Hello, my name is Yeily Santos, A.K.A Yeily the Goddess. I am an 18-year-old singer-songwriter straight out of the Bronx, NYC! I have 3 siblings. Two brothers and one sister. I live with my father but I see my mom all the time. I’ve loved music from when I was young, though not in the same way I do now. For me, it all started in church. For a brief time in my life, I was Christian like the rest of my family and so of course, every Sunday we went to church. The worship team was always my favorite part of Sunday, with their different harmonies, and instruments.
It was amazing! At 7 years old, I got into ballet. Ballet was everything to me. I wanted nothing more but to be a professional dancer one day. I was in hip hop classes, contemporary dance classes, and eventually, I was in a step team for my school. My dance journey lasted for about 6 years. As I got older though, I didn’t necessarily lose interest in dancing, but I just gained new priorities with my music and so I stopped dancing.
I didn’t really think about it at the time but, as the months passed I realized I hadn’t been passionate about anything, in a long time. After I turned 14, I was excited about starting my freshman year in high school. I thought I would be able to hit the reset button and try something new. Toward the middle of the school year, I finally got to visit a recording studio.
That is when my life changed. I ended up asking my parents for homeschooling instead, so I could take music more seriously. The funny part is people always told me I could sing growing up but I didn’t believe it myself. When I started writing my own music, it was when that changed. I was introduced to a producer and from there the rest is history. I have been writing songs for about 4 years now and the only way I’m going is up!
When did you first discover your love for music?
Honestly. I’ve always loved music. Music was always an escape for me whether it was listening to gospel music in church, or when I danced ballet to music as a little girl. The first time I discovered I wanted to be a recording artist, I was 14 years old and a family friend took me to his studio session, where I got to experience the behind the scenes of making a song. It was that same day when I decided I wanted to write music. After I tried it out, I was hooked. Now I can’t see my life without it.
When did you know that you were going to make music a career?
After my first studio visit with a producer. I began learning more about the business part of the music industry. It was during that time where I started feeling the realness of it all, it was really amazing! I attended networking events, sang in shows, and started collaborating with other dope artists. Through all of these new exciting experiences I was able to get a small taste of what my future could be, if I kept pushing my talents forward. It was also then when branding myself became a passion of mine. Especially after receiving so many positive reactions to my work.
To what do you accredit your sense of style?
I feel that for the most part, 90s fashion has definitely inspired my style! I just absolutely love the style from that era. They gave street wear a more luxurious/classy approach which is what has always caught my attention. Now I find myself obsessed with recreating those looks! I also love wearing art. Anything that has been hand painted on is welcome in my closet!
Would you prefer to be independent or signed to a major?
I feel like it depends on what’s being offered. I like being an independent artist because there is definitely a lot of freedom, but if I were given the opportunity to work with a label that was willing to give me full artistic control, then I would definitely consider signing. As long as I can use my music for good and talk about topics people can relate to, that’s all that really matters.
How do you feel about the current state of the music industry?
I really, really love how many women and men have been taking their thrones during this new wave of music! Stars like Billie Eilish, Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Jhené Aiko, etc. are very big inspirations for me, when it comes down to keeping it real in their craft. If I’m to be really honest, I just wish we had more artists out there that were writing their own lyrics. I feel like writing your own lyrics is a big part of being able to relate with your audience, so it is a little sad that lyricism isn’t as important to some. Outside of that, I’ve been enjoying the creative artists have been expressing through their visuals. P. S. Travis Scott’s fortnight concert was unreal! I don’t even play that game but he made me want to.
What musical influences did you listen to growing up that helped to mold you into the artist you are today?
Growing up I loved listening to artists that had a story to tell. It was simply intriguing to read song lyrics and learn a little bit about what a singer/ songwriter was going thru while writing their music. Some of my favorite genres were/are jazz, RnB, Pop, and Hip Hop. Artists like Peggy Lee, Micheal Jackson, Beyonce, and J Cole, each helped me spark my creativity through their different styles. When working on my original sound, I like to mix these genres up with each other to make something fresh, while still giving you an old school feel.
What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical career?
There are definitely a few things, but I think the moment that tops them all is when I had my very first professional photoshoot for Patricia Fields clothing site. If you don’t already know, Patricia Fields is a well-known name in the fashion industry working on series & films like “Sex and The City”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, and most recently she did costume design for “Second Act.” Not only did I end up on her website, but her and some other designers under her like “These Pink Lips” and “StudMuffin” ended up reposting me on their Instagrams! It was a very exciting day. Especially being that it was only my first photoshoot.
What are your greatest challenges as an artist, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic in the studio?
I feel like as an artist one of the challenges we face the most is self-doubt. At the end of the day no matter how many people tell you how amazing you are, you are your biggest critic. I find myself being self-conscious a lot of times about how personal I get with my music. It can get nerve-wracking when you know other people are, in a sense, basically hearing your thoughts through your lyrics. As far as work ethic goes, consistency & zero artistic restrictions are what keep me going. I try not to box myself in because you never know what can come out of being free, creatively speaking. It gives your brain the opportunity to just flow, whereas thinking too much can sometimes cause writer’s block.
Today’s music seems to be about collaborations with the “hottest” artist out. Who would you want to work with on a project? And why?
I wanna work with a whole lot of artists but I would have to say Doja Cat, one hundred percent! The reason I love her is that the level of versatility that woman has as an artist is amazing! She can go from giving you smoothly feels to then crank it up and start rapping! It’s just really dope, and so I feel Doja and I could make something special one day.
What image do you think your music conveys and why did you choose this type of image for your music?
Usually when writing music I like to incorporate a very relaxing, smooth energy. I want people to feel as if they are traveling through space, or floating in the clouds when my songs come on. The reason I chose this image is that from a little girl I always tried to imagine what it would be like to be a goddess. I always loved how delicate yet powerful goddesses can be in mythology and other stories. Therefore my music is a depiction of what I think a singing goddess would sound like.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
For starters, don’t underestimate your talents! I know it can be hard to see what other people see in you at times, but no matter what keep pushing yourself! Don’t be afraid to try something new, even if you first fail. It is all a part of the process. As artists we consistently nitpick and critique our own abilities so much that it can make it difficult to create genuine content. So just do you! Write those songs, shoot that video. Follow your artistic instincts!
If you liked what you’re reading you can check out all my original music in the link below!
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