Beginning in 2016, mercurial British singer/songwriter Nilüfer Yanya rode a series of soulful guitar-based indie pop EPs and singles like "Small Crimes" and "Baby Luv" to widespread critical acclaim in advance of her 2019 full-length debut, Miss Universe. A West London native, Yanya played classical piano in secondary school, later developing a love for electric guitar, spurred on by her guitar teacher, Dave Okumu of the Invisible. Her early inspirations included bands like Pixies and the Cure. As she continued writing songs, a more soulful element evolved thanks to the influence of artists like Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone. After several years of hitting London's small stages and open mikes, Yanya broke through with her acclaimed 2016 EP, Small Crimes, which introduced fans to her mix of dark guitar pop with jazzy undertones and plenty of ethereal moodiness. Subsequent EPs Plant Feed (2017) and Do You Like Pain? (2018) yielded widely streamed singles like "Baby Luv" and "The Florist," firmly establishing Yanya as a rising star in the U.K. indie world. She struck a deal with Universal-owned ATO Records and made her full-length debut in early 2019 with Miss Universe, a mysterious semi-conceptual album tied together by oblique snippets promoting a fake self-care program called WWAY Health. Yanya's fourth EP, Feeling Lucky?, appeared in 2020.
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
© Timothy Monger /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 2019 | ATO Records
Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Qobuzissime
Witness a masterpiece coming from a young London native who says she learned the guitar by copying songs from the Libertines.. At home, her Dad would listen to Turkish folk, while Mum would listen to classical music, Simon & Garfunkel and Cat Stevens. For her own personal Holy Trinity, Nilüfer Yanya has chosen Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and the Pixies. What a treat! Nilüfer Yanya’s music is turning rock and soul into the sublime with raw energy and impudence. Miss Universe, her first album, relies on the elegant fusion of her influences: a blend of the records she listened throughout the years. Even the album’s structure is perfect with infectious hits made up of catchy choruses (In Your Head), sensitive but not overly sentimental ballads (Monsters Under the Bed), experimental pop (Paradise), minimalist R&B (Safety Net) and a thousand other delights. Above all, there is a freshness that refuses to conform to the confines of modern-day rock and pop. With this much musical charisma, this wide a vocal spectrum and such maturity of writing at only 23 years old, Nilüfer Yanya is well worth a Qobuzissme! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz