Her solo debut is just what this city needs right now …

There's a cool thing happening in Denver right now. Instead of it being the proverbial hub for things like jam-bands or dudes with funny hats crying about girls and whiskey, there's other developing genres starting to take hold, claiming their right in the scene.

Hip-hop and R&B have never really been a mainstream thing in this area, at least not until recently. And young artists like YaSi, a soulful come-up in the city, are helping to make it happen.

In 2014, at the age of 18, she joined a few other local artists in the act H*Wood, which is where she says she learned a lot about the industry and about how to handle herself in the real world. The band broke up soon after, but launched a career into music, a path completely different from what her traditional parents ever asked of her. 

"I'm a first generation American with parents who wanted me to be a lawyer," says YaSi. "So I always went through wanting to be a musician to thinking I needed a more 'stable' career. I don't blame my mom and dad though, it's scary for parents to let their kids go into the arts. Especially when it's taboo where we're from."

Her plan all along was to go to school for sports journalism, but after being denied entry for most every school she applied for, she turned to music to cope with the realities of things not going her way.

"Music helped me cope with the rejection, so I burned like 30 CDs of some covers and handed them out," she adds. "It was wild to see the reaction I got from people. It made me realize I had something and I had to do something about it."

Forward a few years and here she is, releasing her first solo EP. Stranded Feelings is a 4-track debut heavily showcasing her growing talents as a formiddable R&B artist, one at the tip of a scene that may easily see a lot of successes in the future.

Yet even though she's celebrating the release today, YaSi claims to already have been working on new projects for future drops.

"Yeah the second project is already in the works," she says. "There will be music between that though, I'm always working on something. I'm lucky enough to be working with Sur Ellz and Been Stellar. We really understand each other when it comes to writing and what we want to sonically build."

Local music always has a ways to go in terms of success, even in a city as diverse and inclusive as this one. But as the population grows, so too does the ability to reach bigger audiences with similar tastes. Denver might not be a Miami or New York in terms of influence in the industry, but there's no reason why it can't be. For young artists like YaSi, who's just getting started, she might just show mom and dad that being a lawyer wasn't such a great idea after all.

Photo Credits: Emily Ray