I have just come away from interviewing the multi-talented…
production master Jay Picasso: someone who helps nurture young artists and is among the vanguard of studio names that are making big impressions on music. It seems like he and Roxi Yung could work with one another in the future. Her inimitable style and eye-catching fashion seem primed for the mainstream. It is her voice that really gets in the head and contains so much soul, heart and immense passion. A definite character and a D.J.-cum-musician that has clear goals and definite sights: how long before Yung is a big name?! I got a chance to ask her about music and what it means to her; how important Drum and Bass is and what her career goals are. Sit back and gain an insight into a wonderful young talent unlike any other.
Hey Roxi. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m very well thank you; tired and sweaty but that never changes. My week has been hectic and I feel as if there is no time for life but it’s all good.
I know you are moving out of Surrey and migrating to London. What compelled the move and are you looking forward to it?
Yes, I have already moved now and I’m currently living in Brixton in my new place whilst working in Sloane Square at Emma Hope Shoes. Moving to London has always been my goal and now I’ve finally done it; moved to the big-wide, shitty city.
Do you think there are enough opportunities outside of the cities for young artists or is it a struggle to get your voice heard?
Yes, if you are lacking confidence, marketing and the obvious tools to gig with then it is very hard to get your voice heard.
I am lucky because I went from Brockenhurst College; to A.C.M. in Guildford and now I’m in Central London so my networking is probably what helps me out the most. It’s who you know not what you know nowadays.
You seem like a very vibrant and colourful person: someone who embraces life and would have fitted in with the ‘60s Psychedelia movement. Your fashion and style stand out. Is imagery – and standing aside from the crowd – important and do you think there are too many musicians/artists that do stand out?
I think in a world like today where everybody is trying to make it within the creative industry. It’s hard to be unique and original, but if you stay true to what you love and you believe in what you’re doing, then others will do too and you will stand out. I wish I was born in the ‘60s hahaha. Life is too materialistic today I like wearing wacky clothes because I don’t like to conform to society wearing whatever you are ‘told’ to wear: plus, life is more fun when you add some colour! :)
Tell me about your D.J. work. How did you get into that side of music?
I studied Musical Theatre for 2 years at Brockenhurst College in the New Forest because I thought I could gain confidence and further my singing and acting capabilities that way. After realising (that) in the back of class - I always had Drum and Bass playing in my headphones in the middle of a dance class - I realised that I wanted to learn how to actually MAKE the music, and D.J. it etc.
I’m not saying that I can already sing but I’m saying after 2 years of singing warm-ups, exercises and singing as a choir; I wanted to take on some new skills under my belt. I always find myself searching for famous D.J.s on YouTube and just watching through their D.J. set as if I was there with them.
Being on a stage in front of loads of people having a sick night is what I want to be doing. Good vibes and good music.
In terms of your D.J. work: what have been your favourite gigs the past year and which venues do you particularly like to play?
I haven’t actually played much yet because I’m getting over that whole ‘I’m not ready yet’ thing. I played at Notting Hill Arts Club on my birthday and all my mates came and said they had a great night. I just have to get over the fear of playing to complete strangers. Now I’m living in Brixton: what better place than to start actively D.J.-ing here?!
My favourite gigs that I’ve BEEN to have to include Boom Town; O.M.G., Congo Natty was ridiculous and Sam and I loved it so much that he’s just booked tickets to see Natty next month at Electric Brixton (which is now on the same road as my place - get in!). Along with that… every Macky Gee concert I go to is insane and I always enjoy My Nu Leng.
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How do songs come together do you? Are they inspired by any one event (break-ups or personal struggles) and do you have to get into a particular mindset when creating music?
When I’m writing lyrics I understand that I am in the end creating a Drum and Bass or House track; although I try to write lyrics about things I actually care about: not referencing drugs, relationships etc. TOO much just because those are the things that are usually relatable in music. I’m aiming to write lyrics that are catchy but also more meaningful than sex ,drugs and Rock and Roll.
You are, in addition to being a D.J., a singer and musician. Can we expect any new material or solo E.P.s from you in the future perhaps?
Yes! It’s taken ages trying to get everyone together that volunteered to help me prepare my E.P.; especially when you’re working with friends because you forget to be productive and you end up just going to rave rather than working on your own material .
I will have an E.P. coming out soon that I am not putting a specific ‘genre’ on.
I take a lot of inspiration from all Drum and Bass in general plus I loveeeee Bass House 140B.P.M. etc. I like groovy ‘feel-good’ House music; then I also like a little Grime and Hip-Hop so I’m going to add influences from all to try and finish with some music that everyone can get into.
Most of your work takes you into Drum and Bass territory. What is about the genre that inspires you and which artists, either past or present, are especially important to you?
OK… what do I like about Drum and Bass?
I like Drum and Bass because it’s forever growing, forever changing; incorporating different kinds of instruments, emotions and pop culture into it.
You can party to Drum and Bass! You can add a flute or a guitar or some nasty bass-y drums - or some weird synths.
I think at high school, when everyone was listening to whatever was in the top 40 U.K., I got really bored. I started listening to the stuff I wanted to listen to - Flava D, Cause & Affect; Macky Gee, Nero and Dimension. This kind of music gave me a rush like whatever emotion I was feeling, as long as I had this music playing, I could get rid of my mood.
Your vocals are particularly unique and standout. Were there any heroines/heroes that motivated you to become a singer and how much do you have to work on your vocals as an artist?
Thank you! :) So when I was in year 4, I was in hospital for a while because I had an ‘infection on the brain’ apparently. My parents both had to quit work (etc.) to come and spend every night in the hospital with me for a few months. I wasn’t myself for ages: I couldn’t eat, sleep or rid a bike. Gradually, I started getting better. My mum and dad prayed every day and the doctors said their medication wasn’t working but somehow I was beginning to recover. I would say I’m more spiritual than religious but I definitely believe something is watching over me and my family.
(I come off topic very often).
My biggest inspirations (vocals) are Amy Winehouse all the way! Whitney Houston, Etta James; Ella Fitzgerald, Christina Aguilera (I never used to shut up singing Christina Aguilera; my mum used to go mental); Becky Hill, Miley Cyrus (purely because she’s lived her own life and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks); a little bit of Duffy. I usually like listening to jazzy, laid-back (but powerful); soulful, husky voices.
Guys: I loooove George Michael, Phil Collins; Sam Smith and MNEK. Good vibes!
Having provided vocals (this year) to Optikx’s Blue Soul: are you collaborating with anyone else this year and can you give us a sneak-peak into any other songs you will be appearing on?
So, I am collaborating a lot at the moment with Cassi! She’s incredible and it’s soooo refreshing to meet a girl who is not bitchy; not two-faced; genuinely interested in music and her career and can give me real advice and direction.
Plus, we literally agree on everything. If I sing a bad note we will literally look at each other with this weird face and that symbolised that we both knew it sucked.
I’m working with a lot of students from A.C.M. because I loved my time there and I can’t believe it’s over already - I’ve got some awesome friends that that I’m not going to lose touch with.
I got an email the other day from a really huge label that manages some of my favorite artists - I nearly fainted when I saw it.
I’m not telling anyone until something real happens with it, though - I always get my hopes up and then nothing happens with it haha.
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As both a D.J. and artist, you must have goals and ambitions unfulfilled. Moving to London will be a big help but what is there left to tick off on the ‘to-do’ list for you?
What is necessary to begin my journey is basic marketing and promotions, business cards; a lot of gigs -putting myself out there. I need to take every opportunity I can get and accept that every time something goes wrong or could have gone better, it’s just a learning curve.
If you could turn back time and offer your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Don’t follow the crowd: believe in your fucking self not what everyone else wants you to do. Particular members or my family or friends have not always believed that having this sort of career will be able to provide me with a decent income to live etc. etc. They think I should be doing something serious you know: accountant, lawyer (I get it something where I’m definitely going to get dolla). But it’s my passion for music that will drive my career. I can’t deal with a 9-5 job!
Were you only allowed to take three songs and three albums to a desert island: which ones would you choose?
I’d probably take an Amy Winehouse album to make me feel at peace and to keep me sane. I’d take a UKF Drum and Bass album hopefully with a few old Jungle tunes on there. Then, if I’m honest, I might take a Frank Ocean album to let me chillax. I LOVE the song Shrine by Artificial Intelligence: I find it so emotionally experimental. it’s beautiful!
Many will see what you are doing and want to follow in your creative footsteps. For those reading or hesitant about embarking on such a leap: what advice would you offer them?
To put the work in and believe in yourself. To use the tools around you in every way you can. To never miss an opportunity because that opportunity you missed could have been your ticket to success.
Also… read the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. That book was thrown towards me by my dad and it genuinely has all of the answers on how to follow your dreams and become successful in life.
Finally, and for being a good egg, you can name any song you like; I’ll play it here…
Play Sonder – Cassi ft. Roxi Yung. My mum even likes this one :)
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