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When Inspiration Strikes: Jess Yaffa

Zarina Levitsky

The sheer curtains effortlessly dance in the air as the breeze swirls into the room, the stars twinkling faintly in the distance. At late hours of the night, when she is the only one awake, inspiration strikes Jess Yaffa. She lays on her bed, the whistling wind music to her ears, and lyrics begin to take form. The wind reminds her of the road trip she took the summer she fell in love. The dancing curtains transform to become the swirling skirts of her friends getting dressed up for prom. Inspiration comes when no one is looking, but rather feeling. Jess writes about the ups-and-downs in her relationships and the difficulties of the transition between high-school and college. She uses writing as a way to power through how she was feeling in that moment - almost as a form of therapy. The act of doing so, to her, is relatable, organic, and deep.

This is what Jess Yaffa’s music is like. As the up-and-coming singer and songwriter writes from her own life experiences, Jess Yaffa captures the most intimate and relatable moments of adulting. Getting inspiration from the world around her and her loved ones. Jess Yaffa grew up in the suburbs of New York City where she has been singing and performing since the day her pacifier came off. Being raised in a house where music was deeply appreciated and learning it was encouraged, Jess Yaffa bloomed as an artist. A little later in life, sometime in her teen years, she taught herself how to play the piano, ukulele, and the bass to be able to accompany her singing. A young girl peers down at the black and white keys of a piano with a sense of determination. Her legs firmly planted on the ground beneath her, she begins to play the opening notes of her favorite song, softly singing along. Completely focused, her confident voice resonates throughout the room as her long fingers hit the keys as if muscle memory. After the girl spent weeks tirelessly teaching herself this song, she performs for her parents, who watch her from the doorframe. As she successfully finishes the song, she looks up with her big eyes and a bright smile of gleeful relief at her clapping parents, who are beaming with pride at their talented daughter, celebrating one of many musical accomplishments.

Today, Jess Yaffa is a student at University of Michigan and continues to release original songs which are available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. She also recently performed the National Anthem at a Mets game. That’s something to cross off the bucket list!

One piece of advice that she shared with me to all the up-and-coming artists is this: “The bottom line is to be yourself and work hard. This is a very difficult path to take and people will tell you to quit, but as long as you make music that feels good for you, that is all that matters.” Jess Yaffa will be performing her original songs and some covers at Berkshire Busk! on August 14th!


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