New York City-based artist Emily Yacina brings her intimate pop to the Mr. Roboto Project | Music Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

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New York City-based artist Emily Yacina brings her intimate pop to the Mr. Roboto Project

“I find that I can be much more experimental with my music when I’m performing live.”

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The music of Emily Yacina is abundant in heartfelt tenderness. Her delicate soprano and lush acoustics make for thoroughly intimate pop that fills your daydreams with visions of billowing clouds.

With material dating back to 2011, the New York City-based artist has gained steady acclaim following the release of 2015’s Soft Stuff EP. Hitting the road with whimsical indie-folk four-piece Florist (also based in New York) for a series of dates that include an Aug. 20 stop at The Mr. Roboto Project, Yacina hopes to bring the homespun intimacy of her bedroom recording sessions to life.

“I find that I can be much more experimental with my music when I’m performing live,” Yacina says. “Playing live is such a different thing than recording, and it can be more fun.”

During live performances, Yacina steps back into a headspace that she has often purposely left behind. With songs like “A Curse,” detailing a love lost to a move, and “Permanent,” exploring dreams of a dead friend, the singer brings a sincere honesty and, at times, melancholy to each of her songs.

Beginning her musical endeavors as a freshman in high school, Yacina was inspired by a fellow musician friend, the lo-fi indie-rock artist known as Alex G.

“Alex G. showed me a lot of their songs, and I had always thought you needed fancy equipment and a studio to record,” Yacina says. “Through them I learned that you could just use your laptop.”

Learning to use Garageband and relying on a few years of guitar lessons, as well as a laptop microphone, Yacina released her first tracks to an Internet audience in 2011. Since then, Yacina’s confidence in her musical identity has strengthened, and with each release, she’s tried to bring a new element to the recording.

“I’ve done music for so long, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it different each time,” Yacina says. “I’m always adding more instrumentals. I’ve been fucking around with new songs for tour and taking the time to be more experimental.”

One of her most recent experiments was a cover of The Cranberries’ “Sunday” which she recorded with Girlpool’s Cleo Tucker. In a way, each of Yacina’s releases is an experiment, as she considers her music to be something pursued for enjoyment, and not something that will define her future.

“It’s hard when you look at music and you first start to make money, because it applies a whole different perspective to it,” Yacina says. “I just want to do this for fun. If something doesn’t feel right, I can just say no. I’m lucky in a sense that I can do that, because I’m still in college and have something else I can apply myself to.”

For now, Yacina plans to apply herself to the current tour — a pairing that Emily Sprague of Florist is excited about, too.

“We both thought it would be fun to do a tour together, and Emily [Yacina] is on summer vacation, so the timing is perfect,” Sprague says. “Yacina is one of my favorite songwriters.”

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