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"It’s hard to put into words but knowing I can be an inspiration for others".

Posted: November 15, 2023
Influencer - In modern use, the noun typically refers to the power to change or affect someone or something—especially the power to cause changes without directly forcing those changes to happen. Influence can also refer to a person or thing that affects someone or something in an important way.

Cover photo by: Ralph Chuck Photo

As I started writing about this topic, I thought how meaningful someone must be to add them to a list of accomplishments. Even reference to your inspirations, can define how you are viewed by the public or private entities. The course of your professional career can be affected. An influencer has the power to cause change directly or indirectly. Socially, many organizations or brands rely upon the promotional aspect from an influencer. Creating a bio that is befitting of an artist that is developing a career is more than a name drop. There must be an indication that someone or something has had a profound effect on your decisions. The implication of an influencer is substantial.

Review the bio of our guest today. Her name is Yasi Hofer. Does she need a bio of accomplishments to identify her level of talent? Not by any means. However, it was important to Guitar Thrills Magazine, that she referred to a long-time music influencer and guitarist Steve Vai. It says a lot about her style of play, and the longevity of her music career.  To be “influenced” or “inspired by” someone is more than a mere reflection of achievements. A decision is made, that you are going to emulate a pattern or style of a person or thing, that has impacted your perception of reality.

For Yasi Hofer, it was life changing. 

ABOUT YASI HOFER

Born in October 1992, Yasi was living the normal childhood life, playing soccer and the violin while growing up. At the age of 12 she decided that the electric guitar would be what she wanted to conquer next. A few months after she started learning the instrument her guitar teacher introduced her to Steve Vai. A whole new world opened to Yasi. Inspired by her new and only Idol she started learning Steve Vai songs, quit all her other activities, and sat in her room no less than 10 hours a day, practicing. Life now was all about music. Uploading her attempts to master Vai’s music on YouTube brought her millions of clicks and Steve Vai’s attention. He would watch all her videos and follow her progress.

In 2007 Steve invited Yasi to join him on Stage in her hometown Ulm, to play his Song “Answers”. That appearance was a big success and the day after, Yasi was headlined in all local newspapers and her name was in the mouth of all musicians in town and even all over the world. Because of that, a small local based music label enabled Yasi, to write and record her first EP. Now, sure of the fact that she wanted to become a musician, she quit school at the age of 15 and got the chance to study music at the “Musikhochschule Stuttgart”. After 3 Semester there, she applied and won a scholarship for the world famous “Berklee College of Music” in Boston.  Being abroad, studying with the best, her days consisted of studying literally 24 hours a day.

Coming back to Germany, she released her Debut Album called "Yasi" in 2014. 3-time Grammy Nominee Philip Bynoe and German Bass Legend Hellmut Hattler appear on the CD as well as other great musicians from Berklee College of Music.

Her CD-release concert was celebrated by 600 Fans in the "Roxy" Concert Hall in her hometown in Ulm.

Now, promoting her music, Yasi is touring constantly with her band and sharing the Stage with many artists including UFO, Chris Thompson, Steve Vai, Savoy Brown, Hellmut Hattler, Gil Ofarim and Neil Young.

2016 Yasi has finished her new Album "Faith" including music greats like Marco Minnemann and Hellmut Hattler. She'll be touring through Europe presenting her new music.

2019 her already third album is on the market called Freedom. She'll be touring Europe with the new music all through the year.

INTERVIEW WITH YASI HOFER AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Hello Yasi. In-line with the theme and topic of this interview, we were inspired by your bio. I have read many bios that consist of name dropping and referencing styles that were inspired by a famous musician or artist. Some even had significant interaction with their inspirations. We interviewed Steve Vai for the month of October. He is a guitar influencer and inspiration. I don’t think they get any better than Steve Vai. However, you have worked with him, and it has impacted your professional career. When did you recognize that Steve Vai was a guitarist you were going to pattern your career after?

Yasi: I first heard of Steve Vai when I was just starting to play the guitar. I walked into my guitar lesson and my teacher had a DVD on his laptop and it played Steve’s Live at the Astoria London concert. The song that was on at that moment was „Whispering a prayer “. I was blown away seeing and hearing this and until then I had no idea a guitar could be played in ways like that.

Guitar Thrills: What was your initial response hearing Steve Vai at such a young age?

Yasi: It changed my view on music and the electric guitar. Before that it was stuff like „Eye of the tiger “„stairway to heaven “or any kind of song where the guitar was the rhythm instrument and interacting as a guitar solo here and then. But having a whole song, the melody played and dominated by a guitar and especially in that tenuously virtuoso way was new to me and blew my mind. Right after seeing Steve, I knew that I wanted to be able to play just like him. It inspired me to sit down 10 hours plus every day and try to figure out to play his music.

Guitar Thrills: You mentioned that you listened to his music frequently. What stood out to you, that changed how you viewed your future as a guitarist?

Yasi: I love his quirky way of playing the guitar and writing songs. I guess that has to do with his inspiration from Frank Zappa. With Steve’s music you never know what to expect in a certain part of a song and it keeps it exciting and fresh. I always try taking that to mind when writing songs or even just riffs, I want them to sound great, unexpected, and look cool as that is what an audience gets to enjoy as well.

Also, he has a talent for writing heart wrenching, beautiful and emotional melodies. I try to always find melody’s where I feel like I put my full heart into it. My song „freedom “is a result where I feel like in that way, I have done my best so far. I am proud of this melody.

Guitar Thrills: You had an opportunity to share the same stage as Steve Vai. What was that like for you? How did it come about?

Yasi: I reached out to Steve as a young kid and surprisingly got a handwritten letter back by Steve himself. After that first contact, I started sending him my videos of trying to play his music. He was always so kind to give me feedback on what to do better, what to work on and all that. So, we kind of just kept in touch. One day I got an email form him asking if I wanted to come on stage to his show in my hometown in Ulm and play a song with him. I couldn’t believe it to be true and made sure to check back if that was serious. He confirmed and wanted me to learn his song „Answers “which I did. On the day of the show, I went to soundcheck to play the song with him once and my hands were shaking throughout the whole song that’s how nervous I was.

When it was time to go on stage during the show it all turned black for me, and I have no memory of how it felt. I was all in the moment, in the zone, so to say and just enjoyed every second. It was also the first time for me to play in front of an audience. It was a life changing experience and looking back at the video I still wonder how I was able to play all this stuff back then as a 14-year-old girl.

Now, whenever he comes to Germany, he mostly invites me to come join him on stage to jam and I love it every time. I feel like I can learn from him every single time and the energy we have on stage is magical.

Guitar Thrills: Needless to say, choosing the right artist as an influencer is critical. It is more than a passing influence. In your case it was life changing. I want to congratulate you on your continued success.

Guitar Thrills: How will you use what you have learned from your inspirations to further your accomplishments in the music industry?

Yasi: To be open minded and have a positive few on everything. The music industry is changing so quickly, especially over the last three years and even I feel like it’s getting difficult to catch up. It’s important to be on social media and create good and inspiring content and be able to promote your music and playing in a healthy way. Meaning not to seem like you are just interested in selling your music but in being an inspiration to other and interact with fans and other musicians and expand your own little universe.

Guitar Thrills: I would like to focus on you as well. Have you received feedback on guitarists that you had a direct impact on? If so, how did it make you feel?

Yasi: Oh yes. It’s hard to put into words but knowing I can be an inspiration for others, especially young girls that start to pick up the guitar means the world to me. I am grateful I got to choose this path and I want to give it on to everyone, that music is beautiful and life enriching in so many ways. It’s a universal language that we all get to speak, understand, and exchange.

If in what every way someone decides to pick up a guitar because of my it’s a real blessing. To me it’s important to spread joy through my music and playing and by that hopefully inspire others.

Guitar Thrills: There is no doubt, that you will continue to be an inspiration for up-and-coming artists.

Guitar Thrills: What kind of projects are you currently working on?

Yasi: I just got back home from a 9-month long tour with Germanys most successful artist. That was a lot of fun. Now I am playing shows with my band promoting my new album „ Between the Lines “that came out in February. By the end of the year, I will take a little break before I hide back into my studio to write new music and continue playing lots of shows with my trio. Next to that I am working on new music videos to go along with my album and think about new ways to be more active on YouTube.

Guitar Thrills: You have toured through Europe in 2019. Do you have any plans to tour the U.S.? If so, where can your fans view where you plan on performing?

Yasi: I would love to come and tour the US but unfortunately now we are missing the right people to get us over there. We have a booking agency here in Germany but not for US soil. So, if anyone can help us get over the pond, we’d be there 🙂

Guitar Thrills: Tell us a little bit about your choice in guitar brands. Is there a particular brand that is your “go to” for all projects, or is there a different one depending upon where you perform?

Yasi: I am playing Ibanez guitars. My main go to guitar that I can and do use for all kinds of Bands and projects is my black Ibanez AZ 2204N. It’s Strat kind of guitar and a perfect workhorse in sound and playability. I also play 7 string guitars for some of my music and an RG with a slicker neck for a few of my slinkier shred songs.  For myself I just bought a beautiful old Fender Telecaster that now is my holy grail at home when I just sit down to practice and enjoy playing.

Guitar Thrills: Excellent. It has been a pleasure to speak with you regarding such an important topic. I know this is the first time we have interviewed you, and certainly hope for more opportunities. Will you keep us in the loop on your accomplishments?

Yasi: Thank you so much for reaching out. It’s been a pleasure, and I would love to keep in touch in what’s to come.

Guitar Thrills: Awesome. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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