Sisters and DJs Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf, otherwise known as Krewella, took the EDM world by storm in June 2012. Known for their top hit Alive which topped charts all over the world and has over 90 million views on Youtube, the Yousaf sisters share a second-generation immigrant story that many Houstonians can relate to.
In a meet and greet at UH in September, Krewella shared their story and an inside look into their career.
Discovering their passion
Their father migrated from Pakistan to attend the University of Texas at Austin, and eventually had Jahan and Yasmine who grew up in Illinois.
About a decade ago, they discovered their passion for music. The sisters grew up in a very musically inclined family, and they realized after performing EDM at clubs and parties that performing would always be the best part of their career.
The Yousaf parents were a little concerned at first with the career choice that the sisters made. After they started making headway though, their father, or “Abu” slowly became their number one fan. Their mother, a graphic designer, was also very supportive.
“It thankfully worked out for us,” said Yasmine. “But if it hadn’t, I really don’t know what would have happened, but we got really lucky.”
Looking to their heritage for inspiration
One of the biggest sources of inspiration has been their Pakistani heritage. Jahan said that for a while she felt really disconnected from her culture, but now she uses Krewella as a vehicle for her to explore her roots.
They often look to Pakistani, Punjabi and Bollywood music as a source for new instruments to include in the mechanical and synthesized sounds they work to produce.
Krewella most recently collaborated with Indian producer “Nucleya” on a single called “Good on You”- which perfectly describes the type of cultural integration the sisters spoke about.
Advice for aspiring artists
Along the lines of looking for inspiration, Krewella gave some advice for any rising DJ’s or artists. They asked for individuals to listen to the sounds that move you, and try to identify why you feel the way you do when you listen to the music your favorite artists create.
“I love taking the time to find what inspires you,” said Jahan. “Who are the artists whose sounds you love? Whose percussion do you love? Who are the artists that make you cry?”
Photo courtesy of Krewella