Interview with Yara Liz

Written by Divine Magazine

Yara Liz is a 23-year-old, Lisbon-born and London-based cinematic-pop artist. Her aesthetic blends her background in classical music, her love for experimental contemporary music and the strong melodies of the songs of her childhood.

Trained as an actress and brought up in church, her artistry crosses disciplines and pushes boundaries. Between her dreamy production and her open-hearted songwriting, Yara Liz invites the listener to wander into the landscapes she paints with sound.

How would you describe your music?

I like to label my music as “Cinematic”. It’s a blend of cinematic/soundtrack textures with orchestral elements and indie/pop songwriting. I like my music to sound as if it came from a film!

Who inspired you to make music?

My biggest influences are AURORA and Björk, they are geniuses at what they do and when I saw them for the first time I immediately wanted to be a part of that movement. However, it was Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana that convinced me to become an artist when I was just a small child. I even wrote my very first song on a Hannah Montana notebook.

How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?

I think the internet is a wonderful and dark place for artists. It gives us a free platform to showcase our music and make fans, when it is hard to reach out to the industry first. I’m so happy I get to connect with people all over the world and share my music. Now it has become so saturated, to the point that sometimes it feels like the Hunger Games, where we fight for attention every day, to just be heard by a dozen people on social media. 

Social media creates expectations and standards for us to do this and that, work hard and post every day, like a list of demands to please an algorithm … It gets really tiring and detrimental for our mental health.

Have you got a ritual of sorts when making music?

To be very honest, not really haha. Music finds me everywhere, at any time, so the only thing I would say I do consistently is to have my phone at hand to record a melody, or write a thought on the Notes app when it comes to my mind. Then I try to explore that melody or that sentence, create a story around it and the emotions that it might evoke, and produce the first draft on Logic with my MIDI keyboard.

What are your top two favourite songs of all time? Why those songs?

Oh noooo that is such a difficult question, I have so many! If I had to pick, I would say “Pure Imagination” from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory because it is so inspiring to me, often people told me growing up that I was always in the clouds, as if it was a bad thing. But this song always helped me believe that I can create my world full of possibilities and a little bit of magic! Another song would probably be either Runaway or Through The Eyes of A Child by AURORA. These two songs resonate with me so much and help me understand the world and the people around me. AURORA always brings so many philosophical topics in her songs, it’s very inspiring to me.

What’s next for you?

I’m releasing a song in September about humans and their potential. I’m very excited about this one because I’ve always wanted to make a song that sounded inspirational, as if you’re on your way to an adventure! I’m going to play this song at the festival “Conclave of Chaos” this August, I wonder how people will react, can’t wait!

What was the last series you watched on TV?

Sweet Tooth! It’s an amazing story of a boy who’s half-human half deer, on an adventure to find the truth about who he is and where he comes from. It’s a dystopian show where humanity is threatened by a virus that kills almost the entire population, and at the same time a group of hybrids (half-human half-animal) are born. It has a lot of action and adventure but it’s very emotional sometimes, I love it! I love anything sci-fi or fantasy because they always have good stories, it pushes my imagination!

What do you think the greatest invention has been?

I’m a simple person so for me it has to be cheese. I just really love cheese hahaha but fire would be a smart answer I guess.

Do you have any lucky items, objects, or traditions?

To be honest not really because I don’t believe in luck or superstition. I just work hard and pray that it will go well haha.

If you could ask your future self one question, what would it be?

Are you happy?

If you had to describe yourself as a flavour, what would it be?

BUBBLEGUM!!!! I’m a bubbly and optimistic person, a bit naive and different, people say I’m weird hahaha. Not everyone gets the Bubblegum flavour, but the ones that do love it!

Yara shares her new single ‘Feel Alright’, out everywhere now.

Naming artists like AURORA, Björk and Hans Zimmer as her main inspirations, Yara draws from her combined influences, as well as her classical background, contemporary pop and experimental electronic music to craft her captivatingly distinctive soundscapes. 

‘Feel Alright’ is a cry for freedom, taking the listener on a journey from subdued textures to a cinematic climax. Written about the clash between technology and nature, Yara Liz explores escapism, numbness and the need to feel better, feelings we all shared over recent global events. 

Speaking of the track, she says, “I created this track along with my good friend Matt Swanton during lockdown. He had the original demo in his folder of sketches and ideas for years, and I was so inspired by the sound that I decided to topline it. It took me a year to really understand what I wanted to bring with this song, what message I wanted to share. When Russia invaded Ukraine, I looked at the song again and finished it with a pain in my chest, because I used my thoughts and emotions about the war and the pandemic in this song.

I was so heartbroken by humanity and all the hardships we go through, that all I could think of was to go to a different reality, away from the pain and the violence. This song is a cry for freedom, for a better reality than the one we live in. I hope the listeners can resonate with it because I know how hard it is to live sometimes, especially when facing global events, war, climate change, that can leave us hopeless. I hope anyone who listens to the song can take this song and understand that no one is alone, someone out there is also going through hardships and desiring for a better world.”

© 2023, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.

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