Music is a stabilizing force in the life of 16-year-old vocalist Yahandje Daniel. Despite her age, she is already familiar to local music fans for excelling in the Junior Monarch competition and as a member of the phenomenal Alleyne School Pop Band.
“Music has been my calm amidst all of the ‘noise’ and my peace in the midst of chaos. I am extremely blessed to be gifted with this talent, and I intend to share it as much as I possibly can. Music keeps me grounded and has taught me a lot about time management and the need for prioritizing,” she told Bajan Vibes.
The teenager has always possessed a fondness for music and has been performing since age ten. She recalled: “My first performance occurred back in 2014 when I attended Hillaby Turner’s Hall Primary School. At that time, I was in Class Three and my music teacher, Mr Alleyne, had recently noticed that I could sing. He then asked me if I would be interested in singing with the school choir. As time went on, my interest in being a solo singer grew, and consequently so did my confidence. He then entered me as a solo vocalist in the School’s Music Festival in 2015, and I have been singing ever since.”
Her music provides a means of self-expression. She believes that it speaks to the multifaceted being that she is since it conveys her diversified views and feelings on various topics. The singer prefers to perform a range of musical styles.
“I have never liked the idea of being attached to a certain genre. I never wanted to be classified as an artiste who only sings jazz, gospel or whatever the genre may be, and so with exposure to and my willingness to try different genres and styles I grew to have the ability to sing almost anything,” she said.
The selection of artistes she looks up to are as eclectic as her own style. Regina Belle, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, Adele, Adrian Clarke, Nikita, Marvay, Alison Hinds and Patrice Roberts are among those she reveres.
“I recall sitting one evening and watching a series of live musical performances on YouTube and I was inspired by the varying styles, passion and drive that the various artistes displayed. Immediately, I was like, I can be an artiste too.”
The one consistent factor about her music is it’s organic. “I say this because any original song that I would have ever sung was never forced or rushed and so when I perform said song, the organic nature of the process prior to doing so shines through.”
This was the case with her new release, Broken Chains. The singer revealed that the day she recorded the song, she did not go to the studio with a set plan. When she got there, she just listened to the demo and ended up recording the song the same day. The feedback has been positive.
“People generally love the difference in style and vibe and are pleasantly surprised by the release of my new single Broken Chains on the infectious Afro-Deez Riddim,” Yahandje said.
Its poignant message was written specifically for her by Kevin Watson, and the song was produced by Randy Eastmond of Quantum Productions. Ultimately, the artiste wants to use her music to deliver a message where her interpretation of various topics is prominent. “I am always sure to be me and to stay true to myself and that is where the magic lies.”
Yahandje experiences mixed emotions every time she is about to hit the stage. “I live for the excitement paired with anxiety that fills my body every single time an emcee reads my biography. Also, I live to create memories to last a lifetime.”
She added: “I am forever appreciative of the vibrant personalities I come into contact with and just that feeling of satisfaction whenever I am provided the opportunity to step on a stage to showcase my talent with hopes of inspiring and uplifting another individual in the process.”
The artiste is thankful for all those helping her along the way. “My heart is filled with gratitude for the individuals who played or continue to play an integral role in my development as an individual and artiste, namely my parents, Mr Richard Stoute and Chrystal Cummins-Beckles. [I thank] my music teachers Kevin Moore, Gary Goodridge and Carolanne Garner, as well as the staff at my alma maters, Hillaby Turner’s Hall Primary and Alleyne School, and last but certainly not least, the dynamic duo from Quantum Productions Kevin Watson and Randy Eastmond.”
Still fresh into her music career, she has not yet experienced any major challenges. Mindful about the uncertainty in this field she admitted: “I am aware that with anything worth my energy will come challenges, but my mentors and my team continue to keep me grounded and prepare me to deal with the challenges I am liable to encounter in the industry.”
Within the coming months, Yahandje is preparing to release some more music. “I would like to collaborate with Marvay, Nikita, 2 Mile Hill, Faith, Betty Payne and Rochelle Griffith, to name a few. Every person that I have mentioned possesses a special type of vibe that I appreciate a whole lot and I would definitely love to add to that chemistry somehow and someday.”
Yahandje is not a typical teenager. While many her age prefer binge watching television, she is not a fan. The introvert prefers spending time with friends. “I have keen interest in natural sciences with chemistry and biology being my preferred sciences. At present, I aspire to be a biochemist by profession.”
Her love for music will be a constant in her life, and she encourages others with that passion to take a similar leap of faith. Yahandje offered these nuggets of wisdom: “Pursue music because you love it and you are passionate about it. Never be discouraged by the naysayers, establish goals, set targets, accomplish those goals and repeat. Build your brand and finally be innovative and be fearless in breaking all barriers that present themselves.” (STT)