Yana is a Czech Republic-born singer and songwriter. Music has always played a significant role in her life, and she has constantly been captivated by introspective lyrics. With her own compositions, she attempts to make a point and get the audience to reflect while they are listening to the music. Interference, Mic Christopher, J Eoin, Cloud Cult, Glen Hansard, and many others are among her musical influences. She has performed in Ireland, the UK, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Australia, and the United States. Her music has been played in all of these countries. On June 30th, 2020, she released her first EP, Distant Shore. In the indie-folk music community, Yana is gaining popularity.
Now Yana has released a new single ‘Calm before the storm.’ The song has sad undertones but somehow is soul-soothing. The special thing about this song is that it combines different moods. It begins with a very gentle and melancholic melody with beautiful vocals by Yana. The use of minimal instrumentation is actually very effective, setting up a mood that manages to be both melancholic and hopeful all at once. Hearing this makes me want to escape into the countryside with a blanket, cup of tea, and sweater galore. Yana is an artist that is more than just a singer, she has the power to touch your heart and make you forget everything around you. Another interesting fact about this song is, that it is influenced by the sudden death of a Czech folk singer Jitka Suranska. Yana’s voice reminded me of Adele. Her voice is rich and full, with soulful tones. Yana sings with such honesty and vulnerability that it almost seems as though her singing could pull us out of a dark time.
We had the opportunity to interview Yana. Read on to know more.
1. Hello, Yana. Congratulations on the release of your new song, “Calm before the storm.” Anyone can relax their soul because the song is so wonderfully crafted. What was the creative process like for making the song?
A: As with all my songs, I wrote the lyrics first. Straight away I had a vivid image of a boat caught up in the storm in mind and wanted the lyrics to somewhat reflect that. I have always loved songs where you have to dig deeper into the lyrics and pay attention to what is said. So the ship in the storm is used as a metaphor in the song. When the arrangement started to form itself in my head I immediately knew whom I am gonna ask to play on the track. So grateful to have Claudia Heidegger on violin and Shane Ó Fearghail on bodhrán, they really added the atmospheric and emotional layer to the track. It is quite symbolic as Shane recommended me the recording studio (AP Studios in Dublin, Ireland) and I haven’t looked elsewhere. Antimo, the sound engineer, is a skilled wizard who gets the best out of the artist in no time.
2. I read that the song is a homage to the singer Jitka Suranska. Could you elaborate on the song’s message for our readers?
A: Jitka was a singer and fiddle player, key figure of Folk holidays festival in Czech republic. She died of cancer in October 2019 at 41. I did not know her personally but the news came as a shock. The song tends to encourage the listeners to enjoy the life to the fullest while you still can, as the lyrics say “hold it close before it fades”. Life is short and the end might be just around the corner. Nobody knows. So you should make every day count. Because once your time on this planet is up, you regret things you did not do instead of those you did.
3. Which musical genre have you not yet delved into but would like to?
A: An intriguing question. I have not thought about this much. Not sure about the genre though but I would love to do something with a string quartet one day, I think my songs are intimate enough that added strings could only emphasize the emotions the songs are trying to project.
4. What song from your catalogue is the one that you love the most? And why?
A: I love everything I create, each song means something to me for a different reason. But if I was to pick just one that means the most, it would be “The Book of Your Life.” It’s in fact the first song I ever wrote. It’s also the most personal to date and the first collaboration at the same time. It was written as a tribute to a dear friend and hero, Fergus O’Farrell, frontman of Irish band called Interference. He passed away in February 2016 and it broke my heart. The song is my way of dealing with such profound loss. I am opening my heart to the listeners, it’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s that kind of song you wish you didn’t have to write. But there’s a silver lining. Writing such an evocative track was so cathartic. And healing. I’m very grateful to my friend Liam Oragh who was so touched by my lyrics that he immediately wrote a melody. And it was his suggestion that led to me asking the violinist extraordinaire Colm Mac Con Iomaire to be involved. The song has been and continues to be very well received, it keeps on giving…
5. What led you to pursue a career in music? Was music always a passion of yours?
A: Well, I never really planned to be a musician. It came naturally after the sudden death of Fergus O’Farrell whom I mentioned earlier. After he passed away I realized how short life can be and there’s no point in living somebody else’s life and doing things you’re expected to if that doesn’t make you happy. So I threw myself into music and haven’t looked back since. It’s been very rewarding journey so far, I learnt a lot along the way but most importantly made life-long friendships.
6. What do you have planned for us next?
I will release the third single from the forthcoming debut album in September. The album itself will come out in spring 2023. Everybody keeps telling me how important the first album is because you are introducing yourself to the world. So I decided not to rush it, it will be worth the wait!