Croatian singer, songwriter, producer and pianist Yannah Valdevit will be releasing her first solo work worldwide in summer 2012 on Tru Thoughts. The ‘Equilibrium’ album features label buddy Zed Bias on co-production duties, and brings to the fore Yannah’s unique style – a combination of heartfelt, thoughtful and soulful lyrics with inventive song structures, jazz inflections and cutting edge beats.
Having first become interested in performing and self-expression aged four; enrolling in music school at the youthful age of seven and continuing this classical education up to degree level, Yannah’s life has been immersed in, and defined by, music. Her musical roots and career stretch from her hometown of Zagreb through Croatia to Europe, the US and Japan.
Yannah first started to identify her own musical path when she discovered jazz as a teenager, and became obsessed with the style. In her late teens she started singing in local clubs, gaining a name for herself, from where she progressed to providing guest vocals for numerous Croatian jazz projects, from underground club acts to nationally televised shows with the Croatian National Big Band. Starting her own acid-jazz band was the next natural progression, which allowed her the chance to immerse herself in the club culture of the time and experience songwriting and arranging seriously for the first time.
In early 2000 Yannah began collaborating with deep house and jazz producers Eddy & Dus, as a vocalist and MC. Eddy Meets Yannah was the duo which arose from these collaborations, and from 2003 they went on to release three critically acclaimed and popular albums (on Compost Records) of laid back, house-tinged, soulful songs. Eddy Meets Yannah’s beautiful, sun-soaked sound gained plaudits and tastemaker support right from the start, from the likes of Gilles Peterson on his then BBC Radio 1 show, as well as Kev Beadle (Solar Radio) and Velanche Stewart (Urban Landscapes – USA) among others, and they played gigs everywhere from Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival in France, to the UK’s legendary Southport Weekender.
This project sparked a new learning curve for Yannah; not intent on relying on anyone else when it comes to her music, Yannah accrued further credentials by working as writer, producer, musician and arranger. Gaining experience with producing and programming gave her a new level of freedom and set her on the path to making exactly the music she desired for herself. It was also in the mid-2000s that she met Dave Jones (aka Zed Bias), who became both a trusted mentor and a friend, leading to various collaborations.
The skills learned through these projects have made Yannah a much sought after producer and songwriter, and she has provided her services for Atjazz & Domu (on the big selling “Info People”/”City Madness” single), Soulsource Productions, Johnwaynes, Josip Klobucar and Ilija Rudman to name but a few; as well as a remix for Chicago house legend Craig Loftis’ underground hit “Mary Mary”.
A recent scholarship to study for a year in Japan – having learnt Japanese to a high level as a hobby – gave Yannah space and time away from her own environment and studio to rediscover her passion and voraciously listen to all types of music, reawakening her appreciation as a music lover and lifting her out of her own confines. This experience led to the most productive and creatively satisfying period of Yannah’s life. On returning to Croatia, the liberation she felt from this trip led to a songwriting spree, the fruits of which, over time, were honed into the ‘Equilibrium’ album. The album will be preceded in July 2012 by the double A-side single, “Gotta Keep Me Going”/“Pick Flowers”. Watch this space for the worldwide solo debut of this enthralling musical talent.