Yaima Sanchez (Camaguey, 1979) was not supposed to become a professional singer since she did not study singing. But she was talented. One day she knew she could do it and then, she decided to spend her time on it. Luckily for her fans, who enjoy the strength and beautiful pace of her voice, and her powerful stage presence, she also has an endless performing range. Gently, she accepted to talk to CubaSi.
Why did you choose music? When and why did you decide music was not a hobby anymore?
I was about to defend a PhD in Pedagogy. The main subject of my paper was psychology, and then I decided to devote professionally to music. There were many reasons. It is like a philosophy of life to me. At first, it was only the hobby of a university girl. But then it was gaining ground and became very important to me. And I am telling a philosophy of life because I met Tomas Morales, Hugo Osle, Santiago Alfonso back in 2005…And all of them praised my voice. I thought all of them cannot be wrong. Should I try? I never like casting doubts on anything. Afterwards, I had the incredible luck to meet one of the greatest artists in Latin America: Luis Carbonell. That was the turning point in my life when I decided to devote myself professionally to the world of music.
You have a wide-range formation. How do psychology and sports influence your music?
I would tell you that the course of Physical Education, contrary to what most people may thing, is one of the best courses you can ever study. A graduate making the most of his/her time becomes a quite prepared man/woman in life. I was lucky I had great professors who loved their careers and helped me a lot any time I have to shift some classes so I could participate in contests or events here in Havana. Therefore, I can tell you that singing, performing, being an artist is neither easy nor common (it is my opinion even though many people think otherwise). Having studied all these makes me want to take my career one step forward: my goal is to put into practice everything I have learned in order to be a better artist and human being.
Did you dream, imagine of becoming a popular singer one day?
If you have made me this question in 2005, I would answer you: “Me, a singer? Never, never.” Today, my answer is yes. I dream of a great concert where people feel happy, in love or not, but happy. It seems utopian, but it is my dream. If it helps me to be admired and remembered, then I will be doubly happy.
Who are your favorite singers?
First, I must say I love good music. I love to have good music in my collection, all genres from all over the world. Of course there are idols. And that is the case of Ella Fiztgerald, Elena Burke, Sara Vaughan, Brazilian music, Cuban music…I am not lying…They are my idols!
Do you enjoy listening to yourself? Do you listen to your own records?
Yes, I do like listening to myself especially aiming at not making the same mistakes. I believe it is very important for people like me, empirical in the learning process of music. You must be able to recognize by yourself the bad singing, if the melody is in line with the harmony. I also like to watch myself to observe my movements, gestures, diction…I do it with specialists or my friends and family to nurture myself with other viewpoints. I confess I love to listen to my music of my new album, Armonia. I think I am better interpreter now.
What sort of background music do you prefer? Why?
Live music is among the top merchandised kind of music in the world now. And it is also my favorite. I performed my first live concert with great musicians back in 2013. Most of them played for the musical band of Litz Alfonso dancing company. I had spent the first five years of my career performing at El Gato Tuerto Piano Concert. Everything hinted my accompaniment was not going to be the backgrounds that time. After the concert, I met a very important woman to me and very smart, cello player Yamile Pedro. She suggested me the idea of a musical format and I am now being accompanied by them. The feeling is unique when I see any musician performing a beautiful chord according to my singing. It is the opportunity to listen to the musician by my side. It is the simple humbleness of music as the most important phenomenon.
What is the ideal stage? Where do you really feel comfortable?
My ideal stage is a theater. You know you are the center of attention and everything must go perfect. Nerves will only serve to make us stronger…I have absolute respect for any place I have performed as well as the public. But theaters are my thing.
What kind of music do you listen to? How much music? Do you have any free time for something else different to music?
I listen to a lot of music. I also listen to the music of my younger musicians, the good and bas tendencies. There is always time to do other things. Life provides me several emotions and experiences. That is why I am in love with everything I sing.
You were one of the singers in Litz Alfonso’s show Amigas. To what extent are you interested in musical theater?
I am interested to the point of wanting to do it. It is a very complex art form which demands a lot of you. I will be always thankful to this staging and Litz.
What should a singer never lose? What is paramount in this profession?
For a singer, the most important thing is humbleness. And we must never forget the audience demands respect. And the last thing, we must never forget we are artists.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Diaz // CubaSi Translation Staff