Buzz with Danu - Yohani

Aug 25 2021. views 1615


On Buzz this week, I have the most trending person in our country. She is a little firecracker with a universe of talent. I have had her on many of my shows, and every single time all I can say is her humble take on life sure keeps us wanting more. Today the world is talking about her amazing talent, so I wanted to ask her more than about music on the Buzz today. 

When did the love for music start? I’ve always been drawn to music. Hard to put a finger on a time period. I think it has always been there, but I embraced it recently.

What would you say is your biggest challenge in this industry? The biggest challenge is my lack of knowledge of how it works and access to the right kind of resources. I’m new to the industry and never had any kind of experience or training before. Most of the things I did were trial and error. There is no curriculum or support system for musicians. Nevertheless, I enjoy every bit of it. Also luckily Pettah Effect is there now to help in almost all aspects of it.

What would you say are your thoughts about following your dream? How worried were you when you took your first step? I’m excited for the day when I wake up. Sure sometimes it’s a lot of work and I’m worn out by the end of the day. I also feel that I have to sacrifice a lot. 
I don’t have time to hang out with friends or family. There is no work-life balance. It’s all work. But this is what I wanted and I signed up for it. I guess the important thing is to enjoy the journey rather than being fixated on a destination. Worried would be an understatement. I was petrified. A close friend of mine told me when all the DNA of your body tells you to do something, do the exact opposite. He said our brains have evolved to survive. When it’s uncharted territory, it is going to stop you. So do the opposite. 

You are NOW the talk in the world of music, what was your 1st thought when you saw Amitabh Bachchan's post? 
I was asleep when my manager woke me up to tell me this. But I went back to sleep. I guess it never registered. In the morning when I opened my phone, I had so many missed calls and messages. My immediate reaction was, wait are my nudes out? Because the last time I got this many messages was when there was this rumour that my nudes were leaked. 
It took me a while to comprehend what was happening. I’m humbled by it and grateful to Chamath Sangeeth who produced the song, Satheeshan the original artiste and who raps in the official cover with me, Dulan ARX who wrote the song and who also raps in the original song and the Pettah Effect team. I couldn’t have done 
it without them.

What’s next for the brand Yohani? I have finished my debut Sinhala album with 12 songs. I want to do a live show and a launch next year. 

How do you react to your negative/positive comments? I don’t react to either. It was difficult at the beginning and still affects me sometimes. I have learned to be neutral to both positive and negative comments. I think I learned it from Buddhist philosophy. It’s one of the vicissitudes of life. Nothing is anyway permanent.  

Who has been your biggest support? My biggest support is the team Pettah Effect and the man behind the scene of all of this. (He wouldn’t let me speak out about him in interviews). 

How has your family supported you in this process? My family has always been understanding of our choices from a very young age. We weren’t forced to do anything we didn’t want to do. So even with this process, they have been patient. They don’t have the know-how to get involved in music, but they support me every step of the way. 

What do you think Sri Lankan youth are missing? I’m not an opinionated person nor do I have enough exposure to all Sri Lankan youth to comment on this. However, with the little I have seen and the new artists I have worked with, what they lack is discipline and independence. They don’t stay on a path long enough to learn and improve themselves. They look for quick results. And most of the decisions are made by parents and influenced by extended family members. 

What has been your favourite travel destination and why? Sydney! Because of my cousin, I used to go there whenever I could. It became a very homely place. I met a lot of new people and listened to a lot of new music over there. I’d call it my safe place. 

What are your thoughts about friends and friendship? I think friendships are circumstantial. Friendships demand a lot and it can be quite overwhelming. I have a very limited number of friends and our interests are aligned. So it doesn’t get in the way of our work. 

How hard is it for an artist to ask for the right price for his / her talent? Luckily I don’t do any of that. I have a team that is handling this part. I know for a fact that they don’t usually negotiate prices. They negotiate a new act or a new thing to do and the people value that. I don’t know if that works for everyone. It works for me and my team.

What would you say is the most important social media platform today? All platforms are equally important. If I had to pick one, I’d pick YouTube. We have direct access to support anytime something goes wrong and the platform has been evolving a lot.

If...

WHAT IF YOU WOKE UP SUDDENLY BECAUSE YOUR HOUSE WAS ON FIRE, WHICH THREE THINGS WOULD YOU SAVE AS YOU RAN OUTSIDE? Given that my family members are safe, I’d grab my guitar, laptop and phone. 

WHAT IF YOU COULD NOT MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION, BUT YOU HAD TO CHOOSE SOMEONE ELSE TO MAKE THEM FOR YOU? WHO WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY? My manager. Because he already makes most decisions on behalf of me and he is more objective than I am. 

WHAT IF YOU HAD TO SPEND 100 DAYS ON AN ISLAND ALL ALONE? WHAT TEN THINGS WOULD YOU TAKE WITH YOU AND WHY? I’d take a satellite phone and 9 bottles of wine so I can call someone to pick me up once I finish them. I’m never staying 100 days all alone. 

WHAT IF YOU COULD SAY A SENTENCE WHICH THE WHOLE WORLD COULD HEAR, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? Subscribe to my YouTube! lol.

WHAT IF YOU WOKE UP AND DISCOVERED YOU WERE THE ONLY PERSON ON EARTH? WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I won’t be bothered as long as there’s food and internet. 

WHAT IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN A WONDERFUL ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD END AFTER ONLY A YEAR OR A SO-SO RELATIONSHIP THAT WOULD LAST YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE? Wonderful romantic relationships exist only in movies and in books. All real-life relationships are so-so. I would take a so-so relationship and work on it to make it better as long as the guy is willing to put the work in too. 

 

In the spot 

What are your thoughts on equal opportunities in SL? There are no equal opportunities. 
What are your thoughts about the LGBTQ community? I think people are more aware than they were before. And as a community I see it growing in Sri Lanka. 
Who is your biggest music inspiration?  YouTube. Yeah! I don’t have a person haha...
Who is your favourite Sri Lankan VOICE judge? I’m going to diplomatically, not pick. 

What was the last photo you took? It’s a screenshot of my sister's WhatsApp convo 
Who do you go out of your way to be nice to? My sister and my family. 
What food is delicious but a pain to eat? Crabs. I’m allergic to shellfish. 
Who was your craziest / most interesting teacher? The internet. I learn a lot online and I also end up on the wrong side of the internet often.
What “old person” things do you do? I work on time. 
What’s the spiciest thing you’ve ever eaten? Some dip I had on a mountain in Switzerland. Painful! 
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve broken? A human heart.
When was the last time you felt you had a new lease on life? That would be each time I clean my room.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danu Innasithamby

Danu is a Jaffna Boy with a Marketing qualification (only because he needed to study, and not because he wanted it). He has been a part of the team for seven years and is the face behind Buzz with Danu, and WTF.


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