About Ya Za
Born and raised in the “Music City,” Nashville, TN, the multi-dimensional, multi-talented, multi genre singer/songwriter, Ilyasin “Ya Za” Zarifa is a reflection of musical diversity. She started singing at the age of 7 with the W.O. Smith School of Music Vocal Ensemble and is formally trained in the flute and piccolo. Throughout high school, she was well-known for her active role in the fine arts (music, speech drama, etc) and at the age of 14 started writing songs and lyrics as another means of expressing her many levels of creativity. After high school, the 5’9” “tomboy” pursued a career in modeling. She signed to Elite Models and traveled abroad as a runway model with much success. While focusing on her modeling career, Ya Za continued creating in her first love, music. At the age 19, she was asked to sing in a studio session by world renowned songwriter and hit maker, Adonis Shropshire. It was then she discovered “the studio” was her true home – translating her life experiences, reality, love, and pain into the universal language of music. Hearing her voice and vision come to life in song, she was immediately and permanently hooked to music. Acknowledged and complimented often for her precise tone and ability to adapt to different musical styles, producers have found it easy to record her voice. She has worked with, written for and recorded with such artist as Lloyd, Yola the Great; Gangsta Boo; RL from the hit group “Next”; and notable producers such as Adonis Shropshire; Dorian “Soul Dog’ Daniels; Colin Morrison; Voytek Kochanek; and Sanchez Harley and many others.. In 2007 she worked as the Director of Operations of One Staj Music Group in Nashville, TN. There she collaborated with CEO/ artist/producer/arranger, Jonathan Winstead, and Martian Society Music Group, Ronald ”Drizzo” Mills, begin creating her signature sound. When ask what her style of music is, one can simply say “well rounded”, in the sense that she can transfer any style of music she brings into popular music, drawing a spectrum of domestic and international listeners and fans. Ya Za is an easy going vocalist that pulls the listeners in with her clever lyrical concepts and a unique, sweet, yet demanding voice. Whether expressing through seduction or through pain, she has the ability to make the listener feel how the words connect to the emotions throughout … Her debut album “Bipolar in Stereo” is due to hit the store in the Winter 2009/2010. The album is full of hits and possible singles like, “Socialite”, a party girl’s anthem, its simple and catchy melody along with its pop culture relativity, this song is sure be a club hit. The track “Bipolar” is a reflection of her creative writing skills, its combination of African drums and euro dance club rhythms, which makes for a sure club hit. Songs like “House on Fire” shows off her signature vocal talent and true diversity.
Her inspiration roots from a range of true musical pioneers, such as Prince, Pat Benatar, Michael Jackson, Annie Lennox, Diana Ross, Donna Summers, George Michael, Stevie Wonder. The body of her work exhibits elements that draw from her inspirations and experience. Like these artists, Ya Za, strives to make music that will be enjoyed for years to come. With style, creativity, and global appeal, she is setting a strong path for her musical success.
"When I write music, I hear colors, see visuals. The video treatment , the choreography, the wardrobe, the fan that sings along, the album promo, the commercial, the critics, the backlash, the impact, the movie script, the tour, the award acceptance speech.. It's bigger than just words to me".....-Ya Za