well. Obviously, I am just excited. I’ve been working on a lot of new music.
SFND MAG: That’s what we like to hear. Please tell us a little about yourself and where you are from and how you started your career in music.
YELLY: I’m from Sacramento, California, but I am currently living in L.A. I started doing music at a really young age. Music for me was really a calling so I was probably around eight. I’ve always been into writing and poetry and singing into the arts, but started taking music very seriously my sophomore year of high-school when I dropped my first song. I graduated in 2019 and now here we are... still going strong.
SFND MAG: That is awesome and by the way, your voice is absolutely beautiful. We have to let you know up front how dope your music is. We’ve been following you for a couple years now and we’ve enjoyed watching you grow in your artistry. What has been the best part of your journey so far?
YELLY:I think the best part of my journey so far is just seeing how many of the fans and the supporters are touched by my art and my voice. I just feel like that is what I’m here to do. That is my purpose. Seeing that it does help people and that it does make an impact, is really powerful.
SFND MAG: So, what has been the most challenging part of it?
YELLY: I think the most challenging part has just been… You know I started at a really young age, so coming into my womanhood while being in the light and with putting myself out there constantly and consistently, I’ve had to learn different lessons as a young woman. Some of those lessons were learned publicly and some of them weren’t. So, just the aspect of being in the limelight and still having to learn how to be me at the same time. You know what I mean?
SFND MAG: Wow, that is beautifully put. That is amazing. So you say that you made a move from Sacramento to Los Angeles! Tell us a little about that experience.
YELLY: Yes! That move has honestly been very interesting. Since 2020 I’ve been back and forth from Sacramento to L.A. and I moved here officially in 2021, so it’s been a very beautiful process because it is a different kind of grind out here. You may be “one of them ones” in your city, but when you come to L.A. everybody out there is “one of them ones” you know what I mean? So there is a different level of motivation because we come out here with a purpose. We don’t just come out there just to say we’re on the soil. We’re coming here to make an impact, so it’s been a beautiful journey just coming out here, networking with new people and everything like that. high school’s beauty pageant.
SFND MAG: How has life for you changed since you made the move?
YELLY: My life has changed in many different ways honestly. I will say that this is my first time living on my own. I had just turned 20 when I got my first apartment and so that was a transitional period because I hadn’t ever been away from my dad before. So it was definitely a transition from being a kid, growing up and then becoming an adult in a big ol’ city and having all these responsibilities as well as having a dream and goals and things to accomplish.
SFND MAG: You mentioned you dad. We saw the video on your instagram when your dad was saying that he doesn’t want you to move, but he has to let you spread your wings and fly. How is he doing?
YELLY: You know, he is actually doing really good. So I’m totally like a “Daddy’s Girl” because my dad raised me. He is so supportive. He is the reason why I am where I am today just because of his support my entire life for my music career. So it definitely was an adjustment for him, but he supports me regardless. He was able to spread his wings a little bit and start doing his own thing too. [ LAUGHS] So he ain’t worried about me. He’s living his best life.
SFND MAG: That is amazing. We’ve got to give it up to good fathers. It is good that you have one in your life who is really supportive of your career. You need that foundation. Now, we are curious. We all know you have a beautiful voice, but do you write your own music as well? What else do you have in your repertoire?
YELLY:A lot of people may not know this but… I actually am a poet. I write songs and I also write poetry. Growing up I was on the spoken word slam team and we went all over the U.S. and competed against other youth Poetry Slam teams. One year we actually placed third in the world because the competition is international. So, writing is definitely in my arsenal of things that I love to do. I also play a little bit of the guitar and the keyboard, moreso by ear. I’ve been technically trained in singing and music by notation since I was really young, but I’m more of a feeling type of girl, so I am better at just hearing it and deciding on what it is I want to do.
SFND MAG: Wow, you are a true talent all around. What do you feel sets you apart from other artists who may be trying to make their mark on the industry in the same way you are?
YELLY: I think what sets me apart from other artists is that… for me it is not about money or fame. I know I have a gift, a purpose, and a message and I know that my music can aid in bringing healing and speaking untold stories and also tell the stories that someone may feel like they need to hear. I feel like that is what sets me apart because in this day and age, people are so driven by clout, and I don’t judge that, but for me it’s something deeper. It’s really about the impact for me.
SFND MAG: That is amazing. You’re going to go really far with that mindset. So, let’s talk about your latest music.. We listened to your single Solo ft D’Barbie! It’s such a dope song. Tell us the backstory behind this record.
YELLY: I was in the studio vibing that night. Last year I wanted to release a song for my 21st birthday that gave a vibe and that made me feel like I wanted to go out and have a good time. So that one was in my arsenal of songs that I felt like I could just gig to in the club because I had a party planned for my 21st birthday. So DaBarbie… shout out to her… she was in the studio at the same time and so I was like “Girl, do you want to hop on this?” We had already been wanting to do a song together. So, it was the perfect timing. SFND MAG: You have quite a fan base already and it is still growing. What can your fans expect from Yelly in 2023? New music maybe?
YELLY: Yes! [LAUGHS] They can expect a project. An EP is on the way in 2023. I haven’t dropped a project since 2021. I have three projects out. In 2020 I dropped a project and in 2019 I dropped two projects so I kind of let them sit on that music a little bit and I was dropping singles, but it is time for a body of work. You know what I mean?
SFND MAG: Exactly! We are going to be waiting for it for sure. So, you have developed an extremely dope style and sound. Who are your musical influences, and in what ways have they shaped you as an artist?
YELLY: Some big inspirations for me are… I definitely have to say Aaliyah for sure. SHe is definitely one of my biggest inspirations, just because she is super cool, so swaggy and her voice and her touch in music is unmatched. Lauren Hill, for sure, is a super big inspiration for me. Also, I love Beyonce. I love her work ethic, drive and just everything about Beyonce really. [LAUGHS] Another inspiration of mine I definitely have to say is… Whitney Houston. The texture and the tone of her voice is so beautiful. So those are some of my inspirations.
SFND MAG: How can our readers reach you on social media?
YELLY: All of my social media handles are @officialyelly. I’m on TikTok, Instagram, and a tiny bit on Twitter. You can listen to my music on all streaming platforms. Just look up Yelly.
SFND MAG: You know that brings up an interesting question. How did you get the name Yelly?
YELLY:[LAUGHS] My real name is Danielle. Like I said earlier, I dropped my first song when I was a sophomore in high school and I was building up my name. As I was coming up through middle school and high school people were starting to know who I was as I was gaining a little bit of popularity. They would call me by my Instagram name which was probably something childish. So one day I was like, “I’m an artist. I need to come up with an artist name.” So I started going by Danielle Shavonne and then I was talking to my brother and my manager and I was like “Danielle Shavonne was a little too long.” So then my brother just suggested. “Why don’t you just go by Yelly”? Because in middle school everyone called me Yelly. So I went with Yelly and the rest is history.
D MAG: That is such a cool story. Thanks for sharing that. So is there anything else that you want your fans to know. YELLY: I would like my fans to know that music videos are coming this year. They are going to be so dope. That is one thing that I really didn’t mention as one of my talents. I’m really like a visionary when it comes to films and stuff like that. For a lot of my videos, I create the treatments myself. Visuals… I just love to do so I definitely have a lot of dope ideas for music videos and songs.
SFND MAG:Awesome, that’s what we like to hear. Well, it has been so nice meeting you, talking to you, and learning more about you. You are a bright light and I hope and wish nothing but the best for you Yelly. This has been such a pleasure. Before you go, could you name another artist that you think is So FN Dope and why?
YELLY: Oh yeah. So, I do know an artist . His name is MarMar Oso. He actually just went platinum for one of his songs. He is super dope. He is also from Sacramento, California. So he is a bright star and you have to look out for him.
SFND MAG: Keep doin your thing Yelly! We definitely wish you much success and look forward to seeing you at the top.