‘Yendry’ Cony Fiorentino, an Italian-Dominican singer signed to Sony Records, recently teamed up with Reggae star Damian Marley for “You”, a song about two lovers who can’t seem to find harmony with each other.
The 28-year-old, whose musical style is a mix between Bachata, Merengue, salsa, R&B and electro flows, is a breath of fresh air on the musical scene. After entering X Factor Italy in 2012, Yendry earned herself a one-song record deal with Sony Music Italy. In 2020 after the release of the singles Barrio and Nena she achieved international popularity and signed a double record deal contract with RCA Records and Sony Music Latin. She was nominated Best New Artist at the 2021 MTV Millennial Awards.
In this interview, we talk about her journey in music, her inspirations, and aspirations for the future.
JR: Hi Yendry, how are you doing? Where are you?
Yendry: I am good. I am in Mexico City.
Where are you from originally?
I am from the Dominican Republic and I was raised in Italy. In between the two countries.
I recently discovered your song “You” with Damian Marley, how did you get into music?
I was always singing as a kid but I never thought about making this a job. At some point I started to sing for other people and realized my voice was provoking some feelings in other people and I thought maybe this is my thing. And the way I feel when I sing and when I am on the stage I don’t know how to describe it. It’s something very magical to me. So when I was 18 years old I decided I wanted to do this. I have a Jazz band and an experimental band. It’s like experimental music and electronic trip Hop. Then some years ago I wanted to get in touch with my roots and I started to sing in Spanish. So I said there is something there.
Then you entered X-Factor Italy?
Yeah When I was 18 years old. That was a coincidence. My friend really wanted to sing and become a musician and a singer, so she asked me to go with her (to the audition) and sing in a duet. She didn’t come to the casting and I did it. I was really young then and I didn’t have my identity yet.
You got a record deal from Sony after the competition, how have you been finding that?
When you get a record deal it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. I didn’t have an identity yet musically. At that point the record deal didn’t mean much for me. So after I wanted to play in little bars and be in a band and be on stage again. Now I have a record deal with Sony Music-RCA which is a different kind of record deal.
How would you describe your musical identity now?
I have so many influences it would be ashamed to put myself in a box and say ‘ok I am doing this’ but at the same time I can say I am trying to mix two different cultures. If I have a Caribbean rhythm I still want to put in some synthesizers.
How did you get the collab with Damion Marley?
I was working with a producer who was also working with him for a long time. Young Pao I worked with him and he said Damian would like your energy and approach to music, and they took me to their studio and we were jamming the whole night. Everything was for the music, I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to work with such good musicians and an artist like him, and I remember leaving the studio saying ‘this is how its supposed to be every time when I go to the studio’.
Who are your musical influences?
My influences go from Dominican artists to Salsa, to Bachata, I listen with my Dad to a lot of Bee Gees, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston. Then I grew up with MTV so Timbaland was a big part of my life, Rihanna, Destiny’s Child all of that but at the same time growing up in Europe made me discover indie Music. So Massive Attack, James Blake, Frank Ocean. It’s very diverse so it’s really hard to say I want to do this so when I go to the studio I just let it come out naturally.
You are in Mexico right now, what are you doing there?
I am here to do some promo for “You” song. Mexico is a diverse place and they are into Indie music, they are into reggae music. This city especially is creative, there is a lot going on in art and fashion here. I love this place.
Are you dropping an album?
I am working on it. I would love to have my first album and EP and more music. Everything I am doing now is to travel and bring my music outside and be onstage. So yeah I really want to drop an album hopefully before the end of the year.
In two years time where do you see yourself as an artist?
In two years I hope I already have a tour. I really want to keep sharing emotions with people with my music. I talk a lot about social stuff and women empowerment in my music and I receive a lot of love because maybe my music helped someone, so I want to keep doing that and keep collaborating with people I love, with musicians that I really like. Damion for example.
Is there a big Reggae following in Italy?
Yes there is a big reggae scene there. I was listening to reggae music when I was 16. There was a guy named Alborosie, I was reading to his music. Reggae music is big in Italy.
Who are your top five artists?
Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Beyonce, MIA, and I am listening to Koffee right now.
Yendry, thank you so much.
Thanks for having me, I hope to be in Jamaica soon.
For the full interview listen to the Yendry Episode on World Music Views podcast on Spotify.