Interview by ARMC | Edited by Reggie Rasodi

Join us on this enchanting voyage as we explore the harmonious chapters of Yashna International’s life, from the streets of Durban to the global stage. Get ready to be immersed in a world where every note carries the essence of her roots and the spirit of her musical prowess.

Please introduce yourself and share a little about your musical journey?

My name is Yashna, I was born, raised, and am still based in Durban, South Africa. I am a qualified multi-genre singer and songwriter, having received a full scholarship, I recently graduated from a one-year online program in Contemporary Popular Music, Songwriting and Production at the Los Angeles Academy for Artists and Music Production (founded by world renowned production duo Stargate).

Drawing from real life experiences I strive to exude truth in my artistry. Translating real-life experiences into songs is a skill that I have developed on my journey as an artist. I received the Best Musician Award at the 2020 Durban Creative Awards, won the Joox Opening Act competition, opened up for Master KG, formed part of Shekinah’s Rosefest 2020 line-up, and made it to the semi-finals of Sportscene’s “Put Me On” competition in the same year. In 2021 I featured in Drum Magazine, Slikour’s “Hot on the Streets,” as well as Sportscene’s “Weekend Turn-Up” segment. In 2022 I was nominated in the Best Hip Hop Artist category at the first annual Basadi Women in Music Awards, and was selected as one of the female artists to form part of Trace’s #SearchingForParadise compilation, Stimirol also chose me to be part of their Flow Lab segment, and I performed as part of the Top 10 in the Hunters Cider x Jacquel Culture House that featured on MTV Base.

I was also able to integrate my passion for dance and drama by curating stunning visuals over the years. My music videos have been dominating South African music television channels such as MTV Base, Trace Urban, Trace Africa, Mzanzi Magic Music, and Channel O. I am also no stranger to collaborations having joined forces to create hits with heavyweight artists such as Tyler ICU, Vigro Deep, and Sketchy Bongo, to name a few.

Working hand in hand with prominent Durban based producer and sound-engineer Neo Ndawo, I have been able to produce music of an international standard receiving placements on, SABC 1’s 1s & 2s Show, eTV’s House of Zwide, Netflix’s Blood & Water S2 & S3, Mnet’s brand new series “Devil’s Peak,” as well as placement on Sportscene’s social media ads for their Adidas Ozworld campaign. My music has formed part of many playlists on Apple Music, Spotify and Joox. I am no longer a stranger to radio having been playlisted on both commercial and community stations nationwide.

I recently released a 3-part EP series inclusive of 13 songs, various genres, titled Song Around The World, featuring collaborators from across the world.

Such an intriguing journey, what motivated you to choose music as your career path?

One cannot avoid one’s calling. Music chose me, and so I continue to choose it every day.

Please share a moment when you felt empowered as a woman in the music industry, and how did it shape your career?

There were 2 occasions: The first was the moment that I received the Award for Best Musician at the Durban Creative Awards in 2020. Winning in a category that included both male and female nominees, reassured me in the fact that I am talented, deserving and able to accomplish whatever I set out to achieve. The second was when my pet African Grey named Tyler passed on. I am an animal lover, and I definitely lost a piece of me when he left, but in my pain poured our lyrics that turned into a powerful song which resulted in my first solo success as an independent artist. Rise up, an uplifting motivational ballad, was my first song to receive high rotation on national radio stations.

At ARMC, we believe that representation matters, how has the concept of representation influenced your career, and what approach do you aspire to adopt in the music industry to serve as a positive example for future generations?

I think representation plays an integral role in my career. I am an Indian female, and prior to entering this industry I could not name a single Indian female artist in the South African music scene. I feel as though it is important that I embrace who I am, and where I come from so that those who hold the same dreams in their heart can look to me, identify with me, and know that pursuing one’s passion is possible, regardless of the restrictions society may place on them. Though the music industry remains male dominant, I have been able to achieve success as an independent female artist, and although it may not always be easy I am determined to continue pushing until I break more moulds, and uplift more barriers. And I can only hope that by doing so, I am able to inspire other females to push their purpose. We only have one life, the only way to live it right is to do what we love.

Collaboration is key in the music world. Could you tell us about a memorable collaboration with another talented woman and what you learned from the experience?

My most memorable collaboration are actually my most recent ones. The first being with insanely talented and beautiful soul, Saydi Driggers (LA based) from the music duo TYCHE, she wrote my single M.I.A. for my Essentials EP. The song spoke directly to my soul, as a person that likes to be in control of things, I chose to let her take the reigns and it was the best decision I have ever made, that is the beauty of collaboration, sometimes your story can be told by someone else in a way that you may have not been able to convey, but you can be the vessel for it. I was gifted the opportunity to be just that, the voice to a song that is so incredibly timeless. Such an amazing experience! The second collaboration was with another LA based songstress named Mor. Being a fan of someone’s talent and having the opportunity to create a powerful song with that person is priceless. It is actually an unreleased track set to release early next year titled Circle Back.