Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I studied and performed music from a young age and participated in many competitions. I started to work in the Opera House choir at Mariinsky Theatre, when I was 12 years old, where I had a chance to perform among great musicians from all over the world. These experiences inspired me to pursue a singing career. I also wanted to explore different genres and so I joined a metal band when I was 16. I listened to different genres and eras of music. Music and different cultures inspire me to grow as an artist and I continue learning and exploring music all the time.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?
I moved to Dubai in 2014. I took a break in my career to start a family and be a mother in this new country. There were few classical music establishments in Dubai at the time. I needed to find a way to launch my career and find creative inspiration, and to get into the best “vocal shape”. I frequently flew to London to get my training with soprano Sandra Ford. My biggest challenge was to find my voice and my creative style.
Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?
I recently had a debut at Carnegie Hall where I performed music from the album Poemas De Bar Op,12 and Arias Florentinas Op.15, dedicated to me by composer Julián De La Chica. It was a very special and successful concert.
Which particular works/composers do you think you perform best?
I have focused on contemporary music and in the last two years I have released two albums with the Brooklyn-based award winning Colombian composer Julián De La Chica. I have my own interpretation and style that I apply when I sing his music that has shaped me to become the artist that I am today.
What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?
It’s important to be focused and save energy. I need to rest and minimize communication with the world and think about the music that I will perform and the story that I’m telling.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
I like to experiment and work with artists who inspire me. I like to challenge myself
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
The Dubai Opera house is a very beautiful theatre, with great architecture and amazing energy. Carnegie Hall is also a special place to perform, with a beautiful acoustic and warm audience. I would love to try many stages all over the world and explore new countries.
What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences?
We need to focus on creating new music and new concepts. It’s important to develop the genre and bring in new young audiences.
What is your most memorable concert experience?
For now, my recent debut at Carnegie Hall of course is the most memorable. Not just the concert itself, but also the preparation for it. My travels to the US after Covid restrictions and long-distance work with the composer and pianist Julián De La Chica. I collaborated with two fashion designers from Dubai and Costa Rica. Also, it was the world premiere of the music so it was all very exciting for me to do.
As a musician, what is your definition of success?
For me it is connecting with an audience. When I know that they are on my creative journey.
What advice would you give to young/aspiring musicians?
It’s important to build technique first, self-belief, and patience. Also, to explore different music and maintain one’s curiosity.
What’s the one thing in the music industry we’re not talking about which you think we should be?
Mental support. We need to keep mentally strong and support each other.
What is your present state of mind?
We live through very difficult times, with the political situations in the world and the pandemic. I’m very sad about what is happening right now in Ukraine. I want peace not war. I am against aggression in any form. I don’t want us and our children to live in anger, separation, and discrimination. I want us to live healthy and creative lives. I want this conflict to stop. The world needs to be a better place for our future.
Yana Mann’s new song cycle, Mandala – VI Poems. is out now on the Irreverence Group Music label. The song cycle is one of two which appears on Mann’s larger forthcoming album, Paisaje Nihilista, with all music written by Julián De La Chica
Yana Mann is a singer, song-writer and music producer based in Dubai.
Born in St Petersburg, Russia, Yana began her music studies at a very young age immersing herself in the world of classical music, fine art and theatre. She completed her studies at the St. Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music and graduated from the Tchaikovsky Academic Music College at the Moscow State Conservatory. Later, she studied at the Russian Academy of theatre Arts and Academy of young singers at the Mariinsky theatre.