City Dreams: An Interview with Yonnick Hackshaw


ALL ACCESS BLOG: Favorite place you liked to go to when you were younger?

YONNICK HACKSHAW: Well, as a child I liked being at home playing games and relaxing with my brothers. I have always been a homebody but if I had to pick a favorite place to go as a child I’d have to say church. All my friends were there, it was a break from the school week and it was a place I could be around equally yoked people.

AAB: When did you learn how to play the piano? Did you want to learn or was it something you just fell into?

YH: Well my Great grandmother, rest her soul, was a big piano teacher back in St. Croix where I was born. She taught my mother piano. Now we all lived together so naturally it was my turn to learn, being the first child and all, but I didn’t want to learn piano, I wanted to play basketball. They tried and tried to get me to learn piano as a youth but eventually gave up and I never really learned much. I’ve always had the inclination but not the practical skills. Years later after seeing people my age in church playing piano and getting attention I decided to stop playing and learn. My mom and grandmother weren’t going to teach me anymore because I turned down the lessons so many times so I took to YouTube to learn how to play by ear. As I said I always had the inclination and was always around real music so learning on YouTube wasn’t hard at all for me. So from around the age for 15-16 I began to play in church and different bands.

AAB: How do you connect with music?

YH: The act of playing instruments and making sounds is a physical process but the waves of sounds that music produces, I feel are very spiritual. Music is all about invoking emotion. A vibe, a mood, a feeling. So I would say I connect with music through just that, emotion. So when I set out to create or listen to some music its all about how I’m feeling or how I want someone to feel or a vibe I want put in the air. That’s why sometimes you don’t want to listen to certain songs because of how you’re feeling at the moment or the vibe for that type of song is off.

AAB: How did you start producing music?

YH: After playing piano in church for some time, I was looking for something new musically. I loved playing with other people in church and different bands but I came across one of my friends in the church community who was always a producer, Kyran John, and I saw him on Facebook doing his thing. Beats were DOPE. So I said I’m going to just start producing myself. I used to play around on GarageBand and iPads making little beats which were horrible but Kyran is the one that made me take it serious around the age of 20.


AAB: You’re open to collaborating with other people, what is it about working with other people that you enjoy?

YH: Working with other people is amazing. Everyone is different and that’s the same when it comes to music. You can give a million producers the same sounds and they’ll all make something different. So when I collaborate with people it’s all about seeing someone else’s mind. It can get “boring” working with your own mind all the time. It’s fun to take two kinds and put them together to make a whole new type of sound. You grow so much learning from other people’s minds and that’s the best part.

AAB: An artist you want to work with that would also challenge you?

YH: good question. I would have to say Beyoncé. Beyoncé is so versatile, always doing something different. It would be the greatest thing to work with someone who constantly changing their sound and not to mention… she’s the greatest female performer of all time. So much to learn from a singer like her

AAB: One thing you always think about when you are composing music?

YH: Hmm, I always think about how I can please hardcore musicians and their everyday listener at the same time. The two are very different so I try to find a balance between trendy and technical.

AAB: Music career fears?

YH: Where do I start… the music industry is full of dream sellers. People who appear to have your best interest in mind but just want to exploit you for your talent with no intent of taking you anywhere. Also music, unless you’re big time, is very very unstable. You can be on top of the world one day and the next, can’t get a placement, anything to sell or even “producers block”. So I would have to say dream sellers and the instability of the music industry would be my biggest fears.

AAB: 1 Pro, 1 Con in regards to social media?

YH: 1 pro is you get connect to other people you normally wouldn’t meet otherwise and that goes back to that connect with other people minds thing. 1 con is the flood of artists on it. Makes it super hard for the actually talented artists to be noticed. There’s a lot of diamonds but there’s more dirt.

AAB: An album that will never get old to you?

YH: Graceland – Paul Simone. My pops always had that CD around as a kid and my brothers and I used to listen to it day and night on his CD player.

AAB: Have you ever done any interviews before? If so, how were they different from ours?

YH: I actually have never been contacted to do an interview before so this is my first. So if I ever get big time, I’ll shout y’all out definitely.


AAB: 3 NYC artists we should be on the lookout for?

YH: Me (even though I don’t rap but I’m at artist, lol), Dave east of course, Young MA can Really rap. She has a chance at longevity in this.

AAB: Anything you’re currently working on?

YH: I am working on my 2nd instrumental album entitled the ”Manhattan Chapter’. It’s a compilation of instrumentals I’ve started since I’ve moved to Manhattan about 3 years ago from Queens. It’s full of inspirations I’ve had since moving out here. It’s going to be a favorite for artists. Something there for everyone.

AAB: Anyone you want to give a shout out to that’s been supporting you since day 1? (Musically or personally)

YH: Of course, I would like to shout out my boy Kyran John aka Tye Black, he probably the reason I’m doing this interview now. He taught me so much when it comes to production. I thank him for it.