Songwriter Nilüfer Yanya’s dizzying pop makes you feel like you’re floating. With previous singles like “The Florist” yearning after lost love, Yanya’s soulful vocals and woozy guitar took a new shape this year, in the way of her shimmering, sci-fi debut album Miss Universe.
Released in March, the album takes aim at our omnipresent, inanely vapid wellness culture, and is a record that truly shows off the artist’s versatile talents. In January, Yanya told Dazed she was proud of her idiosyncratic debut partly because she doesn’t see it as perfect. “It’s not so much about making something finished and polished,” she said, “you don’t need to get rid of all the inaccuracies.”
As well as continually dropping dreamy album visuals (usually directed by her sister Molly), supporting Sharon Van Etten on her North American tour, and embarking on her own biggest tour to date – hitting the UK, Europe, and the US – the west London native wants to use her platform to spotlight political causes. With this mission in mind, she set up an initiative called Artists In Transit with her sister in 2015; the non-profit runs art and music workshops for displaced refugees entering Europe.
Given Yanya’s sensational debut saw her flaunt her development as a writer, transforming her dynamic singles into a harmonious album, 2019 feels like the beginning of an amazing future career.