Yohani Diloka De Silva (born 30 July 1993) better known by her stage name Yohani is a Sri Lankan singer, songwriter, rapper, music producer, and businesswoman. Born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Yohani started her music career as a YouTuber. She soon gained recognition for her rap cover of ‘Deviyange Bare’ and released many covers of her singing and rapping which have earned her the title “Rap Princess” of Sri Lanka. She was then discovered by Sri Lankan record label Pettah Effect, which led to many singing collaborations. She recorded Pop Hits (Ultimate MashUp Cover) with them, which led to greater success and won the ‘best video remake’ award at Raigam SOME awards. She went on to perform live with the legends Bathiya n Santhush (BnS), at the Red Bull Presents concert which established her status as a performing artist in the music industry.
Her debut single “Aaye” was produced by her in her own home studio in 2020. Lyrics were written by Dilanjan Seneviratne and this song is about how she came to the music industry.
Early Life and Career
Yohani Diloka De Silva was born on July 30, 1993 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is the daughter of war veteran, ex-Army officer, Major general Prasanna De Silva, Major General (abbreviated Maj Gen) is a senior rank in the Sri Lanka Army, a direct equivalent of the British Armed Forces of major general, the third-highest active rank of the Sri Lanka Army; and his wife Dinithi De Silva who is an ex airhostess at SriLankan Airlines. Yohani has one younger sister, Shavindri De Silva, who is currently studying medicine to pursue her passion as a doctor. Due to their father’s military position, both girls grew up in various places including Colombo District, different bases in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Bangladesh. During the prime age of schooling, they both grew up and schooled together in Colombo District. Yohani’s childhood was unlike that of her peers, as it was at the height of Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war, where her father was at the forefront. Although her mother was valiantly present each step of the way, the daughters lived each day not knowing whether they would see their father the next. Yohani’s interest and practice in music started early on in life, and it was her mother who identified her keenness and prompted her to pursue this passion at a young age. She was also heavily involved in sports, as a celebrated swimmer and water polo player at Visakha Vidyalaya; eventually leading to her becoming a school colours holder. Her years in the United Kingdom right after school helped broaden her horizons of the world as well as music. Yohani completed her higher education in Logistics Management and Professional Accounting prior to pursuing her career in music as an artist.
Yohani’s primary and secondary education took place at Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo 5, where she finally completed her Ordinary Level examinations in 2009. She completed her Advance Level examinations overseas in the United Kingdom, from 6th form at Hatch End High School, in London from 2010 to 2012.
Prior to her music career, Yohani’s interests were in the area of Logistics Management. Her choice of University for Tertiary Education had influence from her father’s career, as she selected the only General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Logistics in 2015, with a Second Class Upper, from General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka. Post her undergraduate degree, she started an internship at CMA CGM. In that same year of 2015, she met Dilanjan, the co-founder of Theewra and Pettah Effect. In early 2016 she started working as a manager of supply chain at Accolade, an FRP Technologies vehicle parts manufacturing company. In March 2016, with Dilanjan’s assistance, Yohani created her Youtube Channel; debuting with a cover – satellite/ stealing time by Above and Beyond.
It is at this point that Yohani felt a further need to pursue her higher education. She then flew to Australia in 2017 to enroll in a Master’s degree|Master’s Degree in Professional Accounting, where she graduated with a first-class, from Central Queensland University, in Melbourne, Australia. During her time in Australia, she continued doing music covers amidst a challenging university schedule. It is during this time that her cover of ‘Deviyange Bare’ by Drill Team went viral on social media. This led to her being invited to perform at a reception, which was followed by an invitation to sing at ‘Nadeeka and Nadeeka’ concert in Melbourne. Yohani traveled around Australia during 2017 and 2018 and gained inspiration from the music of Monolink, Rüfüs Du Sol|Rufus Du Sol, Ziggy Alberts and Nora En Pure. Finally, she had a decision to make, either settle down in Australia to pursue a career in accounting or fly back to Sri Lanka and immerse herself in music; history stands testament to the choice she ended up making.
Yohani’s early influences in music were diverse and had a tendency to change with travel. Her exposure began early on through Bee Gees, Spice Girls, Engelbert Humperdinck (singer) and Elton John, by her parents who were ardent fans of the Artists. This was followed by more influence through peers and school exposure; including Avenged Sevenfold, Breaking Benjamin, 3 Doors Down Bullet for My Valentine, Panic! at the Disco and System of a Down. Music in her late teenage years and early adulthood were heavily influenced by Portishead (band), Zero 7, Eminem, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys.
Yohani’s music career took center stage upon her return to Sri Lanka in March 2019. She joined Pettah effect, a record label that was co-founded by Dilanjan, and had much young talent running the show. The first concert performance “Rendezvous” came soon after, in June 2019. Yohani’s holistic performance and her natural affinity to public appearances landed her first Pub engagement the very next month, in July 2019. This took place at Hilton’s Basico, together with Sheran, the lead guitarist of band lunu’. Another performance was followed immediately after at Cinnamon Lakeside’s Colombar. This led to several individual invitations to perform at private and public gatherings, setting momentum to the popularity that was yet to come.
Apart from the public venues, Yohani kept true to her very first medium of performing; Youtube covers. She did several more covers in mid 2019, during the time of her onstage performances, some of which were with the band ‘lunu’. One cover that stood out was “Pana Senehas” by Dushyanth Weeraman, which garnered significant traction. The immense popularity of these covers led to her performing them live, together with ‘lunu’ at her second concert – ‘On the Rocks’.
The next break came through Red Bull Sri Lanka, through the event ‘Red Bull Presents’. Yohani was one out of nine artists selected to perform alongside big names in the Sri Lankan music industry; including Bathiya and Santhush (BnS), Lahiru Perera and Rakitha (Nadro). The selected artists were also given the opportunity to create a cover of their choice, and Yohani’s choice was “Pop Hits Mash-Up”. This cover went on to reach a staggering 10 million views, and this was a turning point in her career as it was the first true break into the Sri Lankan Market.
In February 2020, Prima Kottu Mee signed Yohani as their Brand Ambassador for two years, which stands to be one of her first-ever significant brand endorsements. This month was one of the truly eventful months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic-related lockdowns; as she went on her first tour to Dubai with Lunu for “Yohani Live in Dubai”. In March 2020, she went on a tour to London, signifying a vastly different position to her school days in Britain to be sure. This tour was with Lahiru Perera for the Ridma Rathriya Dinner Dance, organized by the Laksith Welfare Foundation.
The pandemic saw a drastic decline in public performances owing to obvious reasons, but Yohani continued to virtually entertain her fans throughout the government-imposed lockdowns. Post the first wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, the first ‘Drive –in concert was produced by Showtown Entertainment together with the help of the Secretary of Defence and Tri-Forces. This Drive-in concert made history as it was the first of its kind in Asia, and 10th worldwide. Yohani shared the stage with magnanimous artists such as Bathiya and Santhush (BNS), Umaria Sinhawansa, Bathiya Jayakody, Santhush Weeraman, Anushka Udana, and Wasthi Productions “වස්ති”. This concert was conducted adhering to strict health and security guidelines, as an initiative aimed at re-activating the entertainment industry post lockdown; its success garnered international attention. Interestingly all proceeds from the concert were donated to the “ITUKAMA” COVID-19 healthcare and social security fund.
In the months that followed, Yohani got signed by Red Bull Records for a single, and her debut single ‘Aaye’ premiered in August 2020. An unexpected twist for her fan base, Aaye dove deep into her personal journey; her experience in the industry and the public eye. The latter part of 2020 saw Yohani reviving the nation with her stunning singles. The second such being ‘Sitha Dawuna’; a collaboration with Chamath Sangeeth in September 2020. Third being a song that reverberated a wave of emotion through the citizens who endured a 30-year war in the island, especially those connected to the military personnel that fought in the front lines. ‘Rawwath Dasin’ was a tribute to Yohani’s father, a collaboration with Chanuka Mora that debuted in December 2020. This was immediately followed by her first English original ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ which premiered 21st December 2020.
As of 2021 Yohani, is not yet married and is currently single.
Yohani’s net worth as of 2021 is estimated at around $750, 000 (net worth estimated in 2021).
- Ref: Wikitia, Google, Instagram