Nilüfer Yanya’s ‘Baby Luv’ proves she’s one of Britain’s best young talents

The beauty of Nilüfer Yanya’s music is in the details. ‘Small Crimes’ has a delightful slow-build up, and ‘Sliding Doors’ twisting guitars have you hanging on every note. ‘Baby Luv’ is a big step up for the London-born singer/songwriter – and she’s just released the video, to boot.

We caught up with the 22-year-old to talk the video, and her origins and what comes next.

When did you come up with the idea for the ‘Baby Luv’ video?

I wrote ‘Baby Luv’ this time last year. We shot the video in Penzance – Cornwall. We were on location for 3/4 days so it felt like we’re totally absorbed into the video. It was definitely the most fun video to shoot but also the most painful – I think I was cold most of the time, and for the ending shots I was either standing on cold rocks or wading through very cold water. We also nearly got trapped on one of the beaches in the dark and our car got stuck coming down a cliff (the wrong way).

You went to a music school when you were younger. Was it a competitive environment?

A bit, but I think only in a natural way. It was competitive, in that you get a lot of kids that are younger than you and better but it depends; I’d say for classical music and jazz music it’s always competitive, but when I started getting into songwriting it wasn’t quite so pressurised.

Do you think you’re a competitive person yourself?

I think I am a little but if I’m honest but I don’t know if that is competitive or just having a drive to want to do something. I don’t look at someone and think ‘oh I’m better than them’. I don’t know, I don’t like to be called competitive!

When you picked up a guitar and started writing – was it a natural fit?

Yeah, but I found it really hard to sing at first. I couldn’t really sing at all so like performing the songs didn’t feel natural in that sense. It did still feel good to be able to do it though, which I guess was encouraging. I still don’t feel like a ‘singer, singer’. It was very scary performing at first but eventually you get this adrenaline from it.

Your songs incorporate some of the feelings of the world right now. Do you see the situation here and abroad improving?

I hope so, at the moment it feels like it’s going the other way, people are turning more inwards and becoming less open to feel responsible. The news goes past so quickly that we’re almost like not feeling.

The ‘Plant Feed EP’ and ‘Golden Cage’ has your biggest production to date. Was that a conscious thought?

I’m trying to do that more. I really like simple things where you do one thing, and then that thing changes and that kind of makes the song – as opposed to lots of different things just happening. I’m trying to work on that more.

You’re involved with a project called Artists in Transit – what’s the idea behind it?

My sister started it. So we go to working with refugees, like Athens we did in October 2016 and April this year, and help them produce creative projects. We do art with people and tell stories exchange stories as a way for them to tell the stories they want to tell.

‘Baby Luv’ is out now. See Yanya on tour.

Omeara, London (SOLD-OUT) (Oct 16)
Louisiana, Bristol (Oct 17)
Hope & Ruin, Brighton (Oct 18)