Yonas Michael is The Black Swan lost in Hollywood but guess who found him —-> KJ<—–
The Black Swan Theory: Is a metaphor that described an event that comes as a surprise that has a major effect and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.
Well I had the opportunity to get acquainted with this Black Swan and after getting a glimpse into his world I learned that he isn’t your average artist!
” How old were you when you took an interest in music?”
Y-O: I’ve always been interested in music since a kid because it was something that was constantly playing around me. I subconsciously decided that the 1st time I saw the Michael Jackson Moonwalker movie. My grandmother’s house was the fun house every weekend in my childhood. There would always be soulful music playing filled with food, family & close friends. Growing up playing basketball I would normally listen to a song before game time & zone out. It wasn’t till my 6th grade year in school when I took a stab at writing lyrics and performed in my school’s talent show.
Artist draw their inspiration from different outlets. Sometimes they could be just sitting reflecting on their day or the mood their in. Some artist get inspired by looking at art but in Yonas case his surroundings had an impact on his creativity. When his mother remarried Yonas and his family relocated from Seattle to Sunny LA. Just the weather alone gave him a cool wavy sound. The weather put his mind at ease which allowed his creative juices to flow very open and free. His influences includes a lot of West Coast rappers such as Tupac, Dr. Dre , Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube , Kurupt and Daz not to mention Shaq made his way up in the mix as well. Even when artist have their own freedom of expression when it comes to how they want to present themselves and their music, there’s always some obstacle that they encounter so I asked Yonas:
“A lot of artist have a trial and learn (error) period while they are developing their career how did you overcome those obstacles that presented themselves to you?”
Y-O: Artist on every level have obstacles which shapes us to become greater. With me, I made sure I surrounded myself with like minded people & always made the best of whatever I had in my possession, rather than crying of what I don’t have yet. Takes a lot of focus, meditation, planning & positivity daily.
Before Y-O ventured into the industry as a solo artist he was apart of the rap duo U-N-I. Y-O and Thurzday met back in 1999 at St. Bernard High School in Westchester, California. The name U-N-I came from the song “Universe At War” by The Roots. They looked at anyone that wasn’t beside, behind or against them, so U-N-I was another way of saying “you and I” verse anyone.
” What was it like being a part of rap-duo U-N-I?”
YO: U-N-I was 1 of the best experiences I’ve had within my career. Been around the world and back, seen tons of people come and go. A great learning experience for me that shaped me for my next phase.
“What was it like touring the world, especially in non-English speaking countries?”
Y-O : Incredible, my favorite thing to do is perform. Traveling around the world getting my passport stamped is 1 thing, but being able to perform in these countries for fans that don’t speak English fluently, but can recite our lyrics was a dream. I love being introduced to new cultures & especially shopping for items you wont see in the US.
When U-N-I was dubbed “Rookies of the Year” by Bet and Source Magazine, they featured them in their unsigned hype column they felt nothing but happiness and minor relief from all of the work they put in but they definitely wasn’t satisfied.
“What was your reaction when MTV named U-N-I “Best Breakout LA Artist?”
Y-O: It was cool lol. Couldn’t take it all on in because we were at House Of Blues that night about to rock for a show. We accepted the award with no award in our hand lol. As indie Hip Hop duo unsigned, it was definitely big for what we represent. LA was excited for us, our families, friends & from that moment things started to progress.
U-N-I not only grabbed the attention and the hearts of the hip- hop community and industry but they caught the attention of PepsiCo. Mountain Dew’s record label , Green Label Sound and recorded “Land of The Kings.” The Duo also had the pleasure to feature Grammy Award winning artist Miguel on their remix project entitled “A Love Supreme 2.0″, he’s someone that they always knew and ran into within the LA music scene, so it was a no brainer to put the homey on the remix once they decided to make one for “Lately”. The album was originally titled “A Love Supreme” and it had a few samples on it, but when they brought in a band to replay the songs with samples they decided to add the 2.0 at the end of it to give it a little twist.
When the duo split, Y-O still decided to carry on and pursue his career as a solo artist.
“How was the adjustment from being a part of a duo to a solo artist?
Y-O: I was very excited and accepted the fact I was about to get lost in any & every genre that felt good at the moment. Took a lot of guts to go from this Hip-Hop sound I was known for and crossing over into different sounds like electro, rock, indue, reggae, etc. In the end, it was all a success and fun.
I personally stumbled upon “Lost in Hollywood” on accident while lurking for indie artist and the song that became my favorite was “Big Body Benz” how did that song come about?
Y-O: Glad you like it! That day I remember vividly. The producer Ro Blvd, who produced all of A Love Supreme 2.0, picked me up on the way to the studio. I played him all of the songs that were on “Lost In Hollywood” & at the end he said “I know exactly what you need”. Once we arrived to the studio, he would mess around with different sounds till he found something that stuck for both of us. Once the bulk of that beat was done I just started mumbling a tone and gave it words. Our energy was on 100 that day.
“What was the visual and audio concept behind the album?”
Y-O: That Lone Wolf on the cover represented me as a solo artist with a vibrant aura ready to purse my next phase. That famous painting by Jessika Cardinhal caught my eye the 1st time I saw it inside her home.
After Y-O released his electrifying solo Surf-hop project “Lost In Hollywood”, which showed off his artistic integrity and his creativity in his music he decided to teamed- up again with esteemed international MICK to release “Mixtape Before Black Swan theory” which is the prequel to his forthcoming album “Black Swan Theory”.
Y-O: Mick & I have known each other for almost 6 years now. We 1st worked on a mixtape in 2009 titled “Before There Was Love”, that was released right before “A Love Supreme”. So when my time came around to do another mixture, he was all for it to be apart of.
Fun Fact: That’s MICK’s cat Grimmy posing on the cover for “The Mixtape Before Black Swan Theory”.
“What made him stand out from all the other DJ’s you encountered in the past?”
Y-O: I never met a cooler dj who was into cats like him
“Why did you choose to name your album the “Black Swan Theory”
Y-O: It all came from this conversation I was having with my uncle on our way to Las Vegas. He mentioned Black Swan & I was so curious to know what meant, after he explained the business use of the term, I made it my own towards my next album. Black Swan Theory is something that comes off as a huge shock and surprise to the observer or listener. It’s always recognized in hindsight after it’s been done, Black Swan represent a specific gene bracket of great people like Obama, Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, The Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King Jr. and many more. These are all individuals including my self that made some evolution change within their creativity field.
“Your first single and video off of the Black Swan Theory is “Volvo”. What was the creative process behind it?”
Y-O : Volvo represent the individual who admit they’re no good for someone that is in love with them, but don’t want to accept it. The video was purposely meant to look over the top, fun with a improv look & funky. Volvoooo!
“What was it like working with three-time award-winning director Jon Jon Agustavo?”
Y-O: 1 of the coolest dudes to work with. We understood each other the 1st time we met,I think its because we’re both from Seattle. He’s always down to step outside of boundaries and have fun.
“Is there a particular artist that you want to feature on this album or for future projects?”
Y-O: For Black Swan Theory the only features are A-Dot, Bad Lucc, Polyester, Phil Ade, Chris King & Austin Sexton. In the near future I want to collab with N.E.R.D., Quincy Jones, Rick Ruben, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Madonna & Daft Punk.
After we spoke about his music career , we all know I had to pick his brain about SPORTS! I felt it was necessary because as we all know music and sports influence each other and there are athletes and musicians that would love to switch careers for a day or two.
“What is your favorite sport(s)?
Y-O: Basketball, all day everyday!
“Who is (are) your favorite team(s)?”
Y-O: Lakers will always be my favorite team until they bring back the Seattle Super Sonics.
“Who is your favorite player(s)?”
Y-O: Michael Jordan
“Did you play sports growing up?”
Y-O: I played basketball most of my life growing up.
“If you had to make a theme song for any play-off / final series which one would it be for and why?”
Y-O: The SuperBowl because that’s where the big money is.
“If you had to choose a team to make a theme or arena song for who would it be?”
Y-O: Right now it would have to be for Lob City aka LA Clippers.Their Young, fast, energetic, plus the dj there was the 1st dj to play me on the radio. S/O to Dj Dens.
“What’s your favorite Sports network?”
“What’s your favorite source to get your game stats and highlights from?”
Y-O: Du na na Du na na….SportsCenter
As a music lover, I truly enjoyed conducting this interview, Yonas Michael has definitely set himself apart from the rest which automatically gives him the standout quality.
I guess we can say he’s been hitting us with The Black Swan Theory from day 1.
Want to more Yonas Michael??? Well maybe you should go lurk on:
you’ll find everything you need from his music to his music videos, you’ll find some downloads for his song, blogs and if you really want to catch him action you will also find his LIVE performances and show dates.
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The featured song is Big Body Benz by Yonas Michael off of his album Lost in Hollywood.
“Everyday is Halloween”
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