The Beat Manila’s Up-and-Coming Artist: Singer-Songwriter YNISH
October 20, 2023
The Beat Manila’s Up and Coming is a series where we feature rising talented artists from the Philippines, giving them a platform to share what they’re passionate about and promote the music they (and us too!) would love for the world to hear. Do you want or know someone who wants to be featured? Email us at [email protected] or slide through our DMs on Facebook or Instagram!
Do you ever just listen to a song and feel like it has a story to tell? This perfectly describes our latest Up-and-Coming Artist’s music: lyrics that read like pages of a diary, a voice that paints vivid portraits of the human heart, and melodies that are equal parts soothing and haunting.
Before she became a rising musician, YNISH, just like many of us, had her own teenage love story. With this, she wrote her first song about a crush, eventually leading her to discover that music was her own colorful way to express her honest feelings. Since then, she has grown into an artist who plays genuine tunes with the power to touch other people’s hearts.
In an exclusive interview with The Beat Asia, YNISH shares her story on how she got into music, her journey as an artist, her dream collaborations, her latest single “Home,” and many more. Find out why she’s a rising star worth keeping a close eye on!
Good day, YNISH! Can you tell us how you got into music?
Hi there! A little story on how I got into music: When I was a kid, I was already seen as having potential for singing. I’ve always been musically inclined. Every chance they get, my family will always have me sing a song on karaoke. My mom supports that by having me join singing competitions and voice lessons. I learned to play the guitar. Even though I was left-handed, I tried to learn to play the guitar in my own way. Still, I learned a few basic lessons here and there. But from then on, I had to learn by myself.
When I got to high school, that’s when I started writing songs. It wasn't until college, when I joined a songwriting competition, that I started writing songs for other artists and eventually for my own and then started releasing them. I learned how to produce through a series of YouTube tutorials, and that’s how I got to produce my songs.
What's the story behind your artist name?
Funny, but it's actually my legal second name. Long story short, my mom thought of the name, and it came from a movie she watched before giving birth to me. It was supposed to spell “Inish” at first, but there was a typo on my birth certificate, and the name was [spelt] as “Ynish” with the “Y” pronounced as “wai.” It was already unique on its own, so I decided it was the best name for me as an artist as it serves as a persona. It represents me in a different form.
How was your first song created? Any stories or challenges about it you would like to share?
Writing my first song was, at first, more of a want than a need. Since it was during my high school years, I wrote my first song about my crush and why it was hard to admit feelings back then. In other words, being "torpe." So, it was really more of what I was feeling so strongly back then that I thought, “How can I express this?” It was to write and sing it. I had my guitar. It was the instrument I was already trying to master, even before. I actually sang it in front of a few friends and classmates back in high school. I already had good feedback back then, so it was a good start, if you think about it.
Where do you get inspiration when making music?
Everyday life, people around me, films I watch, stories I read, or even other music I listen to — these are a few of the things that really inspire me to make music. Sometimes, it could even be a phrase or just a feeling. And when a feeling is too relatable or too strong, it just makes me want to write a song about it.
I know music plays an important role in a person when it comes to conveying an emotion, and in my case, when speaking words aren’t enough, sometimes the best option is to sing it. What really inspires me to make music is to create a safe space for anyone to have this sort of bond with the melodies and lyrics I create. I said this once: I want to be as honest in my music as any artist can be. And I still think that.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician?
I really find joy in making songs and singing them. It feels like a form of escape, and whenever I make music, it feels like I’m creating a new world. I translate that into lyrics and even videos and visuals. Whenever I perform it, it’s always an exhilarating feeling to hear people enjoying what you’ve created. The feedback they give me is such a bonus, knowing that they relate to my songs and that they love what I do as much as I do. And the part where I get to conceptualize and create some sort of poetic lyrics brings me so much excitement. Just the joy of creating something and having the privilege to share it with the world. The best feeling is someone saying that my music hit them in some way. It feels like Christmas.
What do you consider your biggest achievement since you started making music?
My biggest achievement would be being able to perform my song in front of a huge audience. Getting your song released, having a lot of people digitally listen to it and stream it, but having to perform it to an audience live. I think it’s already the best feeling I’ve had so far.
Apart from getting a hefty 300k streams for my song or EP “luv hack," which is, for me, absolutely crazy, I’m truly grateful to the people behind it, especially my listeners. Still, I’m set to just have a lot of people appreciate my art, have it change their lives, and listen to them sing it with me. Only then would I say I’ve achieved my ultimate achievement as an artist, as a musician.
What piece of advice can you give to someone who wants to pursue music?
I’ve been saying this as advice to myself as well: just be genuine about your music. Be as authentic as possible, because there will only be one of you. There’s no need to be another version of a different musician; there should only be one of you. Write songs you love; write them with honesty, and people will only return the honesty. It’s never as easy as it sounds, but passion is passion. It will always be there, whether you decide to pursue it or not. If you want to pursue music, do your best to shout it out and want it deeply, because if it really is for you, then it won’t really be that hard.
If you could collaborate with or open a show for a specific artist (local or international), who would it be and why?
I’ve been saying that this has been a stretch, but since one of my music influences has been Niki Zefanya, she’s one of my dream collaborators. For local acts, I’ve recently found out about SHNTI, and she really gives off such a cool vibe, so it would be fun to collaborate with her. Two of the artists I look up to in terms of vocal and stage performance are Sarah G. and KZ Tandingan. A collab would be surreal since I also dream of just basking in their talents as well.
Can you tell us about "luv hack" and how it came to be?
“luv hack” was my transition into genres, from pop-R&B to indie pop. I’ve always wanted to make music out of this genre after listening to a few similar songs. I said to myself, this music is good, and I want to create something like this, but with my own style.
“luv hack” talks about the struggle of acting in front of someone you like. It’s as simple as that. The concept I circled around was about having a crush and why it is so hard to function as a human being when someone you like is around you. It’s extra and dramatic if you think about it, but that’s what love does. It makes you feel dumb, though not on purpose. I really wanted to focus on that feeling.
The song had a bouncy and fun vibe, though the lyrics point out the regrets and call for help for such a simple feeling. With its current theme in the lyrics, it created this sort of in-the-now and made it a bit more relatable. As I was making the music, I wanted to try to dabble with live instruments, so it would be easy for me to create live performances of the song.
What's the story behind your latest single, "Home?"
“Home” was a collaboration song with my co-Dreamify artist Paul Lagac. He reached out to me and asked if I was down for a collab for his track, which was already almost complete. The second verse was the only one missing. I wrote my part out of the concept that Paul gave me, and it explains the struggle of having to move out and coming to terms of changes in your life. And despite all that, it reminds you that you still have the chance to seek happiness and love. It turned out to be such a sweet and dreamy song, which is notable in the lyrics. I was excited for this collaboration since Paul Lagac has always been an amazing songwriter and producer, and it was a chance to join him in his addictive melodies.
What's next for YNISH? Any future projects or gigs you're participating in soon?
This upcoming November 11, I'll be joining my co-Dreamify artists for our big event, which is the “Dreamify Take Over: ONSE-ONSE,” the last leg of our “Road To Take Over” tour, happening at Balcony Music House. I’ll be performing with a live band once again and it’s composed of my co-artists.
For my own music, I have lots of collaborations in the making, and I’m pretty excited about that as well. I’m transitioning back into pop-R&B for my future releases, so I’ve got a lot in store for my listeners, for sure. I just can’t wait to share them all next year.
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