The Diva of Disco and Soul

By December 8, 2013Music

She’s fabulous, grandiose and oozing star quality. Sophie Gatward interviews singer, songwriter and TV Star Yanela Brooks, Cuba’s very own musical goddess.

Yanela was born in Guantanamo (Cuba) in 1981. She was born into a musical family and started her piano career at the tender age of 7 at the Samuel Manuel’s Music Conservatory. At 15 years she joined the Art School in Cuba and specialized in Chorale Direction forming her own orchestra called “Yanela y las chicas del Sabor”.

In 2000, Yanela decided to go solo and recorded her first LP “Tu Eres libre” with the French Record Company, Pastel Productions, which reached the top spot in the charts in the French islands. Subsequently, she was the protagonist of a musical along with Rafael Basurto Bolero, leader of ‘Los Panchos’, with whom she performed on some the best stages in Spain and was also in the Spanish feature film “Tango”.

Yanela has now settled in Marbella and you can find her performing at any noteworthy event on the Costa del Sol, such as The Concordia Gala and The Davies Cup and has regular shows at the prestigious Kempinksi Hotel.

Devoted to Blues, Soul, Rock and Smooth Jazz she has been baptized by her fans on the Costa del Sol as the ‘Diva of Disco and Soul’ and has won great acclaim for her energetic and compelling live performances.

Your shows go on for hours, where does all that magical energy come from when you’re giving 110% all of the time whilst singing, dancing, playing the piano, mixing your music and getting the crowd going?
Hahaha, thank you so much for the compliments. I do everything with passion, with my whole heart. I put my entire feelings into everything that I do. The energy comes from my love of work. Music and art are my passion.

You come from a family of musicians. Tell us a bit more about this musical family of yours.
I still remember my Grandfather when I was a child. He practiced on his trumpet everyday, and he would say to me as I watched him: ”Look girl, in life if you want to be the number one, you have to live for your profession. You have to dedicate completely in body and soul.” Those words have always stayed with me. Also my Mum is behind me, supporting me in everything that I do. My friends, my teachers, my boyfriend, a lot of people have been there, supporting me since the beginning.

08.12.yanela-4 08.12.yanela-5

You once formed your own Orchestra ”Yanela y Las Chicas del Sabor”. Tell us some more about this and how it helped you get to where you are today.
This time in my life was very important for me, because I had the opportunity to grow up as a composer, a pianist, a singer, a dancer and a business woman. But most importantly this was a time where I learned about life in general and the people in it.

Anyone who knows anything about you, remembers you from the Spanish reality TV show ”La Voz” a show similar to X Factor and American Idol.
Yes, it was an honor to be part of the first edition of ‘La Voz’ Spain.

How did you come to be on the show?
My Mum saw the advertisement on TV, and put me on the list without telling me! We both were number one fans of the TV show ‘The Voice’ – USA and I always said that if one day The Voice comes here to Spain, I wanna participate.

Can you describe your experience throughout this time? Positives and negatives?
My experience was wonderful, I never liked reality TV but I got hooked on The Voice from the beginning. Sure, little negative things happened while on the show, but I always prefer to stick with the positive. I’m proud to be part of ‘The Voices’ family.

You now have a new CD out. What can people expect?
Yes, we worked very hard on it and the results have been very exciting. People can expect a little of everything. Everybody who knows me and knows my show, knows that I love mixes: slow songs, fast rhythm to dance to, or emotional ballads to cry to. Several genres are included on the CD like soul, dance, rock, blues and jazz. I think you’ll like the whole CD.

Where can we buy/download your music?
You can find all of my new songs on iTunes or Spotify. Also my videos on YouTube or at

Your single ”Mondays” featuring Brian Cross is a popular hit with a great music video to it. How did you and Brian come up with this song? What was the process?
Working with Brian Cross was a GREAT privilege, the process was very easy, he’s very eccentric, like me, and we understand each other very well. We both always try to find perfection in everything we do.

This is a big question – Your Hair! – WOW! It has a whole fan club of it’s own. What do you do to it!? It must be a huge effort to maintain.
Hahaha, that makes me laugh, because it’s so true, wherever I go everybody always asks me the question, ”What about your Hair?!”. It’s part of my personality, and my movements on stage. I take a lot of care of my hair, I love it so much, and I’m telling you, I spend A LOT of time and money on it.

Another big question – Your outfits! – another big WOW! With every show you dazzle the crowd with a different sparkly ensemble. Are there any stories behind them? Do you get them especially made for you? They are truly fantastic.
I’m lucky that my Mum is a wonderful fashion designer. The best outfits that I have, are created by her. Also I have many talented friends and they make some of the outfits for my shows. Other than that I’ll get them from London, France, Spain or the USA.

08.12.yanela-8 08.12.yanela-9

Final question, and most important – What can we expect in the future from Yanela Brooks?
Let me tell you, there will be many surprises to come. Just wait and see. I only can say that I will always change my way of life with a positive passion, a wholesome truth, strong authenticity, unwavering energy, and most importantly: an undying HAPPINESS.

Yanela Brooks – Mi Gente Arriba

Yanela chose our #SundaySessions this week, here’s the link to her smooth playlist: