Yahya is an artist based in New York from Sudan whose music falls into the intersection of Hip Hop and Rock. His music features unadulterated emotion conveyed through a unique and powerful voice and soul-bearing lyrics over dark, psychedelic leaning rock instrumentals and trap beats.

Digging into the creative process, Byta speaks with artists, musicians, producers, DJs and anyone involved with music creation. A conversation about how they create, collaborate and share music. From studio setups to routines, and the first person to hear about the next 'big' work.

Where are you based?

I am creating in upstate New York as of now, with frequent travel to LA to work on visuals with my production team.

How, when and where did you start making music? Are you primarily a musician or a producer, or do something else?

I started making music when I was 16. I was always mostly a vocalist and an artist but, as I’ve progressed and built relationships, I am now able to craft my sound much more hands on, with the producer I work with, our bond is reflected in the music and it’s now at a point where our sounds are coming together. We craft each other’s music.

Who would you consider some of your biggest influences when it comes to your “sound”?

My lexicon of music goes from Pac to 50 Cent to Paramore, and then Chief Keef in my later years. So it’s just a mix of everything that has ever made me feel certain emotions that I had never felt or even comprehended at a point.

Explain your creative process? Do you have a routine?

I just play the beat and speak my heart, and as I am speaking aloud I’ll go back and write it down for documentation, just in case I want to re-edit or redo anything, usually. Recording is the first thing I do after I pray and workout; I record for about an hour and come out with 2 songs. Then, I go take in more art to find new ways to express myself.

Keeping my recording time to a minimum at this point of my career is important so that I don’t become repetitive in my own ears. I would like to always be fully present as I create; not busy critiquing things. I don’t usually tend to critique myself which is something I have learned over the years to keep my ear fresh.

What is your “studio” setup?

Recording – I record all parts in my in-home studio, using a compressor mic and a Focusrite Scarlett interface – a very straightforward setup. It’s all I need to get the song recorded and bring it to life.


Mixing – 2 monitor setup with a Neumann mic in my bedroom, but I’ll get the music mixed with Lorenzo, my engineer, at his studio where we use Pro Tools to mix vocals and really amplify all the layers in the tracks to complete the picture I paint.

What is your process when working with other people? How is collaboration different in the studio vs working remotely? 

I work by myself until I take a batch of songs into the studio and I sit down and figure out the next mix with the engineer, so it’s usually always in-person studio sessions that perfect everything sound-wise, but the recording and creation is done in my home studio space for overall intimacy. The music and the words needed to express my thoughts as I wish to.

At what point(s) are you comfortable letting other people hear what you are working on?

When the world that the music exists in is fully ready to be presented. I don’t like to just drop pieces or unfinished ideas, so I keep it to myself and my engineer until I’m ready for everything to be put out. I am not a big fan of sending my stuff out or posting snippets. I like to present the idea once its reached completion.

Do you share your work in progress (streams or downloads)? Any technical frustrations?

It’s pretty fluid – no issues with being able to reach the people who love my music whenever I need to. Using YouTube as one of my main platforms for people to discover my music. We now have the world at our fingertips, allowing us to know when and where it is best to reach our audience. I really take advantage of all the tools provided from these platforms when it comes to locating and communicating with those who love my music.

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How do you know when a track/album is finished?

When the story is finished. After months of creating songs and listening, you find yourself telling a story and when I find the best way and most complete way to tell that story I know it’s time to put it out. My music is an experience from the audible art itself to the visualizers to the songs and I’ve learned to release the need for instant gratification that I may have once had. 

I am able to see my ideas through to be my best means of expression and then I build the world around them. I am the writer, the main character, the listener and the creator of these worlds and I see the beauty in the ability to express it once it reaches completion and only then is it time to put it out into the world!

How do you listen to the final mixes/mastered work?

In-studio with my engineer, then again in headphones, and then again through my computer speakers and monitors to get every experience possible. This gives me a clear idea of what it will sound like for every listener of the music.

How important is pre-release security when sharing new work?

Very. Keep it to yourself and those who respect your art as much as you do, I think newer artists get stuck in the trap of just wanting an instant reaction to a track so they’ll send it out to as many people as possible which is where they end up having problems.

Who on your team gets to hear the final versions first and why, what formats do they each need?

Just the engineer and the video director for the most part. The people vital to finishing the idea and augmenting it further with visuals and mixing. Because they help put forth the full story as much as I do as the writer and performer.

Outside of your inner circle who are the people that will need to hear the new tracks next?

I make all decisions internally when it comes to every part of the creation process and distribution. In terms of team, I am the artist and I am the label!

Anything you are working on, anyone you are working with and want to share?

I dropped HiM/ME, Directed By Jay Weneta. And, I have my new EP “Black Rapunzel” – part of the ‘Pieces Of Me’ story series Coming Out June 24.

The full story, album Pieces Of Me will be released on July 15th on all streaming platforms. I’m prepared for you to hear the world I have created 🙂

Its been a pleasure answering your questions! thank you, Byta!