IBG Interview – 8 Questions With… Mohammed Yahya

Mohammed Yahya

Music comes from various influences and experiences. Some artists are able to take pieces of thier life and pour it into their music. It seems we found someone like this in our recent discovery of Mohammed Yahya.

We had the chance to chat with him and get a deeper look into what makes him tick. Enjoy the interview:

First off, what first drew you to music?

Music was always a part of my household, my father used to be a singer back in Mozambique & my mother would play music daily in our house. Once we fled to Lisbon as Political Refugees during the Mozambican civil war, music became a significant tool for us to keep in touch with the home we left behind.

How would you describe the Mohammed Yahya sound?

Initially I started off creating old school Hip Hop heavily inspired by mid-90’s Rap, but as time passed I started introducing more of my inspirations from the African continent into my music, now I’ve experimented with a wide variety of sounds including Afro Beat and Trap.

Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?

I’ve been influenced by so many artists for various reasons, on a mainstream level I used to love Michael Jackson, his ability to create catchy pop songs that addressed social issues such as climate change or race as remarkable.

Growing up, I was heavily influenced by Afro Portuguese musicians such as Bonga (Angola) whose work rate fascinated me; I believe he has released over 30 albums to date. Apart from creating amazing music and having one of the most distinct phenomenal voices I’ve ever heard, Bonga used his music for so much more than entertainment, he was an outspoken supporter of Angolan independence during a time when it was still a Portuguese colony. This led him to be exiled from Angola. I was also influenced by Bob Marley & Fela Kuti for their ability to create such powerful music attached so such strong messages.

In terms of Hip Hop I was influenced by too many to mention including Big Pun, Wu Tang, Nas, Common, Talib Kweli, as well as a lot of new artists too.

Has your interesting upbringing and experience as a refugee become a part of your music?

Absolutely, my music is a reflection of my life experiences, my thoughts, my views and things that I’m inspired by.

What is your songwriting process? How does a song come together for you?

It all depends on the actual song, sometimes I hear a beat repeatedly until it I connect with a specific emotion and free write, sometimes I have an idea of things I want to write about and search for music that would compliment that subject, sometimes I hear a beat and immediately feel that the music is telling me a story, or if I’m collaborating with another artist then they may already have a topic in mind.

What do you hope the listener takes away from a Mohammed Yahya song?

I guess it would depend on what the song is about, there are songs that I make to provide an alternative narrative to an experience and I would like my listener to go away having more insight to someone else’s perception, there’s songs that are more personal and I may want the listener to take away a message of hope, peace and perseverance regardless of the obstacles they are facing, and in some songs I just want to create uplifting positive feel good music.

Share some advice for other artists pouring their life into music?

I would say believe in your art, work on your craft wholeheartedly and try to learn as much as you can about the music business and everything 

Give us a look at the future of Mohammed Yahya?

My short term goal is to release at least 1 new song every month; this is something I started from the beginning of this year, some solo songs, some collaborations with my duo Native Sun, 

I’m also going to continue delivering a wide variety of educational workshops to Refugee youth groups, as well as in prisons, schools and youth centres.

I really enjoyed co-directing some of my music videos and will be releasing a few documentaries in the very near future, as well as managing and assisting other artists with new projects.

Hear more Mohammed Yahya on his BANDCAMP.

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