Raised in Kensington, with Irish, Bajan and Turkish heritage, Nilüfer Yanya spent her formative years supplementing the traditional Turkish music and Mozart she heard at home with Blink-182, Simple Plan, The Strokes and The Libertines. So while it’s not entirely surprising that she chose to switch allegiances from classical piano to guitar for her solo work, the 22-year-old’s fluid technique continues to entrance everyone exposed to it.
Yanya was initially introduced to the instrument via lessons at school from Dave Okumu of The Invisible. Despite the enviable head start, she patently possesses a natural aptitude, as demonstrated in the relaxed yet supple playing-style that’s been evident ever since she first came to prominence in 2016, via a pared-back Pixies cover.
If, on the surface, her own breezy melodies seem defiantly un-showy, listen harder and you’ll find they’re deeply complex and considered. Supplemented with jazzy chords and Tracey Thorn-ish vocals, and usually accentuated by beautifully sparse arrangements, Yanya’s songs don’t scream for your attention; they seep steadily under your skin. If she can keep writing material as compelling as September’s single ‘Baby Luv’ or either of her EPs, 2018 is hers for the taking.