This week COREnered heads to Queens to rock out with Nenna Yvonne, whose electrifying pop music is popping out hits all across the digital world. Born in Nigeria and now a New Yorker, Yvonne uses her background and experience to create music that crosses cultures, genres, and languages.
- What is your first musical memory?
As a child you want to know everything going on around you. You're like a human sponge. For me, music was second nature in my life. There was a lot of difficulty coming into the world of music with acceptance from those around me because there wasn't a history of it. One of the songs I remember singing was from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Mary Poppins, "My Favorite Things."
- What was the first concert you ever went to?
I was 12 years old and I went to see Mariah Carey perform. She sang “Hero” and my heart melted. She was so poised⎯ her voice was contagious. She talked to you as if you were a friend who lived next door and not just a fan; I want that same relationship with my fans.
- What or whom do you go to for musical inspiration?
I read a lot and I also write poetry. Sometimes just small conversations with friends and family can inspire a great song. When creating “Some Girls,” I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go with the chorus. But I sat back, listened to D-Tox and the words and melody just sort of found their way into my heart and into the song. I love thinking outside the box. I watch old movies, parodies and short skits, and I look at the creative content and how I can translate that into another form of creative art through my interpretation. That to me is what makes a great artist. Someone who can interpret something that’s already there into something fresh, exciting, and extraordinary.
- Without using the words "alternative," "pop,” or "rock," describe your sound.
My sound is definitely not like anything that’s out at the moment. I have been told my voice has a distinct feel and warmth to it. I love experimenting with my voice because it is my own personal instrument that I can push in any way I choose. My words are electrifying, my voice eludes strength and power, with love and compassion.
- What's your dream collaboration?
My dream collaboration would be with MGMT. I have their new album Congratulations and I still consider Oracular Spectacular to be a classic album. The songs almost take you back to a place you were once in your life that made you feel special and youthful, and I really appreciate that in an album especially now with so many songs focusing on negative things. They're just an amazing group with such originality to their voices and instrumentation.
- Do you find the song or does the song find you?
The song has a way of finding me; the melodies follow me to bed and corner me in my sleep. I can't get away and I don't ever want to. Sometimes with fresh and interesting production, I hear something new in my mind to follow along with. The songs will come in forms of poetry, conversation, letters, and novel. The best part is that there is no right or wrong way to create. You have a clean slate, a blank canvas, and you start to use all your natural instincts and find yourself in the music.
- How do you discover new music
I go out to galas, openings for new bands, and listen to old records such as "The Supremes" or "The Donnas." Sometimes people have this misconception that music is hidden when it never actually is. You don't have to dig too deep to find a good song or artist for inspiration. I prefer calm settings and listening and observing people, ideas, and films before approaching a new concept for a song. This also means you have to find your common ground and always follow what your heart is telling you as a creative individual. Sometimes the things we take for granted are the things that help us become better people, and that’s why I am so grateful for having the gift of sight and hearing, tasting and feeling emotions. When you have discovered who you are as an individual the music will discover you.