Growing up in Durham, North Carolina, YahZarah (whose name loosely means "Queen Mother is the brightest star", a tribute to her deceased grandmother from Ghana) was greatly influenced as a child by artists like Tina Turner, Prince, Chaka Khan, George Clinton, and Minnie Riperton, as well as the music of the church. She studied music at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and attended North Carolina Central University on a full scholarship in the jazz program. Her break into the industry was singing back-up vocals for Erykah Badu, on the Mama's Gun album and tour.
Later, Williams took on the YahZarah moniker and went solo. She released two albums, Hear Me and Blackstar. Her music video "Wishing" was shown on BET.Blackstar reached number 44 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. As a performer, YahZarah has shared the stage with artists including Stevie Wonder and Anita Baker, and has opened shows for others, including Earth, Wind & Fire, Musiq Soulchild, Floetry, Rahsaan Patterson, and R. Kelly.