Yohany: The New Girl on the Block
The world of R&B, hip hop, and dance music is full of fame-seekers, people who long for the crowd, who can't wait to live the superstar life as depicted in videos. Who wouldn't? But many people see that as the be-all end-all. Ask them what they want to do and why they're in music and they'd likely answer "To go straight to the top!" Sadly, as seen on "American Idol," many of these people bring nothing to the table but ego and desire. In a way, you can't blame them. Many of the top performers of the day have nothing more than cliched, overproduced voices, great abs, and (in females) a nice rack.
Into this overcrowded world of singers comes Yohany, straight outta Miami. Besides great looks, desire and all the rest, home girl can sing. She has the pipes. And she brings an attitude of freshness, of guilelessness, and simplicity to the cluttered R&B/Dance/Pop music table - an anti-diva in a scene where rude imperiousness is equated with attitude, which is equated with the magic talents of a true singer.
This is reflected in her voice and her use of melody, which is particularly evident on her outta nowhere hit, "At the Bar." This song is pure pop 2004, with a pumpin' beat and catchy melody; the story is a simple club situation, but, like good pop, it distills the social, emotional, and sexual politics of a life situation in a seemingly offhand way. And while the sound of her voice has similarities to other singers, she eschews the overwrought emotionalism that plagues most.
With an aggressive campaign spearheaded by Covert Entertainment, she is running up the dance/crossover/R&B charts in the Florida regional markets, nationally and internationally, with air play on various radio stations, internet music sites and in clubs as a result of DJ pools up on the latest rump shakers the grassroots is feelin'. Her many performances and promotional activities include a music crawl of Florida radio stations accompanied by her radio promoter James "Hurricane" Heathfield, who has had a hand in such Florida-based luminaries as Britney Spears, Insync, and The Backstreet Boyz.
Yohany is breaking out nationally as well. New York DJ pools have be all over her single like a cheap suit, a rarity for notoriously snobby and elitist crews. Her single entered the Los Angeles top 50 at #42, and jumped to #34 on the next chart, blowing past Adam Sandler and Nerd to edge past the godfather of soul James Brown and nip the heels of such mega stars as Angie Stone, Hillary Duff and that diva's diva, Patti LaBelle. She celebrated her record release by having a show and party in Minneapolis on August 4th, to rave reviews.
"Last night in Minneapolis a star was born! Special thanks to Yohany for being the most down to earth artist that I've ever met! The sky is the limit babee!" said Big Entertainment promoter James Walker of Yohany's performance.
"I really enjoyed seeing Yohany live (classy). I think that she is talented and definitely has that star quality," reacted Zannie K. of radio station B96 Minneapolis.
In the Philadelphia Top 50 music chart she debuted at #42 and leap frogged to #29 in one week, ahead of Britney Spears and others. The streets clearly are speaking. She has also made a splash in Europe, where audiences and media are always up on the best and brightest from the USA, entering the Top 50 at #35. With new music web sites adding her single almost every day, we are seeing a new singer taking off with a bullet. In the midst of all this activity we caught up with Yohany and Covert Records' Jeff Durand streakin' across the scene.
When did you start singing and what inspired you to keep doing it?
[Yohany] I started at around four years old. I keep going as a result of lots of encouragement from my entire family.
What did your parents play around the house when you were growing up? Did they play Cuban music or American music more?
[Yohany] Coming from Cuba and at that time speaking no English, they played Salsa and other Latino music.
Who are your biggest influences?
[Yohany] God for everything good in my life. As far as singers go, I'd have to say Whitney Houston, who had the total package before personal issues took over. Barbara Streisand for her vocal voice, vocal style, and being a classy and complete entertainer. And Celine Dion, who is an incredible vocalist and business woman. I'd also include Covert Records label owner and close friend Jeff Durand, who offers support, encouragement, mentoring, advice, and inspiration in all areas, business and personal.
What made you decide to make music your main pursuit? When did this occur?
[Yohany] It was just the creative expression, music in and of itself. And causing people to smile, enjoy, marvel, and relax. This occurred during early childhood.
What is it that separates you from the other divas on the scene?
[Yohany] I don't consider myself a Diva, nor is it a goal. I see myself the same as anyone else, no better and hopefully no worse. If anything separates me from other artist on the scene, I hope that history will show it to be my work ethic, desire, staying focused, humble, grateful, and grounded.
Who are the producers on the record?
[Yohany] Ben Obi, Jeff Durand, Seanacy Amos, Tommy Barbarella, David Casburne, Keith Porter. All come from Minneapolis, Minnesota, the home of Prince, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis!
Who have you performed with?
[Yohany] Latin super acts Enrique Inglesias, Pilar Montenegro, MDO, and Luis Fonsi.