I hide, you seek. Nilüfer Yanya is an artist on the cusp. Hailing from London, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter possesses a poise beyond her years, evident in both her sound and her demeanour. Yanya’s sonic pursuits stem from a creative and nurturing childhood, born into a family of artists (her parents are Ali Yanya and Sandra Daniel), she was encouraged musically from the age of six: “I remember being in our living room and playing around [on the piano], and then … getting piano lessons. I focused on that for a while, and I enjoyed that.” Soon after Yanya began experimenting with vocals alongside her classical piano training. “I knew for a long time. It was a secret idea I had when I was like 10 or something, I was like ‘Yeah, I want to be in a band’.”
“It’s about the perception of reality, and all the things that go on inside your head. Society and the way we’re spoken to and addressed, and told what to do all the time.”
Now that she’s found her voice, Yanya isn’t holding back. Utilising music to tell her story, she pushes the boundaries with raw, evocative track’s that delve into refreshing depth about relationships (both platonic and romantic) and the trials and tribulations we go through with our nearest and dearest. Such authenticity is what Yanya hopes people will connect with from her latest album, Miss Universe, out March 22. “I hope lots of people will feel the way that I feel and they will feel like I get what they’re feeling and they get how I’m feeling. It’s like an understanding”. Taking only a year from inception to mastering, Miss Universe is a testament to Yanya’s work ethic and her drive to create passionate and relatable music that traverses genres including rock, R’n’B and jazz.
“To be honest, if I stopped performing I would miss it, but it’s quite hard sometimes because it’s not like my natural thing to be on stage, so I have to push myself.”
While writing comes naturally for musician, (“I prefer writing. I think that’s my thing, that’s what I want to do, that’s my life”) performing takes a little bit more practice. Not easy to believe after watching her live performances, holding herself with a sense of purpose and confidence on stage that’s both engaging and enchanting. “Performing is one of the things I’ve grown to enjoy … It gives songs another life, another way of telling them”. Yanya is currently touring her debut album Miss Universe across the UK and Europe.
“It kind of gives you that energy and buzz that you need. You’re surrounded constantly by all the trends, all the zeitgeists; you’re up to date.”