Welcome back to Fashion Rocks, a series that celebrates dapper musicians across the globe. This week we’re featuring rapper/songwriter Yel (SHE/HER), born November 16, 1994 in Pasco, Washington. The influence of music started in the home with her mother being a singer, and her father being a saxophone player and a pianist. With music being in her blood, it was no surprise when she picked up a mic herself. Growing up she drew inspiration from artists like Missy Elliot, Andre 3000, Jimmy Hendrix, and Lupe Fiasco. During the transition from high school to college the desire to pursue her musical career grew although she had a full-ride basketball scholarship. After her first two years in college Yel’s mother tragically passed away, which gave her the motivation to finally move forward with music full-time. Shortly after, Yel moved to Los Angeles, California, and released her first music video and single “Soul Travel”. Since then she’s released several singles and feature in the last few years and is now announcing her debut EP release “The Life I live” October 14th!
dapperQ: Why is queer visibility important in media and fashion important? How do your platforms help create space for members of our community? How do they challenge mainstream media and fashion platforms?
Yel: Queer visibility is important in fashion and media because we’re the back bone of those industries. That’s how a lot of us have been able express our creativity. One of the main things I express through my platforms is individuality and embracing who you are no matter what they tell you you can and cant be. For a while us gays weren’t able to express ourselves and who we are out loud like we can now. So now that I have these platforms with people who are inspired by me, I vow to myself to continue to spread the message to embrace who you are inside and out. And, I want to create safe spaces on all my platforms for us to be ourselves.
dapperQ: How would you describe your personal style aesthetic? How much of your personal style is influenced by your identity?
Yel: If I were to describe my style, I’d say I’m really influenced by 90s vibes but I do still enjoy newer styles as well. I love a good skinny jean with a long baggy tee. I guess you could say I’m a mixture of old and new. I’d like to say my style is identity.
dapperQ: Who is your biggest fashion icon and why?
Yel: Jimi Hendrix, Andre 3000, and Missy Elliot because as a musician these were all artist that I grew up being really drawn to at a young age. They stood out to me because they were able to not only express themselves fully as artists musically, but also through their fashion.
dapperQ: Tell us about your biggest fashion and/or shopping fail!
Yel: My biggest fashion fail as a kid was wearing big fake studs in my top cartilage piercing hole and EVEN bigger studs in my bottom one because I wanted to be just like Missy Elliot growing up. Looking back at it now, I’m surprised I didn’t mess up my ears that whole time.
dapperQ: What advice would you give our readership? What advice can you offer to people who fit outside of society’s understanding of traditionally masculine and feminine styles?
Yel: The advice I would give is to always love yourself for who you are. The only advice I would give to people who don’t fit into society’s understanding is you are f****** dope and keep expressing yourself the way you are!
dapperQ: Tell us something unique about you!
Yel: What’s really unique about me and something people don’t really know is that I’m way more goofy than people know. I live for a good laugh.
dapperQ: What can we expect next from you?
Yel: Well I’m officially dropping my debut EP project this fall. There’s going to be so many visuals and you can definitely expect more music.
dapperQ: Where was your head space during and after creating this project?
Yel: I was going through a lot of personal growth and major life changes prior to making this EP. My father was a musician as well and raised me to always “find my voice,” in my music, in life, and as a Black woman. When he passed in 2018, it took me back as an artist, not to mention I had lost my mother 3 years prior. I started finding myself more and more in my music than ever before. So, last year I decided to go back to my home city in Pasco, Washington to start and finish my Debut EP with my brothers who are also musicians and my main producers. I learned so much going back home and found a lot of clarity and peace working on this project. Now that its done I feel my purpose as an artist is so much more clear which you’ll be able to hear and feel in this EP.
dapperQ: How was the process of creating the project?
Yel: The project is called “The Life I Live” and it’s about the situations I’ve been through and lessons I’ve learned that have made me the artist and woman I am today. To be honest the process of making this EP was rough. i had to look back on hard times, and dark situations I’ve faced in life and was really able to bring and express those feelings and moments out in each song.
dapperQ: What inspired this EP?
Yel: Honestly Life itself inspired this EP. I wanted to give my fans and supporters a different side of me, a deeper side of me. i had to dig deep for this one. And, I just hope that it shows.
dapperQ: What can we look forward to from This EP?
Yel: A good vibe, a good laugh, a good dance, and a good cry.
You can find more about Yel on social at: