The rise of Yungblud seemingly happened overnight. From his debut album in 2018, the artist who’s real name is Dominic Harrison, says his fame “blew up” and following the release of his latest single, ‘Weird’, the English singer/songwriter has garnered a fanbase of millions. Be it thanks to his genre-bending tracks that straddle mainstream pop and underground rock sensibilities or his honest connection with fans, the 22-year-old is quickly becoming the poster boy of Generation Z.
He admits to ICON that early on in his career he was “angry” and it is reflected in his first work. But in creating his own world – partly thanks to his ADHD and nonchalant attitude – the artist has found his feet and with his coloured mop of hair, tongue sticking out and a new view on life, ‘Weird’ marks a new era for Yungblud.
ICON sat down with the artist to talk new music, life lessons and Scott Morrison – yes, ScoMo.
ICON: What inspired your new single?
Yungblud: “It is basically about a really weird, weird time in my life. It was the weirdest time in my life imaginable. All the fucking ground beneath me was a shapeshifting maze and I was about to fall down the cracks of it. It was just so odd to me because I couldn’t grasp the next couple of steps. I figured out in the end that it was going to be alright… The song is a real coming of age but that doesn’t mean it is a record about growing up. You can come of age when you’re 84. It is a song about life and a song about, no matter how weird or strange things get or the way things seem, it’s all going to be alright in the end.”
How do you think this new single is different to some of your first material back in 2018?
Y: “I’m less angry; I’m not angry anymore. I was so angry at the start because I felt misunderstood by the world, I felt silenced by the world but now I’m not angry, I just feel optimistic…”
In a recent interview you touched on how angry you were in the past and I guess that was reflected in your music. How are you feeling now?
Y: “Last year, I had the craziest time of my life, I nearly lost Mum in a car accident; we blew up, we got really famous, really quickly. I started a relationship, I fell in love, the relationship ended, I experienced heart break. All of these things happened to my body and I couldn’t figure it out – I kept hearing “weird, weird, weird”, in my head all the time. I feel like my foundation and my genuine faith in humanity has got me. I feel like I can [now] shut my eyes and jump and it will all be alright.”
What was the turning point to get you out of the mood cycle?
Y: “My fanbase. What do I have to be angry about when I belong somewhere? I finally belong somewhere, and they do too, that’s why I have such a strong fanbase.”
And how do your fans inspire you?
Y: “Just their wit, their love of each other and at the end of the day I hated humanity because people didn’t understand me. But my family and my fanbase restored my faith in people and that we can love and we support each other without agenda.”
How does it feel to release new music in the current state of society? ‘Weird’ is almost the perfect soundtrack to the current pandemic.
Y: “I needed this to come out now because it is a symbol of how the world is. Everyone is in the same boat, everyone feels weird, everyone feels like they’re in a topsy-turvy way of living, you know? I want this song to make everyone feel unified and feel like everything is going to be alright – no matter how strange things get, as long as we remain together.”
You’ve always been extremely outspoken. Why is it important for you to be so open and honest?
Y: “Because I have a voice. And everyone else has a voice. All I want to do is encourage people to use it.”
Do you believe your ADHD has assisted you in the music industry?
Y: “Absolutely. I think it keeps me mad and whacky and [with] a million ideas at once. I felt like I didn’t belong in the world because of my ADHD, I didn’t belong in the real world. So, I wanted to create a world that I did belong in, because of it.”
For you, when was there that ‘I’ve made it’, moment?
Y: “Fuck me, um. I think when – there’s so many things. When you travel the world, or you walk on stage to 40,000 people who are singing your song back. When you come to Australia and all the shows are sold out.
“It’s the craziest thing in the world and I can’t believe it – this shit wasn’t supposed to happen to me.”
Speaking of Australia, how do you think your Australian fans differs from that of overseas?
Y: We were there for New Years and for Falls Festival (in 2019). I loved it, you guys are mental. I love playing shows in Australia, I wish I could come back and play a show right now. You guys are crazy. It was the craziest show I’ve ever had, you were all screaming, “Fuck Scott Morrison”, and shit. Kids were lined up for two days outside my show in Melbourne.”
Do you know why people were screaming, “Fuck Scott Morrison”?
Y: Absolutely, absolutely. I always pay attention to that shit. The neglection to the bushfires, the neglection of everything in the beginning and addressing the problem when it was far too fucking late.”
What was the hardest part of adjusting to this overwhelming fame?
Y: “I don’t pay too much attention to all that shit. I just wanted to write music and just be me. As I say, it is kind of funny when everyone’s got a camera phone and you’re out, but I’m not going to change for that, I’m still going to be the dickhead from the north, sticking my tongue out at the camera. It can be really hard, but we’re playing a part so if someone is going to take a picture, then fuck it… If you’re going to catch me, then you’re going to catch me.”
Lastly, dream collaboration?
Y: “I’d love to work with Travis Scott, I’d love to work with Billy, I’d love to work with an Australian band from Byron called ‘Parcels’. Those guys are crazy, I would love to do something with them.”
Yungblud’s new single, ‘Weird’ is out now. For more, visit the website here.