What is the name you go by + where are you from?
"I go by Yelena, that is my stage name. I was born in Boston, but I grew up in Cape Coral, Florida. I moved back to Boston when I was in the 7th grade. I am a Cuban and Dominican singer and performer!" [Photo by @kannethaa]
When did you start your journey with music? How did you start?
"I started my music journey when I was about 7 or 8 years old, and then from there I would join choirs at school and outside of school. Being a part of a choir, I was able to learn more about myself as a singer, and was given certain portiners, in regards to the proper way of singing, etc. When I was 15, I picked up the courage to be a part of my school's cabaret event, where students could do solo performances. The night that I performed, that's when I became even more in love with performing, and I no longer had stage fright. From that day on, I decided I really wanted to pursue music seriously, and to one day become a well known international performing artist. Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a singer, but I was scared to go after it, and I had a fear of performing in front of people. As I got older, I took advantage of performing in talent shows and fashion shows across the city. Once I graduated college in 2019, I decided to pursue my dreams, and since then I haven't stopped. I started putting my music out, by being connected to different producers and different artists, as well."
What is your favorite experience(s) as a music artist? "My favorite experience as a music artist, I would say is just seeing how people react whenever I perform, just being able to connect with different people and as well seeing the amount of support that I have. I love the moments where I have people reach out to me and tell me how I've inspired them to go after their dreams, and how my music helps them. It's truly an amazing feeling to experience, and I am grateful for it."
What is something you feel that people don’t see behind the scenes?
"People don't see how stressful it can be for me when I'm working on a song, what my tactics are or when I'm at performances. How nervous I can be, and I am overthinking everything, but I feel calm as I'm ready to perform."
Do you do anything else you would like to share? What do you do in your free time?
"I love to work out, dance and do choreography. These two things help me destress and dancing is something I would like to incorporate one day in my performances. As well as singing, model, and have photoshoots here and there. I love fashion and also, I spend my time reading and doing personal development. Overall, I'm someone who likes to keep busy, whether it's with my music, modeling, friends, family, etc."
What is something you feel that goes unnoticed about artists like you?
"I would say the gifts that I have. I feel that sometimes others may not see what I see in myself, or the potential that I have, which is fine, people will eventually see how truly talented and determined I am. I want others to feel the same way about themselves."
What are some accomplishments you’ve done during your journey? What are some challenges you faced + how did you overcome them? [Photo by @skyclad_creations]
"So far, I've been able to be featured on certain websites that showcase music artists and other creatives, I've landed on the cover of a magazine, and two of my songs have been ranked top 5 on a music page, based in Boston. I haven't really faced many challenges as an artist. I would say the first challenge that occurred was when I was working on my first single. Facing certain advancements made by someone who is professional, I had to put a stop to it, and remind the person that our relationship is professional and that's that. As a woman, it can be tough to be in an environment or industry. I would say that is male-dominated, and sometimes I feel that I really do have to be cautious and protective. With whoever I work with, my hope is always that they can keep things professional and not cross any boundaries. I take my music very seriously, and I would only want to work with people who are serious themselves. I did overcome the challenge, I overcame it by no longer working with that person, and finding other people who were much more serious and made me feel more comfortable."
What is some advice you’d like to give to artists like you?
"Don't ever stop! Don't question yourself whether or not people will like your music. The fans will always be there and you will eventually see who are your true fans. If you believe in your talents and dreams, then you wouldn't let any doubts or fears come in between the two. People are always watching, so it's important to stay active and engage with your audience and fans as much you can. Take a break when needed. Don't overwork yourself."
Yelena's message to you! "I want my audience/supporters to know how amazing and wonderful they are. I am truly grateful for each and every one of them, and I hope my songs / music can help in some ways. I want my audience / supporters to always feel powerful and unstoppable, and to always go after what they want."