Yendry is a bridge between two worlds, two rhythms, two ways of life. In times of disunity and barriers, the music of this Dominican artist, who settled in Italy during her childhood, contains an enriching message. In her lyrics, she speaks about herself but also embodies the role of many immigrants in the world.
The music by Yendry helps us to understand how the immigrant brings a new culture to their new environment while nourishing themselves with the trends and rhythms of their destination. Something that causes that the Yendry’s European music merges with the tropical heat from the Dominican Republic creating an incredible mestizo music.
Building bridges between two different worlds in each of her songs, Yendry has found in music a place to express herself. A life and lyrics that honor her mother, an immigrant with great courage who left everything behind to give her children a better future. She more than succeeded. Yendry’s studies were joined by a musical passion inoculated by her mother’s bachatas and the electronic music from her friends with good taste: Massive Attack, Bjork or James Blake are some of her luxurious references.
After going through X-Factor Italia and the Materianera band, Yendry started a musical career that is giving plenty to talk about. A career based on a personal style and a mentality that helps to understand the world of the music industry, its dangers and its blessings. With Yendry, we talk about the past and emigration but above all about music and the future. Do not miss her words full of tenderness and hope in a more united world.
You have lived most of your childhood and adolescence in Italy, far from your Dominican roots. How was the experience of living in Europe?
It was kind of weird because I got there, and they were all white. Now, it seems normal but for a Dominican child it was something extraordinary. I grew up in a very small city in Italy. I had to move from one school to other because of race. When you are very young you don’t realize that it is not a matter of being bad people but that it is due to ignorance. Apart from that, I liked the experience. In Italy, I found a new life, I studied, and I had more opportunities. I went to university one year and I also started making music. I love Italy as a country and as culture.
What has Yendry taken from Europe and what does she keep from the Dominican Republic?
My mom never left the culture, food, language and music from the Dominican Republic behind. Those are things that are never forgotten. Although I make different music, I will always have influences from there. As a person too, I found myself different from my Italian friends. I have a different way of life.
I have a happiness, a gratitude to life that are different. I’ve always noticed that. I am growing and appreciating that Latin side. From Europe I take electronic music. I grew up listening to Massive Attack, Bjork, James Blake… The first festival and the first concerts that I experienced were electronic music venues. That’s what I take from Europe. And I want it to show up in my music too.
How was the experience of participating in the Italian X Factor being so young?
I was very young, but it was good, because thanks to that I am doing what I do now, and I realized that I can be a professional. It also helped me to see that there are many things behind the music. There are calls, there are lawyers, there are managers. There is a lot of work behind the music.
Do you think that this type of television contests helps to create a base for the artist or does the artist need to make himself/herself in bars, festivals …?
If you go to a music contest you must own a musical identity, so that you don’t find yourself in a situation where they can do whatever they want with you. Many young musicians asked me: How was it? I would like to participate. The problem is that those young musicians think that these contests are a goal, but it is a starting point.
How did you feel with your early success with Materianera and how did the project come about?
It was very cute. It was my first musical project. I am very fond of it, but I have grown a lot since that time, as a person, as an artist, as a singer. People from the band are my friends. It’s like your first time. It is always special. It is the first love.
Do you think it’s better to be independent than to sign with a big label?
Each musician has a different story. Everyone has to do what everyone feels. I am very grateful to have a big label behind me, but now I know what I want. I have a project as Yendry and I am going to take my vision to it and they can help me developing it. Of course, if you sign with a very big label and you still don’t know what music you want to do, and you don’t have an identity in terms of styling and style, it can be very dangerous. But if you know what you want and pay close attention to the contracts, a large label can be very helpful.
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Do you feel like a Latin icon?
No. Not yet. I have to get more music, do more interviews. I still have to let people know me.
What inspires you to make your songs?
My lyrics always refer to my life. That’s why I write all the songs. Everything comes from experience. It’s easier to transmit to someone through music, emotions or your voice when you speak about your own experiences. For now, it is. It doesn’t mean that I am not going to write with more people or about another person, but until now I have always been very connected with my story.
We are living in a time when Latinos once again have a rising voice and are beginning to say many things. What do you think about it with your perspective as an artist?
Being an artist is a responsibility because you have a bigger platform and people who really listen to your voice. It’s something I like. I also like this new generation of Latino artists because they talk about social issues. Before, they were more focused on rhythm or music and now I feel that they are talking about social issues and we need that.
How did you experience the lockdown? Where did you stay at that time?
When it all started, I was in Los Angeles. I went there to make some music but on March 18 I returned to Turin. I wanted to be in a place of trust where I was close to my family.
Did you have time to create music?
I didn’t write much in confinement. Many people told me that they felt very inspired. I do not. I need to go out and talk to people to write and feel good. So, I didn’t write much. I watched tv shows, movies and I read a lot.
What does success mean to Yendry?
Material success means to be able to work and do what you want with no limits. It is also traveling and performing around the world. I am a giver person and I am very curious, so I would like to meet and hear stories of people from different cultures. The other part of success is the possibility of helping artists who don’t have money to carry out their projects or artists who don’t have a platform behind them despite being very good.
And the most important thing, help my community: Open schools, create a place for children who live on the streets… I have many ideas and would like to put them into practice.
What did you feel when Karol G quoted you in her Instagram Stories?
It was very cute. I was sleeping in Italy and when I woke up my phone exploded. Many people began to follow me as a result of that Story. It’s what I was telling you before. She has the possibility to help artists like me and give them a little visibility. I don’t like an artist who forget where he or she comes from when become famous.
Would you like making reggeaton, like Karol G, or do you prefer to explore other genres?
I prefer to explore other genres. I think Latin music is opening up but before it was only pointing in that direction. We have much more. We have salsa, merengue, bachata, tango, percussions… I would like to explore those sounds.
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Is starting a music career right now dizzying or is it motivating?
Both. I am getting a lot of love now. That means it can be done. Maybe it’s because of age or whatever but right now I have no plan b. I don’t like having plan b. I am putting everything in music. And it will work.
What artist would you have liked to share the stage with?
There are three: Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston, and Selena. I am dreaming loud about this question. They led the career of women in music into very high levels.
Are you still in contact with the Dominican Republic?
I’m leaving on Friday (October 30) to do a promo. I am now in London working on the last details of my single, El Diablo, and I am staying in Santo Domingo, the capital. My 13 uncles; my grandmother and 40 cousins live over there.
What do you like to enjoy when you go there?
I really miss the sea. That connection I have with the sea is what I lack the most. Also being with my family. Even if you don’t see them often, it’s like we see each other every day.
The food, the people make me laugh a lot, the music is also different. In Italy and in Europe people are less warm, they don’t hug so much. I am very into hugging, talking to anyone, sharing in the street and in Italy it is more difficult to be like that.
In Nena, you talk about your mother. Tell us those things that you convey about her in the song.
She left when I was 3 years old and she came to Italy with my grandmother. She didn’t know the language or what was going on. A very strange trip. She started over there. When she got a job and a house, then she came back to take me. I don’t remember that because I was so young, but it’s something you take with you. It’s a trauma. That’s the reason why I’m very connected to my mom. We are friends. I have her and she has me. I wanted to put it in the lyrics.
My aunts also left their children in the Dominican Republic for six years. And there are mothers who go to the United States and cannot see their children again for years because of documentation or the law. So, I think my mom’s situation is experienced by many people and it’s something that I liked to capture. I received many messages from mothers and daughters who told me that they lived the same story and this song made them crying. Music does that, bring something to people.
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Where do you want to live in the future: Europe, Dominican Republic, USA …?
I do not know yet, but need to be in a place where something happens, a big city. I would like to live near the sea and to buy a house for my mother in the Dominican Republic. She misses her country a lot, I find her crying sometimes with nostalgia. Now, she can´t go back to Santo Domingo because my brothers are young and they want to live in Italy.
Apart from your new song, El Diablo, what are your plans for the near future?
I would like to work on a record. I think our generation is not used to hearing them and I would love to work on an album that has a concept, that is a journey. Besides, I would like to work in a live album. I love performing.
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