To Top

Check Out Yana’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yana.

Hi Yana, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a singer/songwriter based in Czech Republic in central Europe. However, my heart is in Ireland. I found my spiritual home there many years ago and the bond just got stronger over the years. But the more I go there the more I realize it is more about people than the location. Music has always been a key part of my life but I never really had the dream of becoming a musician. I am completely self-taught. Nobody in my family is a musician. I started playing the guitar in my late teens, thanks to Karel Zich, well-known singer and master of twelve-string guitar. He was my first musical hero who later became a friend. He installed the love for the twelve-string guitar in me and encouraged me to start playing the guitar as such. He was often called Czech Elvis Presley because of the similarity of his voice. He sadly passed away in july 2004 so never got to see where I am now. But I would like to believe he somewhat does.

I had always been writing something, from an early age, mainly stories or poems. But it took the passing of Fergus O’Farrell, dear friend and hero, my biggest influence, frontman of Irish band Interference, in February 2016, for me to throw myself in the music with my whole being and never look back. Ferg suffered from muscular dystrophy from a young age, ended up in a wheelchair as time progressed, lost the ability to play any instrument and it was attacking his voice in the final months. He inspired generations of musicians and attracted a whole community of kindred souls who continue to spread the love and the story. We all believe this is the story that needs to be told. As a songwriter, Ferg is present in everything I create. I have written two songs about him to this day, to honour him. I consider him my guiding light, my guardian angel.

My connection to Ireland became even stronger when I started playing music because most of the gigs I played have been in Ireland and most of the musicians I have worked with are based there too. I recorded my debut EP “Distant Shore” in AP Studios in Dublin in 2019, worked with the likes of Liam Ó Maonlaí (Hothouse Flowers) or Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames) along the way. The EP came out in June 2020. At the moment I am working on my debut album that will be called “Journey of the Soul” and will be released in spring of 2023. It is much more than just a dream come true. It is a true labour of love, a combination of collaboration offers placed and received. If the pandemic did not happen the album would probably never be created but this is what I see as a positive side of the whole thing – having more time to create and put together something I can be proud of. I know I made an album I wanted to make. And much more than that. I am very well aware how fortunate I am to be surrounded by kindred souls who are supportive and encouraging and know what it takes to be an artist and follow your dreams.
This is just the start of an amazing and very rewarding adventure!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of the biggest obstacles, besides the money side, if you are an independent artist who does not have any labels or managers behind you, is the lack of support from your immediate family. I have found out that unless you come from a musical family, those closest to you are in most cases not so keen of you being an artist. Why? Because they want you to be like them, ordinary like everybody else and not follow your heart and your dreams. But you know what? Life is too short to live somebody else’s life. Because at the end of the day, we regret things we didn’t do instead of those we did. And nobody knows how much time we have. One thing is certain. We only have one life to live. So make it count and enjoy it to the fullest.

Also, as a creative soul, we cannot expect everybody to like our work. We are humans and humans have different tastes. But we all want people to respect us, no matter what. Tough thing to do for some. Overall, we artists are doing this for ourselves in the first place, everything else is a bonus.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a singer/songwriter, play the guitar and write, perform and record my own songs. The genre could be labeled as atmospheric folk even though I don’t really like to be put in a box. I try to write songs with deep lyrics, deeper meaning where you have to think as you listen. This is due to my influences, the likes of Interference, Mic Christopher, Glen Hansard or Nick Cave. I have always been fascinated by lyrics, even as a listener. What am I most proud of? My tribe of kindred souls who keep me going when I question the sense of it all. There have been unforgettable moments that restored my belief in my art and showed me I am going in the right direction. When my dear friend and hero Fergus O’Farrell passed away, I co-wrote a tribute called “The Book of Your Life” where my friend and fellow musician Liam Oragh put my lyrics into music and we also have the wizard of strings Colm Mac Con Iomaire adding his magic to the poignant track. I think I can speak for all of us to say we are very proud of this piece of work. When Fergus’ father first heard it he thanked me for keeping his son’s memory alive. That moment made me think what else do you want as a songwriter?

I am proud of all the collaborations that have come my way so far, most recently with Maurice Culligan, keyboard player of Interference, which completed the circle why I do what I do and how I do it. My connection to the band is cemented for eternity now.

What sets me apart from others? This is the million-dollar question. It is not easy to put a finger on it and you certainly cannot find it out overnight. I think it is simply the way I create, the way I see the world, putting my heart and soul in my work looking for connection. I am not interested in views, likes, fame in general. If my songs resonate with just one person, I feel like I accomplished my mission.

Most recently Radio Wigwam in UK nominated me as Best Folk act for their 2022 awards. Didn’t win but in a way, I feel like I did because even being nominated from such a vast amount of artists is a win.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
There are many wonderful people who believe in me and have helped me in one way or another and I’d be worried to miss someone. I will try to pick out the main ones.

Karel Zich – first musical hero who later became a friend, introduced guitar into my life.

Fergus O’Farrell – dear friend and hero, overall inspiration in not just music but in life in general.

J Eoin – my mentor, the closest soul of them all. He has always believed in me and my creativity and has helped me more than he probably knows. And continues to do so.

Camilla Griehsel, Marc McDonald and the whole Interference tribe – these are kindred souls, my tribe, whose love and support has guided me both in the days of joy but also in the days of sorrow.

Zuzi – my best friend for more than twenty years. She’s like a sister I never had.

Hanka – another longtime friend and my travel companion, supportive and encouraging as ever.

Alasdair Bouch – a songwriter friend from UK, now based in Prague who saw something in me in the early days, way before I discovered it myself. And continues to stay in my corner.

A special mention has to go to two people without whom the recordings would probably never happen and none of this would exist. Shane Ó Fearghail is an Irish songwriter based in Vienna, Austria, who put the studio in Dublin, Ireland, where all my recordings have taken place so far, on my radar. Antimo Kelly Puca – owner and sound engineer at AP Studios in Dublin, Ireland. Wizard in his own right,  knows his trade inside out and gets out of his way to not only make you, the artist, feel as comfortable as you can be but also makes sure the recordings are the best they can be.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

personal photo / Dave Keegan image 3 (with the piano) – Clark Bergan image 4 (black and white) – Dave Keegan image 5 – Murphy Kie

Suggest a Story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in local stories