IMG_4303Yo Trane is an enigmatic 21-year-old R&B singer who was born in Liberville, Gabon, raised in France, and has a love for American music. His alluring voice paired, with his comforting lyrics, and hallucinatory production equals a mysterious force to be reckoned with, who truly does make the music speak for himself. Some of his music will have you thinking about a girl you spoke a few words with once, notice those small specks of color in your significant other’s eyes, or even have you thinking about those memories you had with your ex, all while making you feel cared for, confident, and relaxed. Yo Trane’s sensual yet charismatic melodies may be just what the average middle aged woman can listen to after a long day at work or just what the average high school student would need to hear to help accompany them through loneliness. Either way it’ll surely have you pondering distantly with a sense of hope and at the same time serve as a peaceful lullaby to fall asleep to. I was fortunate enough to have an in depth Q&A with Yo Trane himself on the origins of his sound, musical background, and creations from his debut EP Late Night Drive. I was able to not only capture his vision for his music, but also his humble, laid back, and levelheaded personality that should be shared with his fans that only know him for the music, and also for those that should be familiar with him who are not already.

*Interview with Yo Trane*

1. Describe your sound
I think I’ll call it Dark R&B with some Trap and Deep House influences in it. My sound isn’t like popular R&B you know, happy and stuff, it’s pretty nocturnal and more emotional, filled with samples that make the whole thing kind of original.

2. What gives you inspiration to create music?
Meditation, loneliness, and music itself give me inspiration, I mean I really enjoy being alone at home looking at the ceiling, thinking about a few things while listening to various songs.

3. How has living in France/the city you live in/ the neighborhood you grew up in impacted your musical styles?
I grew up in a neighborhood of Paris where people were only listening to french rap. Obviously I was bumping a bit of french rap too when I was with my friends. But I don’t think it affected me cause when I was at home I would only listen to african music, and Michael Jackson. 

I discovered U.S Hip Hop when I was like 12 or 13. My older cousin bought me Kanye West’s album “College dropout” man. This album made me want to know more about the afro-american culture because I instantly fell in love with the rythm, flow and vibe.
After that, I started listening to Soul and R&B artists such as R. Kelly, Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, Alicia Keys or younger Chris Brown but I can’t list them all because this would be too long (laughing)….

4. How/when did you know music was something you wanted to pursue?
I don’t really know though, I’ve always loved music. I used to write raps and stuff like 4 years ago, I wanted to be a rapper though..that’s funny.. I was influenced by my friends as every young dude in the streets you get what I mean ? But my mama hated it though, she would listen to my rap songs like “dammit that’s wack! I hear you singing all the time, you have an amazing voice so why the hell are you making rap records?”… Her judgement changed everything for real.. Last year I just took her advice and started singing covers on my Youtube channel. People just loved it and I would receive tons of messages and comments.Girls telling me they were fans, or saying things like “When everything goes wrong I just need to hear your voice and it’s alright”. Dudes telling me I inspire them and stuff. I felt special though…That’s when I realized I wanted to use my voice to make some people feel good, to help them through depression, bad days etc…It became my purpose. Before that I wasn’t even taking it so serious and didn’t even know I had talent for singing.

5. How did you get started in music?
As I told you before, I started by uploading covers on my Youtube channel, after that I just wanted to make something personal that’s why I worked on my debut EP.

6. What was the concept behind your EP Late Night Drive?
Late Night Drive is just like a book that describes women’s lives and relationships. If you listen to it closely you may think it’s about just one girl, and I did it on purpose. In fact, this one girl represents every woman in general. I mean, I wrote very relatable verses for the girl who’s listening to feel like I’m talking about her.


7. What is your favorite song off of your EP and why?
I don’t especially have a favorite song off of my project man, each song is my fav it depends on my mood though. But those I’ve listened to the most are “Diamond” and “Late Night Drive”.

8. Late Night Drive was also the first project that you have ever released, with that being said were you ever hesitant to share your music or worried about criticism? If not what makes you confident in your sound/music?
I wasn’t hesitant to share this project because I know I’ve put a lot of work into it but I used to be so shy when I started singing man. There’s so many songs that I wrote like 4 years ago but I never released any of them because they weren’t good enough in my opinion. I had to work and become better before sharing something on the internet. I’m such a perfectionist so if something about me is online you can be sure it’s decent.

9. You remind me a lot of the Weeknd is he one of your influences? If so why?/Who are your musical influences/favorite artists and why?
I’ve heard this comparison a lot of times. and here’s my answer. As I told you in the beggining of the interview, I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson all my life, I’m a die-hard fan of his, I cried when he passed away, I still want to cry when I listen to his songs. I love The Weeknd’s music and him as an artist because he reminds me of my biggest influence and inspiration.Simple as that. My main inspirations have been, MJ because he’s the greatest. His music gives me life man..

I got influenced by earlier Drake too because of his nocturnal vibe. He showed me another side of R&B when he made songs like “Message from you” or “Brand new”, “I get lonely too” etc. I think Drake inspired a lot of us, new school singers.
Chris brown because he’s one of the most talented artist of the 2000’s. I’ve been diggin his music since I was like 15.
Kendrick Lamar inspires me a lot as well, He’s my favorite rapper because of his flow and content. His lyrical abilities are beyond crazy man…
There’s a whole lot of artists from a variety of music genres that influenced me. Like Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Cindy Lauper, Alexander O’Neal, Janet Jackson, or even John Coltrane.  They were all legends man so when I listen to them I always want to do better.

10. My favorite song of yours is the track “Diamonds” is there a story behind that track?
I Appreciate that though. The story behind that song.. it’s that one day, I accidentally came across an interview on Youtube. It was a stripper talking about her job and what she was going through like, she was struggling to pay for her school, bills and stuff. She couldn’t find a regular job just cause she was dark skinned. Her parents was broke but dancing on a pole saved her from being poor as hell. When she started getting her life together, her friends started judging her, calling her a slut, a h*e, saying that she was also having sex with the clients, but she was just trying to get some cash though, nothing else..This interview touched me and that’s why I wrote this song “Diamond”. I know there’s thousands of women going through things like that and people don’t seem to understand their real purpose.

11.. What is your current favorite song by any artist right now and why is it your favorite?
Adèle – Hello , just because it came out of nowhere and I wasn’t ready for such a great song. Her voice is so amazing and I like the fact that’s it’s pure, no auto tune, no nothing, just her and a piano, before going hard when the chorus comes on.

12. Tell us some of your future musical plans such as new projects you are working on, when you plan to release them, what your ultimate goal is in the music industry?
I recently started working on my second EP while promoting the first one, and I have some good collabs on the way, I ain’t gonna say names.. I also plan on releasing a few covers or remixes before the end of this year just for the fans and supporters to enjoy. And to answer your last question, my goal is to get my music heard everywhere. It’s not that I want to be a star or something, I just want the world to acknowledge me as a great artist. I still have a long way to go and I’m working very hard for it. 

Twitter: @YoTraneMusic
Instagram: @YoTrane
Soundcoud: Yo-Trane
Youtube: YoTranemusic
Listen to Yo Trane’s latest project below!

Author: Navi.M ~ Contributing editor