Yify Zhang (pronounced ee-fee), is a singer-songwriter/composer based in NYC who creates cinematic indie pop music. You can just see how much talent she has by listening to her work – “Waste” is a stand out track that is mixed with the soft sounds of her amazing voice and the calm notes of a piano that create a great song. Not only is she a talented musician, but she also has a career in Business Strategy where she uses data to come up with answers to ambiguous, strategic problems. She is dreaming of taking up at least one hobby this year, in either fiction writing, painting, or dancing. We are thrilled to feature her here for Women’s History Month.
What inspires you to create music?
I am inspired by life experiences, be it my own or others’. Difficult experiences often inspire songs that are the easiest to write. More recently, I’ve also been writing songs about the people in my life – I just moved to a new city, and a few of my newer songs are inspired by the people I’ve met here and their life stories. Music for me is always a deep emotional release – it’s a language that transcends beyond words.
How did you first get started with music?
I started on the violin at the age of 5. After a year in, I remember my family wanting to stop my lessons (so I’d have more time for school subjects like math, writing…kids are very intensely educated in China), my violin teacher told my parents to make sure I was doing music in some capacity or other, because she saw that somewhere deep down, I loved it. Thanks to her, I ended up continuing to study the keyboard and the violin, and beginning to write my own pieces on the piano in middle school. Writing music was what made me fall deeply in madly in love. I’ve been songwriting and pursuing music seriously since 2015.
How have other women inspired you in the industry?
It’s hard to name them all without taking up multiple paragraphs. First and foremost, my producer, I Am Snow Angel, is one of the most inspirational women in my life. She produces her own music and those of other artists in the NYC scene. Her sound is electronic, richly atmospheric, and emotional. Most of all, she inspires me to devote myself to producing my own sounds. We are working on an EP together that will be released later this year.
The next person who comes to mind is an artist I follow KAYE. She was the frontwoman of the acclaimed band San Fermin and makes music of her own that makes you move, emotionally raw, and fearless. Her most recent album Conscious Control touched me deeply. Paola Bennet, Lisa Ritchie, Jordan Popky, Giselle Bellas, Ann Marie Nacchio, Kiirstin Marilyn, and Ellajay are all female artists anyone reading this should check out. Their music ranges a wide array of genres and inspires me everyday with their grit and friendship.
What are your future goals? What do you hope to achieve?
Aside from the monthly videos, I’m working on two EPs that will be ready in late 2021/ 2022. Beyond that, I want to tour with all this new music and create an electronic + zen atmosphere for my audience. I want my music to continue reaching people who are deeply emotive, reflective, and seeking catharsis. I want to build a haven for them to come and recharge, then share their renewed energy to heal their immediate communities. So in that sense, we will be healing spheres within spheres, uplifting the world. I also dream of being on a stage with 10 different types of pianos / keyboards, so all of that is on the horizon.
What message do you want to get out there to people who are just starting out in the industry?
1. Make sure to work in a way that feels good to you. If it doesn’t feel good, figure out if it’s a legitimate pain or one where you have imposed on yourself. Making good art does not have to require constant suffering. The hard times will hit, but in order for this to be a sustainable life, we need to care for our inner spirit and give them what they need
2. As long as #1 is there, keep going. No matter what anyone says. Music is a lifelong endeavor, everyone is on their own timeline.
Listen to one of my favorites by Yify, “Waste” here:
Last but not least, what’s your favourite part of what you do?
The process of inspiration – being inspired by a feeling, writing about that feeling, putting it into a song, sharing that song (now the vessel of the feeling), and hearing about how it has inspired someone else. This circle of life is what I live for, and there is nothing in the world I love more than it.
Yify has just released an original piano instrumental which is absolutely mesmerising from the first note. It radiates massive calm and peaceful energy and is overall a really inspiring piece. If you like what you see and hear, make sure to follow her on YouTube and Instagram to get the latest updates when new videos come out!
Yify will be taking over the For The Punks Instagram on March 20, 2021, so be sure to tune in!