If, you are a fan of Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey and Donna Summers, then you’ll absolutely fall in love with the new “IT” girl Yhai Portier, which is pronounced like the letter Y, she has a voice that can captivate a crowd and that everyone can grow to love. I had the opportunity to interview her.
Yhai, is a new Indie Pop Singer with a lot Soul and a festive personality to match. She’s originally from Clarksdale, Mississippi, but now resides in Houston. She was first discovered by the late great Nate Dogg and later linked up with Jazz from the group Dru Hill. With two influential artists, a whole team of talented producers/songwriters and family believing in her sound and talent; she was able to compete with some of the 90’s generation leading ladies. Women like Destiny’s Child’s member LeToya Luckett and Mya are just to name a few that she encountered on her music journey.
Check out my interview with this new artist on the rise:
Tell people how you got into the music business?
Well, a lot of people don’t know that I started when I was a child. I was featured on The Arsenio Hall Show. I’m from a little city called Clarksdale, MS, which is also the hometown of the late great Nate Dogg. I was a young girl and my sister actually met Nate Dogg and went out. And, I eventually met him as well and just built a relationship with him. My sister opened the door for me and was pretty much telling him about me and actually invited him to our family reunion. So, instantly I’m thinking he’s not going to come he’s freakin Nate Dogg. I remember waiting outside with some of my family members and noticed these two big black Ford trucks pulled up. I instantly jumped up and got excited as I realized Nate Dogg just pulled up at my family reunion! I took him in to meet my mother and to get a stamp of approval and he was approved. After, that he began introducing me to his label mates and told me I was going to sing some hooks for their songs.
I see that you have a new single out now entitled ‘Bad Girl.’ Tell me what this song is about and the inspiration behind it?
I actually got the track from an up-in-coming producer, who acknowledged me on social media and told me that I had talent as a writer and as an artist. He had a big following on social media and gave me the confidence I needed. The ‘Bad Girl’ track is about me being a vampire. I’m excited to shoot the video to this song later this month, because I’ll really be portraying a bad girl. The song is about my transformation as a girl that’s turning into a vampire, but I didn’t know that I’ve been bitten. So, I’m doing all of these supernatural things and can’t figure out why.
I understand that you are known also as the protégé of Jazz, from Dru Hill. How did you guys link up?
I met Jazz back in 1998 and at the time Dru Hill was a huge group that everyone loved. I was really good friends with LeToya Luckett of Destiny’s Child and we were backstage at this really big concert that Dru Hill was a part of. After, their performance there was a lot of press and media trying to get interviews with everyone. At, the time LeToya was actually trying to get me to sing for Tina Knowles, which is Beyonce’s mother. I sang for her and she told me I had a good voice, but Destiny’s Child had already embarked their presence in the music industry. So, I ended up sitting down with Nokio, another group member from Dru Hill, and he had me sing. I sang one of Toni Braxton’s songs and blew them away. Jazz, came over and claimed me right away and wanted me to sing Mariah Carey, I executed that; then he wanted me to do Luther Vandross, I did that too. After, Jazz saw how versatile my voice was, he took me under his wing.
So, fast forward… You were being mentored by Jazz, but unfortunately his group Dru Hill began to experience some of their own problems and things weren’t going in the direction you wanted your career to go. How did you bounce back from that?
Jazz, introduced me to a lot of great people. He got me connected with Mya’s father to sing background for her. In traveling to city to city with her team, I was supposed to go on her tour in 2011. But, things fell through because of promoters and other disputes. I felt that it was actually a blessing, because I would’ve been in New York for 9/11. So, it was actually a Wake Up Call for me to maybe slow down.
After, Yhai came to the realization that she dodged such a catastrophic event she slowed down and started a family. She’s now a mother of 3 and with the support of her husband and other family members she wants to get back at it again. She’s back with a new sound and a new take on life.
Listen to Yhai’s new single ‘Bad Girl’: