Posts Tagged ‘Miss Universe’

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Nilüfer Yanya dwells in life’s absurdities and anxieties. The English singer-songwriter’s ambitious debut album, “Miss Universe”, is based around a loose concept, a faux self-care hotline that promises to cure the pains of existence. Her voice flickers with controlled chaos, a glimmering falsetto in one breath and a rich rumble in the next. Shining synths give way to buoyant guitar fuzz, a la the Strokes. On a few tracks, Yanya interjects with the soothing monotone of a call specialist, emphasizing her striking power upon returning to the regularly scheduled programming.

London singer-songwriter Nilufer Yanya released her debut single Small Crimes back in 2016. Inspired by the actions of a petty thief, it is a haunting but simple tale that showcases Yanya’s lyrical talents, influenced by the likes of Nina Simone and Jeff Buckley as well as Connan Mockasin. Keep On Calling is similar in style to Small Crimes, Yanya’s vocals accompanied only by carefully picked guitar. Soon though, she adds another string to her bow, as the song transforms itself into a quasi-R&B number with only a few handclaps and a slight tonal shift. It’s still minimalist, but Yanya shows that you can do a lot with a little.

“Keep On Calling” by Nilüfer Yanya released on Blue Flowers Music

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At 18, Nilüfer – who is of Turkish – Irish – Bajan heritage – uploaded a few demo’s to SoundCloud. Though she’s preternaturally shy, her music – which uniquely blends elements of soul and jazz into intimate pop songs with electronic flourishes and a newly expressed grungy guitar sound – isn’t. And it didn’t take long for it to catch people’s attention. She signed with independent New York label ATO Records, following three EPs on esteemed london indie label Blue Flowers, and earned a place on the BBC Sound of 2018 longlist.

She has also supported the likes of The xx, Interpol, Broken Social Scene and Mitski on tour. Now, Nilüfer releases her debut album, “Miss Universe”. Though she recorded much of it in the same remote Cornwall studio she used to jam in as a much younger person, it is bigger and more ambitious than anything she has done before. Angels, with its muted, harmonic riffs, channels ideas “of paranoid thoughts and anxiety” – a theme that runs through the album, not least in its conceptual spoken word interludes which emanate from a fictional health management company WWAY HEALT H TM. “You sign up, and you pay a fee,” explains Nilüfer of the automated messages, which are littered through the album and are narrated by the titular Miss Universe. “They sort out all of your dietary requirements, and then they move onto medication, and then maybe you can get a better organ or something… and then suddenly it starts to get a bit weird. You’re giving them more of you and to what end?

Nilüfer Yanya performs “In Your Head” on Later… with Jools Holland, BBC Two

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A remixed and pumped-up version of ‘Heat Rises’ from Yanya’s superb debut LP Miss Universe results in ‘H34T Rises’. Not that we needed convincing on the original cut but this new edit gives the track a beefier, more electro driven feel. Peep the video shot in Istanbul too.

She emerged in May 2016 with an elegant take on the Pixies “Hey” and followed it up with two stunning songs of her own, “Small Crimes” and “Keep On Calling”. In the space of three songs she outlined her aesthetic – sparseness, deftly intricate guitar and vocal melodies and brilliantly observational lyrics.

Yanya cites Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley and Connan Mockasin amongst her influences She grew up in West London and her parents are both artists, coming from a multi-cultural heritage of Turkish, Irish and Bayan. Yanya started learning the piano at the age of six but at twelve realised a long held ambition to learn the guitar. Her Mother encouraged her to take up the cello at the same time, which Yanya persevered with for a few years, but the practical issues of carrying it, coupled with her emotional attachment to the guitar led her away from classical music.

Inspired by her sister’s CD collection, in her early and mid-teens Yanya developed a taste for skater-rock and indie bands but discovering a passion for Jazz was the eureka moment, the trigger for the type of expression she was looking for as a songwriter. After taking her A Levels Yanya got a scholarship, started performing her songs and now, is one of the most exciting new talents around.

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The twenty-four-year-old London-based musician created a self-care protagonist named “Miss Universe,” the voice of the (fictional) organization We Worry About Your Health (WWAY Health). The 24/7 care program “worries about you so you don’t have to,” as she puts it, subduing symptoms of paranoia, anxiety, and all-around unhappiness.

The storyline that surrounds her zapping, intricate rock songs questions the commodification of mental upkeep. “They’re saying they care, but they don’t really care, and they’re just trying to sell you things that you don’t need,” she tells me.

We have been anticipating the debut album from British singer songwriter Nilüfer Yanya since 2016, when she first made a splash with the idiosyncratic singles “Small Crimes” and “Keep on Calling.” The debut album “Miss Universe” delivers on the promise made by those early releases, with 17 tracks of bright, soulful pop that’s like nothing else you’ll hear this year.

One of the album’s most raw, subdued tracks, “Monsters Under the Bed,” self-awareness and the perceptions of other people butt heads. “They all think I’m not okay / Such a shame, never felt so good,” she sings. Yanya tells me that’s the oldest song on the record. “I don’t know how it ended up on the album. It makes sense, but I didn’t plan to [include it]. I was a different person when I wrote it, and it’s kind of crazy it’s on there. I like that, as well—that the younger me is on the album.” She explains how it was revised for a documentary her sister was making about their grandmother who suffered from mental illness. “I wrote it from her perspective, or was trying to write it with her mind,” Yanya says.

Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album, Miss Universe, is out March 22.

Though she’d been writing songs in her head since she was six, and on the guitar since she was 12, it took a long time for Nilüfer Yanya to work up the courage to show anyone her music. “I knew I wanted to sing, but the idea of actually having to do it was really horrifying,” says the 23-year-old. When she was finally persuaded to do so, by a music teacher in West London where she grew up, she says “it was horrible. I loved it”.

At 18, Nilüfer – who is of Turkish-Irish-Bajan heritage – uploaded a few demos to SoundCloud. Though she’s preternaturally shy, her music – which uniquely blends elements of soul and jazz into intimate pop songs with electronic flourishes and a newly expressed grungy guitar sound – isn’t. And it didn’t take long for it to catch people’s attention. She signed with independent New York label ATO, following three EPs on esteemed london indie label Blue Flowers, and earned a place on the BBC Sound of 2018 longlist. She also supported the likes of The xx, Interpol, Broken Social Scene and Mitski on tour.

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Now, Nilüfer is ready to release her debut album, Miss Universe. Though she recorded much of it in the same remote Cornwall studio she used to jam in as a much younger person, it is bigger and more ambitious than anything she has done before. ‘Angels’, with its muted, harmonic riffs, channels ideas “of paranoid thoughts and anxiety” – a theme that runs through the album, not least in its conceptual spoken word interludes which emanate from a fictional health management company WWAY HEALTH TM. “You sign up, and you pay a fee,” explains Nilüfer of the automated messages, which are littered through the album and are narrated by the titular Miss Universe. “They sort out all of your dietary requirements, and then they move onto medication, and then maybe you can get a better organ or something… and then suddenly it starts to get a bit weird. You’re giving them more of you and to what end?”

Releases March 22nd, 2019
Nilüfer Yanya - Miss Universe

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23-year-old Londoner Nilüfer Yanya has made waves with her eccentric, indie-rock-tinged soul and pop. Her debut album, Miss Universe, will drop on March 22nd via ATO Records, and it’s filled with hard-hitting, glistening pop songs with a mature and one-of-a-kind artistic vision (the album is interwoven with spoken-word interludes from a fictional medical company, her frantic new single, “In Your Head,” was among our list of Best Songs of January for her sassy vocals, glittery synths and driving indie-rock riffs. Other standouts include the headbanging “Heavyweight Champion of the World” with its wonderfully bare guitar plucks, charming vocal flutters and punchy melodies as well as the electro-rock stunner “Paralysed.”

Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album, Miss Universe, is out March 22.

ATO Records is thrilled to announce Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album “Miss Universe”, due out March 22nd. Nilufer uniquely blends elements of soul and jazz into intimate pop songs with electronic flourishes and a newly expressed grungy guitar sound. Miss Universe was largely recorded in the same remote Penzance studio she used to jam in with her uncle Joe – a former musician himself – and features co-productions with both her former school guitar teacher The Invisible’s Dave Okumu and her live bandmates Jazzi Bobbi and Luke Bower, as well as producers John Congleton and others.

2019 is starting in whirlwind fashion with Nilufer touring throughout February with Sharon Van Etten across North America.