gigmit: Hi Youceff aka YUS! What do you miss most about in-person performances?
YUS: I miss listening to my music on amazing sound systems, haha. I love feeling the bass from club subwoofers. I also miss meeting other artists and meeting fans after the shows.
How are you occupying yourself during the lockdown?
I’m working on releasing my next album. I’m also reading the Bible more, and connecting with the Lord as often as possible.
What is YUS about?
I have been releasing music for over 10 years. My main instrument is my voice, but I make my own beats (up til now at least haha). I try to talk about real things in my lyrics, and I feel like listening to my music has a healing quality to it that I really like.
How did you get into music?
My father signed me up for violin lessons when I was a kid, but I didn’t enjoy that and wanted to play soccer instead. My mom eventually got my sister a piano and piano lessons, and so I would play on her piano when she wasn’t using it, and we even learned a few covers together. When I was 14, we moved to the United States. My neighbour was a burgeoning rapper, and he made his own beats on Fruity Loops Studio. He showed me the ropes, and I started making my own beats after that. My main inspirations were Kanye West and RJD2.
Can you describe your sound, please?
It’s really hard to do that because every song is very different. Some songs are more electro, and others have an island vibe to them. My grandmother was from Puerto Rico, and I feel like that really influences my sound. That’s what my third album is named after. I also think there is a hidden Gospel side to my sound, though I don’t speak directly about Christ or the Lord. I think it’s that hope that’s built-in there. I’ve gone through a lot in my life, and I’m still making music, so, I’m really thankful for that, and I wanna give back. I want people to know it’s never too late to do what they want to do or be who they want to be. But at the same time, it’s not easy, but there’s a way.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I live off of inspiration. When I hear music I really like, or my friends visit me, that’s when the juices start flowing. Lately, I’ve been making little mixes that I sing on top of. It’s great because I don’t have to worry so much about performance, and I still get to express myself freely.
What is the album that changed everything?
I was going to list the RJD2 album that got me into music, but I would say the one album that changed absolutely everything for me is Jesus Is King by Kanye West. I think for a man of his stature, his influence, to risk his entire career on a true Gospel album, to turn millions to the Word of God, I really think that album changed everything for me, and for millions of others.
“If you believe in yourself there’s really nothing that can stop you!”
What’s your view of the music industry today?
I think the industry is going through a massive change at the moment, and it’s amazing to see. A lot of artists are believing in their music, their vision. They’re collaborating with others, bringing fans together, and seeing their dreams come true. They’re inspiring the younger generations to do the same, and it’s great to see. The only downside to that is that with success comes arrogance, and arrogance can be blinding. A lot of younger artists are ignoring the voices of the older artists, whereas, everyone has something important to say, and everyone should be listened to.
How do you think the music industry will change after the pandemic?
I’m not sure. I think perhaps more concerts will be outdoors. I also think people will appreciate the music more, or at least I hope so. A lot of people go to shows but don’t care about the music, and ruin it for others by talking while the artists are performing, or not dancing when the music is calling for it.
What advice would you give an aspiring musician?
I would say, just to believe in yourself, no matter what. I know it’s what everyone says, but, I used to dismiss it sometimes, and I won’t lie, there were times when I didn’t believe in myself. However, those times made me realize the importance and power of believing in yourself. Because when you do, there’s really nothing that can stop you.
Thanks for talking with us, Youceff!
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