Ydine is a soulful songstress based on the Big Island. She performs throughout the islands as a solo artist and with her band anOtherEvolution.
Her family, origins and experiences, such as sailing extensively throughout the South Pacific, traveling abroad, and living on farms throughout Hawaii, have heavily influenced all aspects of her music. She’s currently working on an album titled Belly of the Whale and hopes to have it completed in early 2019.
What made you want to be a singer-songwriter?
Well I actually didn’t start playing music till I was 27, and I had gone through all of the paces of life, gone to school, done this, done that. I had just moved to Hawaii and one of my roommates had a guitar and it occurred to me that I want to play guitar. So, I picked it up and I was horrible. Which is how it starts for all of us. I just stuck with it and I just really fell in love with it.
Were you a music fan before that?
I was a music fan, but my parents forced me to take a few piano lessons until I dropped out of it when I was little, which I could just go back and slap myself about at this point.
Was it a concert or musician that influenced you to pick up that guitar and start a career?
I feel lucky to have grown up in the ‘90s, and there were so many female singer-songwriters around… Jewel, Alanis, Tori Amos… Sarah McLachlan. It was important for me to see those women… their power… like Lauryn Hill. It was inspiring. I think that I absorbed their energy from that time and then decided that it was a route I wanted to take.
What comes first for you, the melody, lyrics, or something that inspires you?
When I first started writing I was living in a tree house in a lychee tree. I swear that tree just like rose through me or something because most of my songs just — I mean they came fully formed and I had to find them on the guitar. Like, how do I play this? What is this? I’ve been trying to catch up with myself, really, since I wrote those songs kind of early in my musicianship.
How has your music evolved over the years?
Well, a lot. I have a full rock band at this point and rocking out. Just two days ago I put down the last track for my album, which is called Belly of the Whale.
What challenges do you think female songwriters face in today’s music scene especially if you’re here on the Big Island?
I think that it’s indicative of the challenges that females face all over the planet are experiencing at the moment. I think that they are definitely undervalued, undercut, and underpaid… under a lot of stress too! I really feel like that’s the basis of a lot of the issues that we’re dealing with at this point. I think that if we uplifted the mothers and the women, just by their nature, uplift the children, we’d be in a lot better shape. And so musically I think it’s the same thing.
On the Big Island… you cannot help but honor the goddess of this island. She is very alive here and I feel her in me musically as well as otherwise. And I know that she empowers the females here and gives us an equal platform.
Do you want to talk about some of the challenges you’ve experienced when you’re looking for gigs here? Do you feel male performers are getting most of the gigs? For example, in the Kona scene, where most of the tourists are, I’ve seen very few female performers at the resort bars or the various clubs.
Well, I think it speaks for itself. Sometimes women are pushed a little bit to the side, you know, and then they’ll be like, “Oh. OK. Well, never mind.” For me, I just never give up.
What platforms do you like to use to get your music out there?
Well I just filmed a video up at Boiling Pots called “UnCover Girl.” There’s a lot of our hometown Hilo crew in it, being like, ‘Yeah, we are magical women.’
For the latest Ydine music & news, please vist her website: https://www.ydinemusic.com
Steve Roby is a music journalist, best-selling author, and originally from San Francisco. He’s been featured in the NY Times, Rolling Stone, and Billboard Magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.
Photos: Steve Roby