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IYVES goes 1-one-1 with Unheard Gems | Interview

Hannah Taxman, otherwise known as IYVES, is a soulful R&B artist based out of Brooklyn, New York. Her commanding vocals backed by alluring pop/electronic beats put IYVES in a genre all her own, one where she is constantly challenging the boundaries of traditional R&B and Soul music. IYVES’ roots begin in Boulder, Colorado: a naturalistic wonderland. As a result, the outdoors played a huge part in IYVES’ childhood, and is representative in her stage name. She hopes that, like the wild ivy plant that is able to grow in harsh, dim-lit environments, her music can withstand all elements and transcend above the norm.

UG: Welcome Iyves to Unheard Gems! How are you today?

Iyves: Hey there! I’m doing well. Organizing for a busy week with coffee in hand (as per usual)!

UG: When did you first know you wanted to pursue music or when did you start to work on your music?

Iyves: I’ve been drawn to music in a strong way since I was a little girl. I started taking voice lessons when I was 8 or 9 and have been pursuing it ever since. I started writing songs later on in middle school and high school.

UG: So, I understand that your name is a reference to wild ivy which flourishes in difficult environments, suggesting you, too, are capable of pushing boundaries. What was the process of choosing this name and were any other names considered?

Iyves: Yup, that was a big factor in the choosing of this moniker name. This name really originated because I loved where it was rooted from and how it rolled off the tounge. It feels mystical and feminine which I love and hope it shines through in my music.

UG: What artists do you draw the most inspiration from? Do you feel like there is anyone else that fits in the category of R&B/Pop/Electronic you create in?

Iyves: I draw musical inspiration from all types of genres. From great writers like Carole King and Big Thief, to amazing production like James Blake, to beautiful voices like Lianne La Havas and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. It’s a deep and vast collection of music that informs my style and inspires me.

UG: So you mentioned in another interview that your EP, Chromatic, showed you dealing with heartbreak. What part of your life inspired your new single "My Way"?

Iyves: “My Way” was a blast to write. It’s anthemic, bold, and overall just about owning who you are! I want this song to resonate with all kinds of people, ages, genders, sexualities etc.

UG: Your music video for Gold, beautiful by the way, felt to me like a group of people going on a journey together from restraint and mannerly to freedom of expression and an owning of sensual desires. Where you involved in the directing of the video at all? Do you see yourself directing a video for one of your songs in the future?

Iyves: Thanks so much! And yes, my creative director and I came together to bring to life this vision.We wanted it to be sensual, bold and oozing of desire and lust. We would have weekly meetings regarding this at this neighborhood cafe in Brooklyn -- and we felt like the place this idea came to life in was the perfect place for us to shoot. So we rented out the space and had our grand dinner party! I love being a part of conceptualizing visuals to my music so, I absolutely could see myself directing for songs to come.

UG: How has the transition from Colorado to NYC affected your life and your music? What’s it like going from the mountains to the subway? Do you have a different songwriting process now than you did then? What is your songwriting process?

Iyves: I absolutely have become a different writer after moving to NY. The energy and rhythm of the city is just infections. It’s so deeply woven into my stories, melodies. I am so nostalgic for nature and mountains so I think that comes through in different ways in my songwriting. Whether is it lyrical, melodic or even in the instrumental.

UG: Do you have any guilty pleasure songs or artists? Someone you’re not quite sure why you love but you can’t get enough of?

Iyves: I love me some John Mayer ;)

UG: What's your ultimate goal? What brought you into the business? How do you hope to grow?

Iyves: My goal is to continue to create, feel inspired, grow as an artist, tour, meet others who inspire me and collaborate with them! Ultimately, this is a very challenging and difficult path to chart but if I continue to feel desire to make art and feel fulfilled by it that is what it is about for me!

UG: We always like to know who you are listening to, if you could recommend to us another artist you think deserves more recognition in the music industry who would you recommend?

Iyves: I have been listening to a lot of Big Thief lately. Adrianne Lenker’s storytelling is really something else. I am so inspired by the music they create. Also, I love Cautious Clay. He has such a fresh sound and a beautiful voice.

UG: Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music and is there anything else you want to leave us with that we didn’t talk about in our questions?

Iyves: You can find my music on all online streaming platforms - Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud, amazon music and more! Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit more about me and my musical journey, I have so many things in store for the remainder of this year and into early next year. Make sure to follow on my socials @sheisiyves to know when I’m coming to play a show in a city near you -- I plan to be doing some touring in the spring time.

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