It is no coincidence that she grew up on a street called ‘Star of the East’ in Eight Miles, Bull Bay, because this 27-year-old is truly the rising star to look out for.
She calls herself the lyrical lioness and goes by the stage name Yeza. The songstress had previously had dreams of becoming a criminal lawyer after pursuing a history and criminology degree at The University of the West Indies. She says, however, that singing has always been her fondest passion from as early as age six.
“From then, I was humming songs all the time,” she said. “I always wanted to be a singer, but as I started to mature, it became a case where I started to be, like ‘I wonder if going to school and becoming a lawyer would be
better?’ And so I would always put the music second to that during college.”
She admitted, however, “It was on the backburner, but I was always in it. From beating on the desk in high school, making rhythms and in college I used to do back-up singing for a band, and that was a very unhappy situation
for me. I realised that the backline thing was not for me.”
“After I left UWI, I established a business for myself where I was doing hair with a business partner. I was always watching TV and seeing shows with all these upcoming artistes,” the reggae crooner told Youthlink. “I was just in my room one day and something just came to me, like, ‘If you don’t take the music seriously, you’re going to be always wondering what if. That’s what was happening, in terms of me just always seeing things nd feeling like that should be me on the stage.”
At the time, her business had been doing well, with a sizeable clientele that made it competitive for a young venture, but this was still not enough for the talented, young woman. After three years, she decided to finally pursue her music career sometime last year.
Her real name, Monique, was something she had always alienated herself from. About becoming Yeza, she said: “It wasn’t for the music. I chose it because I really don’t like Monique. I needed an African name; I
mismatched some words from the language and added my own little spice. The full name is Yezambique, which is Swahili and means strength, resilience and power.”
She described the journey so far as being impressive. “Since the full establishment, I’ve been doing a lot of shows in and around Kingston. That has been contributing to people getting to know me and appreciating my stage presence,” she said.
THE MIDDLE GROUND
Admitting that the journey to stardom is never linear, Yeza said the most difficult things for her include “finding the middle ground between knowing what you want, then being open to constructive criticism”.
She continued, “It’s very difficult because nobody knows what the end product of a song will be like, if it stays one way or if it changes. It’s very critical because you probably will listen to somebody and take out something
but, at the end of the day, that’s what somebody else likes.”
For now, she is determined to rise above any adversities along the way, hoping to make her mark as one of Jamaica’s top female roots reggae artiste. The genre is, for her, aligned with her values.
“I think reggae is the perfect platform for me, because it allows me to express the things that I value,” she said. “I value mostly things about my culture, things that I can teach and show the world, and just being somebody
who can stand up and be an example. That’s mostly my passion.”
Yeza is currently promoting her new single, Heavyweight, and another single, Nuh Trouble We. Check out her videos on YouTube or catch up with her on social media, @yeza_music.