Meet Ysa Yaneza: The Singaporean Artist Behind The Sizzling & Sensual Pro-LGBT Music Video!

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Dear Aspiring Artists,

For the record, it doesn’t take much to capture our attention. Featuring a same-sex couple in a music video alone would have been sufficient.

So when Ysa Yaneza showed us her sizzling music video for her debut single ‘Tea’, featuring what looked like a full fledged orgy filled with gay and lesbian couples, saying that she caught our attention would have been an understatement.

Ysa Yaneza

Born in the Philippines, 22-year old budding artist Ysa Yannza grew up in Singapore and was an alumni of Ngee Ann Polytechnic where she graduated with a diploma in Film & Media Studies.

Currently based in Chicago, Ysa Yaneza’s self-produced debut single was mastered by local EDM producer Jeff Hue, who has worked with the likes of Gentle Bones. Having already caught the attention of other media outlets such as JUICE Singapore and Bandwagon Asia, Ysa Yaneza sat down with Dear Straight People to tell us more about her groundbreaking debut!

Credit: Raphael Ong

1. What was the inspiration behind ‘Tea’?

‘Tea’ was written during my summer break in May 2015.

I really wanted to come up with a song that captured a common emotion, which you have when you’re strongly attracted to someone. At that time, I had an interest in someone but I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it and it almost seemed impossible.

I also listened to a lot of Britney Spears, Cocteau Twins and current music, so ‘Tea’ was the result of all that I was doing/feeling at that time of my life.

2. How did the concept for the music video come about? 

There were two things important to me in producing my first music video. It had to be A E S T H E T I C and made in Singapore.

I waited until my school winter break to go back to Singapore and work with other Singaporean artists. I approached my friend Bart to direct the music video. He and I came up with the theme of isolation in a crowded place because even in moments where we are surrounded by so much, we still end up thinking about *that* person.

And sometimes our desires are somewhat projected on our surrounding; like we notice all these little things and dwell on it too much.

3. Why did you decide to feature same-sex couples in the video?

I don’t think we made a conscious effort to include same sex couples into the MV.

It just came naturally when we were planning out the pairings with the cast we managed to round up, and it just so happens there weren’t any viable heterosexual couples.

I guess for us, we didn’t want it to be a big hoohah, like ‘oh there’s gonna be hot gay people making out’, but rather just capturing a slice of our own experiences as it is and that there should not be any differences between straight parties or more LGBT-friendly parties.

4. What was the best and toughest part about bringing the music video to life?

The best part about this project was bringing people together. Casting was quite an interesting process. Bart and I turned to Instagram and Tinder to see whoever interesting looking I might come across.

Melina K, who co-starred in the video, was one of the people I met on social media. I think it’s really cool I was able to connect with other artists through this project. .

The toughest part had to be fitting everything within the low budget and tight schedule. I was only in Singapore for 5 weeks for my school break, so time was of the essence. It was really about maximizing with what we have, and making it work but also making sure it executes well.

Since I was also the producer of the MV, I had to manage every single component of the project and still be able to perform for the actual shoot.

5. What kind of impact are you hoping to achieve with your music video? How has the reaction to your music video been like so far?

Besides the music video looking “nice”, I really wanted the music and music video to have some sort of happy-sad impact on the viewers.

It’s the same with having a crush or falling in love… It’s an unknown destination but as you go along with it, it can make you feel excited or upset or both at the same time, but you kind of just accept whatever that’s happening and go with the flow, much like the vibe of the song.

The reaction has been surprisingly positive. It’s interesting to me that the same-sex couples weren’t the first thing people spotted but rather just the vibe of the MV.

6. Why should people watch your music video?

It’ll make you feel feels.

7. What project(s) are you working on next? Any plans to release an album one day?

Currently, I’m rehearsing for a few shows in Chicago, where I currently study in college.

During my summer break, I will be going back to Singapore to make more music and hopefully, perform at events/shows. I will probably release another single at the end of year!

8. What kind of artist do you aspire to be?

I hope to have the popstar quality of Britney, the producing skills of Kanye and the business mindset of Chance The Rapper.

I don’t just wish to sell only myself as artist. I want to promote other artists along the way and also bring attention to the local music scene.


If you would like to keep up to date with Ysa Yaneza, you can connect with her on her Facebook page!

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You might also like to read:

Meet The Artist Behind Singapore’s First Gay Music Video

Out Of The Closet: Sheni Shares Her Story

10 Sexual Orientations You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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