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Was It Good For You: Yasmeena Daya

Presidential: Yasmeena Daya

Continuing the series profiling musical alumni of the University. This week, former Music Society President Yasmeena Daya.


When were you at Kent ?

I was at Kent from September 2007 through to June 2010.

What subject did you study ?

Joint Honours Film and Drama Studies.

What occupation are you now engaged in ?

I have just finished working as an intern for Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (the 4th film in the series). For two and a half months, I worked with both the Locations and Publicity departments. It was such an unbelievable opportunity, I got to work with and meet so many amazing people and they were all so friendly that it was like belonging to a giant filmic family.

Straight afterwards, I landed another job working for a Publicity department, but this time at the Dubai International Film Festival 2010! This was a similarly incredible experience; I managed and handled several projects completely independently- it was stressful and scary but very rewarding.

Both opportunities were immensely enlightening and exciting- within the space of 3 months I had worked on a Paramount film set, walked my first red carpet, met and worked with legendary talent on a daily basis and attended a film festival awards ceremony!

A couple of weeks ago, I auditioned for a role in an upcoming play to be performed in Dubai. I was accepted into the cast and we are currently in the rehearsal process! The date has not been set yet but the performance should be sometime in February.

If music is not your profession, do you participate in any musical experiences now ?

Since leaving University, I’m afraid I have not had the time. But I intend to get into contact with my Dubai-based singing teacher now that I am no longer working the mad hours that I was during M:I 4 and DIFF. I am also always on the look out to join any singing groups in the region and have signed myself up for one that will hopefully get started sometime soon.

How were you involved in music whilst at Kent ?

I was awarded the Music Lesson Scholarship for singing lessons for the three years that I studied at Kent. I also auditioned (and annually re-audiditoned!) for the Chamber Choir. I was lucky enough to go on tour to Paris with the Chamber Choir in my first year- a Chamber Choir year, and trip, that I will never forget. I was also involved in Chorus and in a couple of smaller concerts- lunchtime concerts, scholarship concerts and charity sing-songs. In my third year, I was voted in as Music Society President- a position I was very sad to have to give up at the end of the year!

What did you gain from your University music experience, and has this helped you in any way since leaving Kent ?

I gained so much from my Kent music experience that I don’t know where to begin! I learnt a lot about myself, about how much I am actually capable of doing (a joint honours degree and a lot of extra-curricular musical activity can be immensely time consuming)! And, as a result of this, I learnt that I don’t like having nothing to do; I would rather be running to a rehearsal in the rain or getting ready for a concert in the Cathedral or organising a meeting about hoodies, than sitting around at home.

Of course, most importantly, I gained the ability to continue being musical alongside my undergraduate degree. I did not have to study music to continue singing, something that has been a part of my life since I was nine. I was so relieved to be able to carry on singing and to do so in such a friendly environment.

What was your most memorable musical experience at Kent ?

It is really difficult to pick one. Besides singing at the annual Carol Service held in the beautifully candle-lit Canterbury Cathedral, my most memorable experience would have to be Chamber Choir. I would look forward to every Tuesday night when the Chamber Choir would meet in the awkwardly shaped OTE and rehearse. In fact, wherever and whenever the Chamber Choir would get together, it was always memorable- it is impossible to forget our hilarious and scrumptious picnics!

In addition to all of this, I can’t forget being part of the committee every year, and especially in my final year. It was such a great experience getting to know our amazing 09/10 committee and I especially loved working so closely with the fantastic 09/10 execs; Secretary Suzy and Dan ‘Troy’ The Treasurer.

What would you say to current musical students at the University ? (optional!)

Don’t think twice: just sign-up!

I was really late in auditioning for Chamber Choir and the Scholarship and, out of shyness, I only attended my first Chorus rehearsal because someone else went with me.

In retrospect, I can’t imagine missing out and studying at Kent without being a part of the Music Society. I made so many friends through Music Soc, people I’m still in touch with today, despite how far away Dubai is.

I’m really glad I overcame my initial shyness and just went for it, I guarantee I would have left Kent a much less confident, outgoing, and musical (!) person had I not.

If you’re an alumnis and would like to be featured, get in touch via the Music Department website: we’d love to hear from you!