Behind Nilüfer Yanya's Heady Breakthrough

Behind Nilüfer Yanya's Heady Breakthrough

Yanya and her siblings collaborated on new single “H34T Rises.”

Yanya and her siblings collaborated on new single “H34T Rises.”

On November 19, the unmistakable voice of Nilüfer Yanya will reach a kind of literal and symbolic crescendo, filling the acoustics at London’s 2,000-seat O2 Shep Bush Empire. While the auspicious gig will mark the 23-year-old’s biggest headlining draw to date, such milestones have rolled in like clockwork since the release of Yanya’s solo debut, Miss Universe, in March. With her guitar-forward edge and contralto pipes, the London native’s firm grasp on the indie-rock space was all but fated. 

Yanya’s concept-driven lyrics, however, hint at an underlying vulnerability and, at times, existential anxiety. Track one of Miss Universe, “WWAY Health,” tackles themes like mental health and self-image through a sci-fi-infused framework, introducing a fictional health-management company called “We Worry About Your Health.” As Yanya explains, “They ‘organize’ your health, and make sure you get everything right, from diet to nutrition to mental health.”  

Her latest single, “H34T Rises,” continues the narrative, picking up where “WWAY Health” leaves off. While her fictional scenario appears to take place in the ’90s, and specifically in Istanbul, Turkey, “H34T Rises” reflects our increasingly global, cybersecurity-conscious society. “The [new] single is a kind of prequel to ‘WWAY Health,’ she tells us. “In the video, you see that a private security company had actually hacked into [WWAY Health] for evil [ends]. The music video itself it is just kind of a race between the good guys and the bad guys.” 

Here, we get the backstory to the backstory, in behind-the-scenes footage captured by Yanya’s brother, Cemil, on the set of “H34T Rises,” directed by her sister Molly. 

Behind the scenes of “H34T Rises” (photo: Cemil Yanya)

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