Yasmin Vaughan-Williams, best known by her stage name Yas VW, is a 21-year-old singer-songstress who attributes her captivating sound to her early exposure to ‘80s and ‘90s R&B. With a grandfather playing for a band in Ghana, picking up guitar and piano at a tender age was second nature for the bright-eyed artist.
Yas VW sprouted onto the R&B scene with singles such as “Weakness” and “Off the Ground,” the latter of which received a feature from Jacob Latimore. She amassed several thousands of streams across platforms, striking the attention of many R&B lovers globally. Although music has always had a major impact on Yas’ life, it’s time she flipped the coin and used it to impact the lives of others. We’re confident that with her haunting and nostalgic vocals, Yas VW will be a household name that fans alike will know and love.
In our latest interview, we spoke with Yas VW about her upbringing, influences, and new music amongst other topics. Read the lightly edited conversation below.
So can you tell me a bit about yourself, who is Yas VW?
So I’m 21. I’m in my final year of university, but I’ve always been passionate about music. For a couple of years now, I’ve been developing my sound. It’s very influences by ’80s and ’90s R&B, I grew up listening to that all day and my parents would blast it in the house. That’s literally where I fell in love with music.
In school, I was always involved in musical stuff. I was involved in choirs, I studied music, I would perform for assemblies and stuff. For me, music has always been something that I was passionate about. Then, I started working with my manager a couple of years ago and it’s basically been a journey from there. I dropped my first song last year in September and yeah, it’s been going good so far.
Can you tell me about your craft as a songwriter? Is it easy to translate your feelings into music?
It can definitely be hard to put yourself in a vulnerable position and be creative with it. But I feel like once you’re able to do that, it’s amazing. Overtime, I’ve kind of figured out a way to do it. I’m still learning and trying different things, but what I tend to do is take myself back to when I felt a certain way the strongest. Sometimes it might be a thing where it’s a particular situation that I’ve been in just so I can say it in the best way possible. That’s what I do in terms of bringing my own experience and emotions into it, I just take myself back to a time when I felt it and then put it on paper.
What type of emotions do you want to evoke through your songs?
I want people to feel. With “Be The One” for instance, I want people to feel good. There’s other songs like “Weakness” where the music is more vulnerable. Listening to that song of mine, I want people to resonate with it. When I’m writing songs, I kind of go back to times when I was feeling like that. Not that I want people to feel heartbreak or anything, but I want them to understand those emotions. Overall, I want to kind of take people away when they listen to my music.
There’s also a lot of romantic push and pull in your music, which makes me wonder, how do you define love?
That’s a really good question! I would say love is something that is unconditional. It’s something that is completely vulnerable and it’s you basically willing to make sacrifices, compromise, ad be a better version of yourself to make that person happy. It’s a thing where your heart is in it genuinely. Love helps you see things from different perspectives and kind of opens you up a bit.
What type of music did you listen growing up as well as now?
My main influencers were Aaliyah, Michael Jackson, Jagged Edge. My parents listened to a lot of 2pac and Biggie. Just all the old school R&B from Janet Jackson to Mary J. Blige. When I think about my childhood, that’ what I think a lot of. Seeing Usher on MTV and watching videos from Mya, Brandy, and so on. That’s definitely what pushed me in terms of my influence.
I love to explore and find new artists as well. I recently discovered Jayla Darden, the other day I took in her music and I was like damn, she’s sick. There’s Joyce Wrice and Scribz Riley. Other than that, the music that I listen to on a daily is like Kehlani, Chris Brown, H.E.R, dvsn, Majid Jordan. They’re all so talented and they all have their own flares. I love artist that can dance a well.
Your new video for “Be The One” recently dropped, what was the inspiration behind that record?
Usually, when I’m writing songs, I like to write songs when the beat is being made. With “Be The One,” that was the case. I like to just close my eyes and picture a scene, and for me, I was getting a scene of hopeful love. So that’s where I started to get the inspiration for speaking about a sense of hopefulness. So obviously the song is about me telling someone about even though they’ve given up on love, I can be the one to do that. It won’t be easy but when we get there it will be worth it.
I was thinking of all those old school R&B videos that I would watch and that’s kind of the image I was getting. The record kind of just fell together. With this kind of song, it’s good to just be vulnerable and put yourself on the line. I felt like yeah, in the chorus, just set it out straight just tell him I can be the one.
In regards to 2021, do you have a New Year’s resolution?
My New Year’s resolution is to balance myself. I think as the year goes on, one thing I definitely want to do is be more prepared. I want to manage it and basically, make sure that I have myself ready. I’ll be finishing Uni in the summer so it’s definitely something I’m excited about.
If you enjoyed Yas VW, read our interview with Devin Tracy.