Yill: Mexican-Dominican R&B With an Open Mind

Photo by Zai Najera

In 2015, a young artist named Yill debuted online with her single “No Vengas a Hablar De Amor,” and started drawing the attention of Mexican fans in her direction. With a simple trap-influenced beat produced by Canis Major and her strong, sultry voice, the singer quickly showed a talent that could make her stand out in the blossoming R&B scene in Mexico. But after only a few singles she disappeared from the limelight, only to come back this 2019 recharged and ready to share her music again.

Yill was born and raised in Monterrey to a Mexican mother and a Dominican father, inheriting her passion for music from the latter. A merengue, salsa and bachata musician, Yill’s dad used to take her to band rehearsals and concerts for as long as she can remember, and her mom di her best to make sure her childhood dream of becoming an artist came true. “I’ve been very interested [in becoming a singer] since I was little. My mom signed me up to every lesson I could possibly take: singing, dancing, acting, modeling. When I was about 11-years-old I said, ‘This is what I want to do,’” Yill tells Remezcla.

Her taste in music was shaped by growing up watching videos on MTV and VH1, and she cites her uncle as one of the people responsible for turning her into R&B, as he would give her CDs with the genre’s newest jams every week. But once the seed was planted, she took it upon herself to research and learn about the music and her favorite artists.

Apart from informally singing together with friends, Yill didn’t feel confident enough to share her own compositions until she released the aforementioned single “No Vengas a Hablar De Amor.” Months after that, she found her way to the ranks of Mexican hip-hop label and collective Homegrown Mafia, with which she released her most popular single to date, “Tarde,” a slow-burning track produced by BrunOG. She also provided guest vocals to Alemán’s “De Verdad,” included in the Baja California rapper’s triple album Eclipse.

Then came the hiatus. “I didn’t release any music in two years because I didn’t feel 100% or I wasn’t convinced by the songs I was making,” she explains. “But I now feel more mature. Not necessarily more prepared, because you’ll never be done preparing, but I feel ready to put my music out. Right now is the best time to do it.”

Before the year’s end, Yill set off her comeback with the aptly titled song “Regresar,” very much in line with her compositions about love and heartbreak which also shows her versatility by hopping on an electro-pop beat produced by MERK. “I like R&B a lot, and the few people who know me do so through R&B, but I don’t want to be stuck [in the genre] forever,” she confesses. “I want to explore more genres, be it reggaeton, pop, it doesn’t matter. But I don’t want the people who listen to my music to only know one side of me.”

Still living in her hometown, Yill has found in a group of likeminded friends who call themselves La Escena the support she needs to keep going in music. “It’s a bunch of singers, rappers, and producers from Monterrey who support each other,” she explains. “We all release and share music, and that’s cool. We even have a WhatsApp group and everything,” she laughs. Still, she hopes to relocate to Mexico City in the near future. “I’m looking for the right time to do it. I once tried it but things didn’t go well,” she says. “It has always been my plan. When I’m here [in Mexico City] I feel more motivated, because I find it more active here.”

Back in October, and just in time for Halloween, Yill released her latest single “Brujería,” a funk-infected tune produced by Washi Hana and Profff where she used her breathy voice to fight a love spell. But her plan for 2020 is to start working on her first full-length. “I think an album is like an artist’s introduction,” she says. “I want to focus on recording songs to be included on a more concrete body of work. I don’t want to just drop singles and singles.”

Yill is hopeful R&B will become a bigger deal in Mexico than it is right now. “I feel there’s not a lot of people singing R&B because maybe they’re a little scared, since it’s not an easy genre [to work with],” she reflects. “But I feel that as time passes by a lot of people will come out and there will be a lot of support [for the genre].”

With this new chapter, Yill feels like she’s starting from scratch in her career. But the talent is there and her heart is in the right place, so it won’t be long before her name is in every mouth talking about the Mexican R&B scene.