Yona | It's All About Evolving

Written by

Gabriella Madden

Photographed by

Trevor Paul

Styled by

McKenna Matus

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MICHAEL KORS blazer, top, and skirt, MAJE sandals, and stylist’s own ribbon.

It’s not every day an artist comes onto the scene that reminds us why we love music. Enter Yona, a bilingual French-American singer-songwriter, who combines her pop sound with acoustic guitars and thumping beats. Her sound is the perfect intersection of bedroom indie pop and infectious club beats. Her first single, “Goodbye,” released a year ago is a smooth, slow breakup song with echoing guitars and a lo-fi beat, accompanied by a video full of electric melancholy.

Yona’s sound has evolved over the year, as she continues to write and create for her upcoming EP, and has dropped a few more singles since then. Her latest release, “Bye,” featuring K Suave and Candypaint is an upbeat anthem that once again intersects between various genres, including contemporary pop and rap. Yona isn’t afraid to shift or bend genres. Growing up bilingual, she’s never felt pressured to lean one way or another.

As she continues to delve deeper into exploring her sound, she’s also finishing up her debut EP. She’s taken inspiration from a plethora of artists, genres, and countries that have made her the artist she is today. FLAUNT sat down with Yona to discuss songwriting, the global music scene, and her favorite ways to express herself through art.

MICHAEL KORS blazer, top, and skirt, MAJE sandals, and stylist’s own ribbon.

What inspired you to start making music?
I’ve always liked music my whole life. I’ve always been attracted and drawn to it. But I didn’t start actually making music in studios until I was 13 or 14, because I didn’t even know you could go to a studio. I thought that was only for the big professionals. I started writing after experiencing heartbreak when I was 13 or 14, and then from there it just came naturally to write my own songs.

You grew up bilingual. Is it safe to assume you grew up blending all the different musical influences from other countries and cultures?
It rubbed off on me because I don’t like to stick to one genre, just because the stuff that I listen to is so diverse and versatile. I could never just stick to one sound because of how much I admire all the other sounds.

Do you have any examples of songs, artists, or genres?
Well, obviously, I’d say French. I really enjoy French classical music, which is really weird, because I also listen to heavy metal and harder shit. But, my mom always would play classical music like Mozart and Beethoven picking us up from school, so that definitely rubbed off on me. There’s a lot of Spanish music that has influenced me, and I’m Jewish, so there’s a lot of chanting and singing in that aspect of my life. So I think all of those mixed together were influential.


Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re writing your music?
I love this question because it can have so many different answers. But I think usually with being inspired, it just comes to you. It’s the most random thing. Sometimes I’ll see a billboard with a couple of phrases on it, and I’ll take one from it, and write it in my notes and come back to it later and be like, ‘That was a cool theme, I could write more on that.’ I’ll just see stuff or hear things that I’ll put in my notebook and come back to them later and just build from them. A lot of random things, though. It could be literally just somebody crossing the street. And I’d be like, ‘That’s sick like I need to make something out of that.’

What sort of music did you think you’d make when you were starting out?
I’ve always felt like I was in the middle of pop and rock. I’ve always felt like I laid right in the middle, so I don’t think I lean more toward one side. I think it’s 50-50. I’ve definitely always been attracted to that type of music, and I like more rhythm with the music that I listen to, so that definitely would inspire me.

MAJE dress and stylist’s own bow.

How has your sound evolved over the years?
It’s all about evolving, even some things that I play from 3 weeks ago, I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’ I think it’s all about trying new things, and not really thinking too much about what you’re creating, because if you get too stuck thinking about it, then you’re kind of just stuck in this cycle. You keep going back to the same sounds and talking about the same thing. So I think it’s about having fun and letting yourself explore new things. And that’s how you can tell the difference between your old music and your new music.

MAJE dress and pants, stylist’s own bandeau, MCM boots and bag, MESSIKA earrings, and TIDAL HAIR STICKS hair sticks.

What are your favorite ways to de-stress between projects?
I love art. I draw a lot. I made this drawing yesterday. It’s like a person melting with a fish. I don’t even know. I just love drawing, like I have a bunch of art stuff in my room, and it’s still creative to me. For me, it’s super relaxing, and it’s almost like making music, but with no rhythm. It’s creating a mood or a feeling, and you can express anything you want. It’s relaxing and comforting, and there’s no right or wrong answer. So anyone can have fun with it.

What does your future look like? In 2 weeks, or even 5 years.
I just hope for more people to hear my music and discover the message that I want to put out there. I think my goal in the next year or 2 years, or however long, is just to continue to do that, and continue to make music that I love, so that other people can listen to it and enjoy it. So, I think just doing what I’m doing. But just at a more intense rate. 

MAJE dress and pants, stylist’s own bandeau, MESSIKA earrings, and TIDAL HAIR STICKS hair sticks.
MAJE dress and pants, stylist’s own bandeau, MESSIKA earrings, and TIDAL HAIR STICKS hair sticks.

Photographed by Trevor Paul

Written by Gabriella Madden

Styled by Mckenna Matus

Makeup: Andre Sarmiento 

Hair: Ryan Taniguchi 

Stylist Assistant: Shirying Tay

Location: Echo Garden Nursery Los Angeles

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Yona, Gabriella Madden, McKenna Matus, Trevor Paul Photos, Michael Kors, Messika, Maje, MCM, Echo Garden LA