Release Date: Mar 22, 2019
Record label: ATO
"We are here for you. We care for you. We worry about you. So you don't have to", she explains as your introduction to "WWAY HEALTH" begins. But something's wrong. Her voice keeps clipping. She sometimes slips in odd and worrying phrases, going at such a speed it's near impossible to parse what you ….
Nilüfer Yanya has slowly been building a name for herself as a young songwriter with an alluringly affecting voice, yet her output prior to this first album has seemed somewhat erratic. She has been described as a post-R'n'B singer by some, a jazz-pop songstress by others, while early demos for 'Cheap Flights' and 'Waves' on Soundcloud were given the tags of #indie and #alternative. These deviations between genres can often create confusion for a mass audience who, more often than not, seem to pander to the monolithic approach of an artist's 'star persona' which the marketing departments of record labels adhere to, i.e.
In some ways, Nilüfer Yanya's career maps onto that of King Krule: Both young Londoners arrived with stark, bruised elegies led by their electric guitar and urchin cries; both quickly eclipsed their early promise. But where Archy Marshall swerved towards solitary murkiness, Yanya, on her debut album, has shocked her desolate confrontations into some of the most adventurous pop-rock crucibles since Mitski's Puberty 2. They are catalysts for communal outpouring that spark with adrenaline and anxiety, a mixture of the raw and the refined, her guitar fuzz mingling with tinselly synth glitter and the bluesy disaffection of her startling voice.
A full five years since she created buzz with a handful of acoustic demos, the London singer-songwriter has turned in a bloody brilliant collection of eclectic tunes It’s been five years since Nilüfer Yanya uploaded a handful of stunning, sparse acoustic demos to SoundCloud, in which time the 23-year-old has been on a journey to find the exact sound she wants to make. Each EP release has seen Yanya further hone her music, adding in new influences and songwriting tricks. With her first album 'Miss Universe', it feels like she’s finally arrived.
Following three years of peculiar but persistently catchy EPs and critical buzz-building, England's Nilüfer Yanya arrives with Miss Universe, the singer/songwriter's first longform statement. With breakout tracks like 2016's "Keep On Calling" and 2018's "Baby Luv," the West Londoner introduced the bones of her sound, which generally revolve around a quietly smoldering electric guitar part, a handful of beats, and the bluesy, mumbled staccato that marks her unique vocal delivery. Like an urban magpie weaving bits of pop, soul, indie rock, jazz, and hip-hop into her nest, Yanya's artful and often minimalist guitar pop comes from a contemporary place and on Miss Universe, with both pathos and humor, she tackles the overly commercialized industry that has built up around that most fragile of concepts: the self-image.
Nilüfer Yanya's debut starts out ominously. "Thank you for entering your details, and welcome to WWAY HEALTH, our 24/7 care programme," the Londoner states in a creepily polite monotone voice, sounding like an overly familiar bad guy in a dystopian film. Across 'Miss Universe', the voice returns in a host of interludes. Representing the anxiety and paranoia of all-seeing technology, it's a foreboding thread that runs through the record.
T his debut sees a decade of pent-up songwriting spilling out of the hilariously talented 23-year-old Londoner Yanya. There's a faint new wave feel to the gauzy layers of synths draped over some of the material, yet mostly it's her own, stage-toughened sound, deconstructed R&B fighting it out with spiky rock. Baby Blu rides in with rebounding harmonies and a subtle house pulse, Heat Rises sees Frank Ocean moping around to the Cure, and Paradise has a gorgeous sense of space to go with its laid-back swing.