• Audrey Smoak

All Things YC

Charlotte, NC based artist and creative, Chris Williams is known for his unique sound under the name YUNG Citizen. His initial interest in music sparked from the 1991 film, The Five Heartbeats. YC has always taken the industry to heart-with major influencers being Pharrell Williams, The Neptunes and The Roots to name a few. The young artist carried himself to college to further expand his knowledge of music production. This landed him an internship in New York at JAMBOX Entertainment & Recording Studios where he was Pro Tools certified. YUNG Citizen credits the team at JAMBOX for taking him under their wing to mold him into the established artist he is today. Through hard work and dedication he was able to turn his music crafted out of a dorm room into a cultural experience for those who strive to be different.

 

Reflecting Back on your childhood, tell me what it was like for you growing up.


I grew up with my mom and dad, we were very close knit. Looking at my dad's side, he didn't have a big family-it was really just him and his mom, his dad passed away when he was 12. Then you have my mom's side which was definitely a big family, but it's really been the 3 of us all the way. It was cool, they raised me-education was important to them, my dad had the vision of me going to college but I've always been focused on music. When I was a teenager he thought music was a waste of time and school was his biggest priority for me. I discovered football in high school which is actually what got me into Catawba College. I saw that my new school had a music program so I jumped into that and started taking it seriously, my parents really started supporting me at this point.


Music isn't foreign to me though, my uncle's (mom's side) been invested in the music industry. He worked for Universal Records, helped Prince market one of his albums when he was still with us, worked with MTV and now he's out in LA producing soundtracks for major films. Then you have my other uncle on my dad's side who's a music teacher. The two of them have been big influencers to me and music has really been my whole life.


At what point in your childhood did you first notice a spark in music?


Really ever since I was a little kid. My parents introduced me to this movie called The Five Heartbeats. It was based off this music group called The Dells, then my dad always listened to Earth, Wind and Fire. So having been introduced to this at such a young age, it's always been in my soul and my system. As far as creating-it actually sparked when I was a teenager and there used to be these magazines called Scratch. On the front of this one addition that I bought displayed Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo-when they were The Neptunes. It looked so interesting to me so I started researching everything regarding The Neptunes and similar artists like Jay-Z. I really just loved the fact that they were different, they created different sounds and focused on being an outsider instead of the pressure to fit into whats going on mainstream, it just popped. That's when I started learning about different software like Fruity Loops-but I definitely have to shout out The Neptunes as my inspiration to start creating music of my own. Ever since then I just strive to be different as a creator period.



Who are some other musical influencers that have shaped your outlook on who you want to be as a creative?


Definitely The Neptunes, N.E.R.D, my cousin helped me discover Talib Kweli, Black Thought and The Roots... As far as now my music taste ranges-I'm a huge Mayer Hawthorne fan, really anybody signed to Stones Throw Records-especially Benny Sings and I listen to a lot of Tame Impala too. When you look at the artists I just listed off they're all different, and they strive to be different as well so I really thrive off of that and look at how they're making music to stand out.


Was there a specific mindset you had getting into music or have did you have any strong expectations?


I was just doing it for the love and because I genuinely enjoy creating sounds and toning in on how I can make something sound unique. I want my sound to be different than whats out now.


When you first started producing, did you mix your own music?


From the beginning I was just making beats on Fruity Loops and playing with loops. It wasn't until I went to college where I learned how to create a full song-actually having transitions and different sections of a song. There's a certain recognition when people come into my studio to work with me and see how I make a song. You hear a lot of songs now and it's mainly loops, there's rarely any transitions-it just keeps going and going. Don't get me wrong, I still respect that because a lot of it still sounds good-Freddie Gibbs and Madlib do it a lot and it sounds great. So I made beats when I was a teenager and college led the way in teaching me how to properly produce a track which gave into songwriting.


I ended up going to New York on an internship to work at a major recording studio out of Manhattan called JAMBOX Recording Studios. It was during my duration in NY where I took an audio engineering class up there and got Pro Tools certified. Even now I'll just make my song and send it to my engineer to mix it for me and tell him how I really want it.


What challenges did you face when you first started getting serious about your music?


One of the main challenges that I really discovered was just finding myself as a creative and artist period-finding out what my voice was, what my brand was and what my signature sound would be. I was actually talking to my dad recently about how I don't really have a signature sound. When people see something that's produced by me they're going to be shocked. For example, when you listen to Pharrell Williams and all the songs he's produced for other artists, every song has a 4 count-you know that's a Pharrell beat every time you listen to it. When you hear mine, you're not going to know until you see the credits. Once I figured who I was as a creative I just ran with it.


How did the name Yung Citizen come about?


When I was younger I would be in the car with the homies doing our thing with our music and my friend said I needed a name.. The name Yung Citizen just came to my mind because we're all young and my friends and I were living in the US. I really just went with that until it began to resonate with other people.


What was your first show like? How did it make you feel and what was the crowd like?


For one, I was tired-I didn't know how much played into putting on a performance. My first show was actually my senior project in college. I did a mixtape with my friend J Real and he was in school at the time with another year left. We ended up doing an actual mixtape called Ray bans and Regrets for a semester and at the end of the year I performed on campus at our theater-it was crazy seeing all my classmates fill out the stadium seats. My professor came on stage at the end of the show asking the audience what grade I deserved and I ended up getting an A+ for it. I was definitely nervous during the performance and I did what I wanted to do on stage but I had no clue it would take my energy like that. The time and preparation that goes into something like that is wild but so rewarding. When I perform now, I love being on stage. People always ask me how do you do it? How do you get up there and just do your thing? I just make it my space, when I get up there and stand before that mic with my musicians and DJ behind me I feel like I'm in a bubble. Sure the crowd is out there, but it's the fact that you can control the crowd, they're there to see me perform and that feels good. Right before I get on stage I'll get nervous for a short second but as soon as I get up there-it's gone, it's fun for me.


That's how it should be, I think it really sets apart an artist whether or not they're stressing on stage the entire time or simply enjoying themselves-because it shows. What do you want your audience to take away from your live shows?


I want it to be an experience for them and to feel good when they leave. I want them to leave feeling moved and full by my music to the point where they're motivated to find me on Spotify or Apple and really listen to me.


Who are some of your favorite artists you've worked with recently?


I've worked with Dexter Jordan, he's an R&B artist out here in Charlotte. There's this rapper named Tecoby out here in Charlotte as well and my friend Julia Figueroa whom I'm actually working with on a couple featured tracks right now. I know Dexter Jordan just released an album recently called Blue, and I produced a song on there called "Epiphany" which really popped. I've also been working with this other artist named Emily Sage-we work with this guy named Jason Hausman, a good friend of mine actually. We just scored an independent film that's being made right now.



Is this your first film score?


Yes it is, the fact that my uncle did it-I always wanted to do it. Jason brought me in and we had a couple of meetings before he asked if I wanted to help him with it. It was my first time scoring and the director loved what the two of us were doing together. It's a 1.45 hour film and I had to go in and put music to different cues and actually compose each track. It was a dope experience and definitely not my last. The movie is called Discarded Things, it's actually a Christian dark film so definitely be on the lookout for it's release date.


What are your thoughts on touring?


I know 2020 my team and I aiming for a college tour. We actually just linked with this new entertainment company that focuses on college shows and the lady that owns it is really shopping me around. I'm also about to do a showcase with another association in Florida that throw events. So for that I'll be performing in front of all the talent scouts of several different colleges to give them a taste of what my music is like. So we'll definitely be doing a college tour and I've done 2 Sofar shows in Charlotte so far. The head guy in charge of Sofar Sounds here has actually sent my information to the other Sofar Sounds in other major cities which will intermingle with my college tour. We're really looking at major stops like LA, Nashville, Seattle, Portland, Chicago and New York. I'm trying to get out of Charlotte, NC to perform in front of new people right now.



I'm assuming with a tour on your horizon, music is about to be a full time job for you?


Yes definitely, I'm trying to get there. At the very least go part time with my day job and let that settle. However I am definitely trying to make music full time whether it's performing, producing for other artists or composing for another film.


Speaking on Charlotte, NC-what are your thoughts on the music industry here?


It's really tough-to me I feel like in order to be involved with Charlotte you have play to a certain game and I'm not really down with that. I'm more of do your own thing and create your own market, but I feel like you have to do certain things to even gain a market from people here. To me it comes off a little cliquish and you have to be cool with certain people to get certain opportunities-things like that, when it should just be straight off talent instead of a popularity contest. Now I do respect everybody out here creating, I just really want people to get a fair chance at things. There's a ton of talent out here that doesn't even get recognized. I want those people to get noticed, it's just hard and they end up leaving the city-we lose gems. It's not fair nor cool to me, I want the right people to get recognized. It's definitely up and coming with DaBaby out here putting in work, Charlotte is getting noticed of course-and with it being noticed I really want it to pop. Being born and raised here, it's definitely a sign of respect. It's getting better, I just want it to get better in the right ways.


How long do you think it will take the Industry to get to where it needs to be to pop off?


I'd say about 5 years. It's definitely gonna take time, because you have to think about the people running this city.. they're still learning, they're still trying to figure it out as they go and you got to have people who know what they're doing. The money has to be going in the right places. The thing is you don't have a lot of venues and the venues you try to get don't really support hip hop-where is there to perform? A lot of these venues will try to charge you an arm and a leg and it's honestly crazy. When it comes to hip hop they get scared BUT they still book these big time acts or expect you to bring in 2k+ people. At that point you go about opening up for an artist which is challenging in itself because management doesn't really want to work with you half the time or they don't have the answers, it's just tough.



Before we started this interview I showed you that video I made... so it's 5 in the morning while I'm chopping up these clips thinking how crazy it is. Yes the phrase "eat or be eaten" has surrounded this industry for some time but I think the issue in Charlotte is that the people here have grasped this concept way too hard. I'm sure you've learned this as well but from my own experiences-I haven't had as many meals as I've been offering and it comes to a point where you have to step back and evaluate. Am I done offering these free meals or is it time for me to eat? Regarding city council, the thing with that is the EDM culture here is thriving because it's EDM. Who's really been arrested at an EDM concert-music festivals for sure but who's going to go down to SIP on a Thursday night at House Work and get arrested for acting out? That's where these officials associate the hip hop culture-they refer to the scene as some brawl where people are going to lose control in a mosh pit or whatever else. This city is so strict that I don't think these people are willing to allow something so cultured and freeing to see the light of day when they're only focused on the risks. Will this develop in the next 5 years? Most likely but you're right, it will take time.


That's what I'm saying-I just wish people had more of an open mind and give things a chance, you never know what's going to happen. Once it does pop, these people are going to be mind blown at the results. This is something we've been wanting for years and it's time somebody takes the risk.


Where has music taken you besides Charlotte?


In college I got my first major placement as a producer with this artist named Neako. At the time Neako was working under Wiz Khalifa's camp, Taylor Gang. He realized he wanted to start his own thing, which brought him home to New Jersey to create LVLYSL "Living Various Levels" which was under his camp Zebragang. I began listening to him in college and remember thinking how nice he was with it, J Real actually put me on to him. So funny story, when J Real and I were making that mixtape for my senior project, I created this one piece of material that J Real kind of questioned and I was so convinced that this beat was it. At this time Twitter was poppin, it was about 2012-all these artists would tweet "send me some beats to my email, etc".. So I always had Neako's email saved in case I had something. I sent him that one beat thinking I wasn't going to hear anything back. A few months passed by and it was February 22nd, the day before my birthday. That night I celebrated too hard before the party so next thing I know I'm waking up out of my bed and I'm getting all these DM's on Twitter thinking what's going on. It was actually Neako's manager telling me they used my beat for Neako's mixtape called TR33. I just couldn't believe, I was about to lose it. They told me they were releasing the mixtape that day-on my birthday, I didn't even go to class. I remember knocking on my roommate's door telling him the news, I hit up J Real and told him too... It was just crazy, he even ended up doing a music video for it too, the song is called Whippin Whippin. From there I started to get more placements with Neako to the point we became homies. He was really cool, we still talk-he's actually up in Canada right now visiting his best friend Moo. At the time Neako's grandmother passed away and I wanted to be there for him day to day to make sure he was good.



Based on the work you've accomplished in Charlotte and the work you've done with Neako, how do they compare geographically and by talent?


Well of course Neako is on a bigger scale, they were all good opportunities. I love working with anyone that makes sense. I was listening to this Russ interview on the Noreaga's podcast, "Drink Champs". At one point of the interview he was talking about collaborations-at one point Nori did a collaboration with Daddy Yankee and that's when they kind of tapped into that reggae tone. Russ was explaining how that was a great collaboration.. it doesn't make sense to collaborate and work with somebody if they have the same exact fan base. If you want a collaboration to make sense you have to collaborate with someone who has a totally different fan base than you. If you both have the same fan base, there won't be as many advantages to benefit from regarding both parties. Working with people here locally and working with Neako, they all have different fan bases so it makes sense, it benefits both of us and it creates more opportunities.



Every morning you put a snippet up on your Instagram discussing “Family Matters”. Can you tell me a little more about that?


Yeah I started doing this thing called “Morning Motivations” about two years ago on snapchat. I’d send it to my friends every day, and that’s something I really wanted to touch on. I really strive on toning in and being consistent with everything I do-people are motivated by that. I was sending the morning motivations out every morning, I read a lot and like to keep myself going so I figured I needed to share the same with my people. Samir (owner of Family Matters) happened to be one of my friends on Snapchat-he was really into what I had going on with the morning routine so he asked if I’d post to the Family Matters page with my motivations. For two years I ended up posting to my personal account as well as his platform. People were really engaging with what I had to say and it was helping them mentally. It got to the point where I could just be at the mall and people would recognize me from Family Matters and it became very beneficial for everybody. When you think about it, a lot of people don’t even have the availability to take time for themselves so providing the people with a quick message on Instagram goes a long way.



Are the messages you’re sharing coming from a personal struggle or something you’re going through?


Definitely, it comes from what I’m learning and going through so at the end of the day, if I’m going through it-I can’t be the only one experiencing those feelings. People will reach out because they relate and thank me for giving them something to get them through the day and humbling them. It gets to the point where you have to practice what you preach. There’s some days where I don’t feel like doing it every day but you have to, consistency is key and I know the people need it and I need it myself. My life’s not perfect, I go through things-family issues, I have a brother in prison and I only get to talk to him once or twice a month, it’s crazy. I want people to understand I’m going through it too. I still push myself, I still meditate, I read, I focus on self-care and rest so I can get myself together to go on with the day with a positive mindset.


In the beginning, did you find it hard discovering a balance between keeping your mental health up and always working?


Yes I did. It took me from reading and learning to realize that I just needed to sit down and rest, get some sleep. The music’s not going anywhere, it’s always going to be there. Reading from different entrepreneurs and successful millionaires-they all have a routine. That’s where I figured out I just needed to find my own routine. For instance, I like to be in bed no later than midnight and wake up between 5-7 AM before I get my actual day started. I’ll sit in silence or sit back and listen to meditation music or sounds of nature and just let go. Before I move forward I have to make sure I have myself in check first.


I was watching an interview that Nipsey Hussle was in and he was talking about how the company you keep is incredibly important because it reflects back on you. I wanted to get your thoughts on that and touch on your inner circle…


I think keeping the right company around is very important. The thing is, you can have anybody around you-but if no one’s on your level mentally and emotionally, they’re not going to keep up in the conversation you would have with someone else-they won’t understand what you’re talking about. I like to keep people around me that I can have deep discussions with-talk about life, how we can build and progress together… If you’re not on that mindset I can’t talk to you because all that’s going to do is waste my time and back track my own path. I think what Nipsey was saying is very important, the people you keep around need to be on the same level. If not, you’re not going to get better, you’re not going to progress.



Regarding that same video I checked out a couple weeks ago, the discussion was about major record labels like Atlantic, Reach, etc. talking about the success as an artist, the company you have around and what it’s like going to a show and actually performing. The entire point was how you can’t just bring 10 of your friends in… well known rapper, Common, was in the video and he told the story about how he had all of his guys in the green room and eventually something was stolen from one of the other dressing rooms. The owner of the club addressed Common and told him he knew it was one of his guys, and he had to pay for that. It’s absolutely no joke that you must be careful who you keep at your side. There will always be an association to something negative as long as your company is acting out-that’s a sole reflection of you. Who wants a negative connotation to fall back on your name when you’re trying to make a career for yourself? Your energy is something that you control, and no one can have an advantage over that unless you let them-but a lot of people don’t understand that nor invest that energy where it should really go.


I know when I have shows, I don’t have a bunch of people with me. I have to get myself together before I get on stage. I don’t even know how you can have 10-15 people on stage, I’d probably have a panic attack you know what I mean? I like my space right before I go on. Normally for shows, it’s just me and my DJ and then sometimes I have the full band with me. Even then, we’re all getting our heads in the right mindset before the performance-it’s very important. You have to be able to have that trust and loyalty with those people, that’s number one or else it will be bad.


Some shows, you know you’ll see the whole “squad” on stage-and sure you can do that but how many of those people you have up on stage would actually be there through EVERYTHING. Let’s talk about it, you go into the studio at 10 PM and you have 8 people with you. By the hour people will leave and eventually it’s the same 2 people left with you every single night. Those are the ones. Some people are there to just hop on your wave and ride it out to its fullest extent, and that’s not how it really works. You want to talk about sacrifice, you have to put the work in.


Yeah, and then what’s going to happen when you have some downfalls or some failures? Are those 10 people still going to be there? Probably not, you know what I mean? You just have to figure out who your close knit people are. That’s very important throughout your entire career-whether it’s music or anything. You have to have people there for you when you’re down that can build you back up and tell you to snap out of it.


Through my experience as a Music Journalist I get to go back stage at festivals and some shows to do my interviews at the artist lounge the venue provides-I don’t know for a fact what I’m walking into sometimes. Especially as a woman it can occasionally be nerve racking. You know I see all the time at shows how many people walk in and out of the green room that aren’t even tied to the artist, the intentions of others are never completely known so I have to be very careful. For example I attended Lollapalooza this past year as press and I interviewed this awesome artist, Elephante. I was there with him and his publicist and it was completely normal-fans forget that artists are people too, they’re not just some figure on social media. As I was talking to him I couldn’t help but think about how humble he was for having such a huge platform. It was inspiring hearing his story-attended and graduated Harvard before he saw through his music career and chased after what he wanted till it was in his hands. It was a couple weeks later and I was back In Charlotte and he invited me to his show in Columbia. I think a lot of girls normally jump at any chance to be accepted past general admission or to get one on one time with the artist they’re into, but for me it’s just so different. I do think of the things that could go wrong, you have to-working in this industry you have to keep your guard up and be conscious of your surroundings. It’s always in the back of my head, because I’ve learned-some guys will invite you to their shows just to have a pretty face to call theirs at the end of the night and it totally sucks but that’s how it is a lot of the time. I decided to go and brought one of my friends with me and it turned out to be a great time. We got there and it was the calmest environment you could imagine prior to an EDM concert. The artist wasn’t going crazy with alcohol or drugs and the people that were there were really chill. You get to a point in your career where partying hard doesn’t matter. So for me it’s interesting going to local events in Charlotte and seeing 20 people up on stage going crazy all at once and then going to an event thrown by some nationwide company and it being the complete opposite. At the end of the show everyone was just sitting down talking for a little before the artist called it a night, “I got to go back and get a good night’s rest, I fly out early tomorrow morning.” That’s responsibility at its finest and it’s putting your career first.


YES, that’s pretty much how I am and how I will continue to be when it comes to being humble. I know that, cool I have to do this show but there are other things I have to do as well-like you said, responsibility. It’s not about the whole fame and having all those people around you because you’re going to forget why you’re there in the first place. It’s a business and you really have to be humble with it and understand that it can all be taken away from you in a snap. That’s how I think about a lot of the opportunities that I get into. I’ll be super humble about it and I’m not going to brag about it because it can be taken away from me and then there’s nothing to talk about. I think that’s what a lot of people really need to focus on-for example, you can have a million streams, but are you making money? Are people coming to your shows? When people brag about things like that I play it cool, like you can do you but that’s not what I do. I don’t like being around that energy. Do it for the people and do it for yourself, it should always be for yourself in the first place.


Do you see yourself staying in Charlotte or do you think you’ll eventually move?


Charlotte will definitely be home base and when people need me I’ll travel. I have no problem traveling and going to different cities but I don’t see myself living anywhere else. If it makes sense then I got to do what I got to do BUT I love my city, I love Charlotte. This is where my life is.



With your dad being your manager, how does it work?


It’s really dope. Pops and I started off rocky because he was learning about the music business the same time I was teaching him. My dad is the best at forming relationships so it’s very easy for him to get into the game and figure things out. We have to balance that father/son to business relationship for sure, so at the beginning it was hard finding that medium. We weren’t necessarily getting into arguments but there would be some tension. We finally figured out how to balance that so when its business it’s just Dennis Williams and YUNG Citizen, when it’s time to be father and son, you know. I will say we really connect from both aspects and people really respect that on the outside looking in. He comes to all my shows and he’s always offering such amazing support. Everybody refers to him as Pops, people will see him ask how he is and they love it-people know him like that. I remember one time he came to me and told me how much he loved being involved with my music career, it’s fun for him. He’s an executive for Duke Energy but when he comes home to work with me, that’s where he’s purely enjoying himself.


As an artist, what kind of aspirations do you have for yourself over the next 5 years?


I definitely want to go on tour and I’d love to perform at an award show. I’d like to get noticed by some major acts out here in the industry, keep creating more music with dope concepts. When it comes to my visuals, I want to expand in that as much as possible. Another thing I’m interested in is getting some more interviews done with some podcasts and maybe even a radio station or some TV interviews- I love talking so it would be natural for me. I want to produce for more artists too that understand my sound and want to take a chance.


What are your thoughts on record labels and getting signed?


When it comes to record labels, there’s definitely pros and cons which makes me step back and observe what’s really going on. I’ve known people to get on labels and they go broke or get dropped. I’m really seeing more artists today just form their own camps and I think that’s great. As far as me being signed to a label, there would definitely have to be a discussion. I’d want to have creative control rather than being told what not to do and how to move. I think what would make sense for me if I were to sign would be the distribution and marketing aspect, that’s the only thing I’d want from a label. I don’t want any advance, loan or lease-I don’t want to have to pay you any money back. If I’m going to owe anyone anything, I will owe it to myself alone. A lot of labels move different, and I don’t think that’s something I’d want unless it made sense, it has to make sense. I know a lot of people that want to get signed and that’s cool, I respect that BUT a lot of those people don’t really know what they’re getting into. You have to do your research.




Two things on that, I’m sure you’re familiar with Taylor Swift… She just won artist of the decade which is huge. I remember being in 4th grade at my friend’s house when I was first introduced to her and at that time she considered a country artist. I personally don’t like country, I respect it, it’s just something I don’t chose to play-she definitely crossed that country/pop genre I went home and showed my family some of her music and they were all pretty into it. Well the next year came and she was all anyone could talk about. Watching her journey was crazy, I never thought that she would win Artist of the Decade at the AMA’s. In one of her speech’s she credited her record labels by acknowledging the creative freedom she was granted. If she hadn’t had that creative freedom, there’s a good chance she wouldn’t be artist of the decade. Her entire image would’ve been controlled. There’s another artist I did research on prior to Lollapalooza, King Princess. She’s very different, very cool-her dad has actually been deeply invested into the music industry her whole life. She was offered a record deal at the age of 11 and declined because wanted to continue making music the way she wanted to do it. Coming from a little girl-that’s wild because if she were to have signed she would be a different person today. You look at all these famous families like the Kardashians and the Cyrus’s-they all deal with heavy depression among many other things because they were born into stardom and that’s never how it should be.


What are you focused on for 2020?


I’ll say this, the new music I’m coming out with is more personal. I’m always trying to inspire people through my music but with this new sound, I want to bring people into me. This music really goes through my journey and I think I’ll be able to connect with the fan base and the people period. They’ll understand what I go through and I bet there’s others that go through the same thing.


Will this be an album or EP?


Yeah so I’m actually going to put out a couple songs each month in volumes. Towards the end of the year I’ll put out an official LP of those songs with a few additional releases. It’s based on a formula. Everybody’s always trying to figure out the formula to success or getting from A to Z, but really the formula is yourself-just do the work. That’s what it’s going to be about and I’ll have the artwork for that out soon; that’s going to be different coordinates of places that have inspired me through my life or where I’ve written a song. The entire thing will be about what I’ve gone through as a person and what I used to do when I was little, each track will tell a story.


That’s good because I feel like a lot of people have geared away from that. You can throw on any hip hop song and the chances of the lyrics being about drugs, money or sex are high. It’s become very saturated to say the least and it’s more inspiring to hear someone tell you a story through their music. You can find a club song anywhere but something with meaningful lyrics is rare to come by.


Yeah you can find it anywhere, and it’s always going to be there. Tell a story, inspire someone. So I wear rings and stuff but I don’t do the whole grill, I don’t like talking about money or talking down on females and I don’t really care about discussing sex or drugs. I want to talk about things that I go through and people can relate to and then we can have a discussion about it. When I put my new music out I want it to open up discussions to the public.


Taking everything that you’ve learned over the years as you’re sitting here now, if you could go back to when you first started music-what would you tell yourself?


Dang, I was 15… I would tell myself to take chances. I think later on in my career I began taking chances but if I had been doing that since the beginning, things could possibly be different. Don’t be afraid to go for it, don’t second guess yourself, go with your gut and have fun. I’d tell that to any creative just starting off as well. Whatever you want to create, just create it and don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to fail either and don’t get discouraged by it. Make sure you learn from your mistakes and address how you’ll change your actions for the future.


YUNG CITIZEN IS SELECTIVELY SOCIAL.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MAX ABERLE