WHEN hunting around for artists worth investigating…
in 2018 – I would suggest Y.A.S is on your list! The upcoming songwriter has released the stunning single, Chasing the Dragon. I ask the Scottish-raised, London-based artist about the song and what its origins are. She talks to me about moving to England and some of the sounds that inspire her; what the future holds in terms of new material – if there are any tour dates we should keep our eyes out for.
Y.A.S tells me about working with Knightstarr and what music means to her; the three albums that mean the most to her; what her ambitions and aims for 2018 are; how she will be spending Christmas – and some advice to new artists out there.
Hi, Y.A.S. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. All good!
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Y.A.S - an artist based in London. I write songs and sing them sometimes (smiles)
Chasing the Dragon is your current single. What can you reveal about its birth and concept?
The song kind of wrote itself...
It started with the opening line: “He tells me don’t chase the high…” - and that’s literally what happened. When that person said that to me it just really clicked and I was inspired to write Chasing the Dragon. At the time, I was in a deep depression where I felt very numb. I was obsessed with the theme of happiness and longing to feel what I felt before.
But, my favourite thing about this song is that the dragon can represent anything. For me, the dragon symbolises happiness when dealing with depression: it’s all you think about and long for but, because you are in such a negative headspace; happiness has become something mythical, like a dragon.
Its video intrigues me. It is a series of different shots that, I imagine, represent the racing thoughts and turbulence of broken love. Was it time-consuming putting it together – or quite a fun shoot?
It was definitely a fun shoot!
I think we were on-location for about twelve hours. It was all shot in one location with different, quirky rooms. It was quite hectic; I had quick outfit changes and it was back on camera again. I didn’t have much time to think about my performance - I just did it. I (just) expressed myself and experimented with so many poses and (just) hoped for the best!
The song has that huge Pop vibe and a cool, sexy Electronic pulse. It is very much the sound of now. Are you inspired by what is happening in the mainstream right now? How did you come about the sound one hears on Chasing the Dragon?
This song really just wrote itself. I had the lyrics on my phone - and my co-writer and I were chatting about them and their meaning. The producer just started a vibe - and we just went with it. It was written in under an hour and everything just felt so natural. I will always find sounds inspiring but, for this particular track, I made no references to anyone else...
it just happened.
Knightstarr produced the track. What was it like working with him?
It’s spiritual (smiles).
We usually work through the night - there’s something about making music after midnight. I just love to watch him build the production. It’s really special witnessing him express himself.
It really amazes me the amount of talent and beauty that just oozes out of him...
Is there going to be new material next year? Are you working on anything at the moment?
I will be releasing an E.P. early next year - Chasing the Dragon being the opening track and, yeah; I’m always making music…so I’ll just be releasing it consistently and seeing what happens.
You moved from Scotland to London. What was the reason for the move? Is London somewhere that inspires you and provides energy?
I felt there was more opportunity in London: there isn't much of a music industry in Edinburgh. It was also (just) time to move on and try something new.
It seems like music is more than a career to you – it is a life-force and a reason to keep pushing. For many, it helps their mental-health and gives them comfort. What does it mean to you and who were the artists that inspired you to go into music?
I’ve always felt, ever since I was a baby, that performing and expressing myself was my purpose. It’s when I feel the most authentic. Music has always made me feel something deeper than anything else. When I make music; I am trying to feel that feeling. It can be the smallest detail in a song, just one random note that just hits me - and I feel something I can’t even put into words.
The artist that inspired me to make music was Pharrell (Williams). His production, melodies; arrangements and concepts are the reason I went into recording music.
IN THIS PHOTO: Wes Period
If you had the chance to select the three albums that mean the most to you – which would they be and why?
This is the hardest question! I don’t know how to answer this!
Michael Jackson – HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
I wouldn’t say this was even his best album – but, because it has so many of his greatest hits on it; I’ll say this one. I would listen to this album on-repeat and I (just) cannot explain how much Michael Jackson means to me...
I worshipped this man!
Nirvana – Nevermind
This means a lot to me. This reminds me of a time when I was coming-of-age and felt misunderstood. This album was my friend. The writing is so inspiring. I think it was the first time I really tried to interpret lyrics. I think this album is a demonstration of a person’s depth - and that inspires me.
This is really hard…but I’ll go with….
Kanye West – The College Dropout
This was our introduction to Kanye - and I was blown away. His honesty is the main thing I connected to. His story - of how his dreams manifested - is so inspiring. He makes you feel like anything’s possible. I think this was the album that gave me the courage to go after what I wanted.
Is there any advice you would give to fellow artists coming through right now?
Express yourself. Don’t make comparisons or try to imitate - and just PUT SH*T OUT THERE. Let the universe do the rest.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Probably sometime next year! I can’t wait to create a live show around my music.
Christmas and New Year are not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I will be in Cyprus (smiles).
What are your dreams and aspirations for next year regards music and your personal life?
I would love for a fanbase to grow: I want to connect with people. I want to grow as an artist and take more risks and be more liberated.
I would like to have my poetry book published.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Can you plaaaaay….Kali Uchis - Loner