Yisel (Born Yisel Denís Duque) is a Cuban-american singer-songwriter and producer from Havana, Cuba residing in Miami, Florida since 1988. Yisel pre-released her long awaited debut album “Life Is…” in September 26th, 2014 at her sold out concert in the legendary Jackie Gleson Theater of Miami Beach. Her on-stage performance is an explosion of raw intimacy with very personalized melodies that float over a smooth yet energy-driven soundtrack where Chill-out Lounge, Electronic Music, Soul, R & B and vestiges of World Music come together to form her own very unique concept of “song” and “interpretation”. Her lyrics are bold, edgy, sharp, romantic and vulnerable all at once. She has a rare labyrinth of soothing, intimate, and delicate cadence in her voice that simply grabs you and brings chills up your spine; and at the same time you’ll feel that she is whispering her sundry and powerful voice in your ear. Her debut solo performance was referred to as “the best event to date in The Gleason Room” by the venue managers.
Yisel’s live shows are a conceptual trip mixed with ethereal sounds and a feeling of self-identification that’s different from any other singer…. “I want to invite the audience to an “art venue” as a trans-cultural, social space. I want them to sit back and enjoy a fusion of disciplines that cater to a story being told musically, with projections of unearth visual formats, a quirky set design, spoken prose and improvised motions.” Y.D.
Yisel was born in Havana, Cuba, to Luis H. Duque and Berta Duque. She is the younger of two siblings, Luis J. Duque being her older brother. Yisel was surrounded by music in her native Havana and in her own home, where many local artists would gather for impromptu jam sessions. Inspired by this lush musical landscape, she began singing at the young age of four, and as she grew up, so did her interest and vocation for music. At the age of 12 she was accepted to study classical guitar in Havana’s most popular Art School (ENA). Her studies were cut very short by her family’s imminent emigration.
She lived in Panama throughout her early teenage years during which her music inclination had to be put on hold.
In 1988, her family decided to settle in Miami where she has resided ever since. Soon after her arrival in South Florida, she started frequenting the music scene. She was the youngest singer at “La Peña de la Trova”, a private owned residence in which troubadours would meet to sing and read poetry. A few years later she started college. After 2 attempts to please her parents, first starting a major in Psychology and then finishing a minor in Sound Engineering, she decided it wasn’t too late to focus on her calling and enrolled in the music department of the local college. A great audition got her in one of the top Music schools in the country (University of Miami) with a scholarship. Shortly after, Yisel started working singing at corporate and social events and as a session singer recording jingles for different radio and television shows.
1996 – 2002: Beginnings
After entering the University of Miami School of Music in 1993, to study Jazz Vocal Performance, she was chosen by record producers to sing on various projects for Major labels. Yisel graduated from the UM and joined ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers). Since then, Yisel has been writing professionally and has been affiliated with various publishing companies such as Sony Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing, Musical Productions and Sonolux among others.
2002 – 2003: Yisel started a Jazz group named “Common Time”, inspired by her fusion of influences and desire to bring together different styles. “The band’s main vibe was Jazz but we could jam to a modern version of a bolero or a fun fast tempo samba. It was great fun to make music with the hottest musicians in town and it was great to start seeing my dream come true. I always wanted to bring together cultures under the beautiful umbrella that music offers… hence the name “Common Time”. Y.D.
2003 – 2013: Yisel was leader and background vocalist in world tours including Gloria Estefan’s “Life & Unwrapped”, Chayanne’s “No Hay Imposibles”, etc. She also participated in many record productions and collaborated with a diversity of musicians including the likes of Carole King, Lila Downs, Natalie Cole, Alejandro Sanz, Shakira, Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin and Prince Royce to name a few.