The Chancellor’s unhelpful advice managed to upset every creative in Britain. Especially YNES, one of Birmingham’s most brilliant exports. With her latest single Better Job an instant earworm, Sam Lambeth spoke to her about its success and the future.
When Rishi Sunak urged Fatima to go “into cyber”, the world did not meet it warmly. Frankly, it felt like a punch in the reproductive pouch. Creatives all over the UK, unable to work due to the unforgiving COVID19 pandemic, were being told to pack away their plectrums, sell their stage lights, forget being front of house. Get a better job was the message.
YNES heard it. And she knew what her response was going to be. She uploaded a catchy jingle. Then things exploded. It got thousands of views in a short space of time. YNES even spoke to the BBC for an interview. Rumours were Rishi almost reached out for collaboration.
That was then. This is now. Better Job has evolved from bite-sized badinage to full-length fury. Playful, punky but absolutely perfect, it’s a slice of deceptively bubblegum rock that recalls the fun thrashes of Kate Nash. The beauty of Better Job is the power behind the message, something YNES thought long and hard about.
“As I started writing the full track, I reflected on attitudes towards the creative industry – not only from the Government, but from a personal level,” she says. “For example, the old school friends and acquaintances who would give me a pitiful smile when they’d ask how my music was going. The values we’re told to prioritise in the world - money, career and possessions - don’t align with creativity.
“And I always find people pity us for not ‘succeeding’ in this idea, when in actual fact we just follow a different set of values.”
These values are held dear not just by YNES, but the entire music community, something she found when she decided to collaborate with them on Better Job’s fantastic music video.
“I was trying to think of what I could do, then had an idea I could get some musicians involved,” she says. “I put out an open call online and the reception was just insane.”
Better Job already had a music video, but this one is a wonderful accompiment that embellishes the song’s beauty. Fantastic performers such as Mouse, Chiara Baillie, Jack Cattell, Shay Khan and Ace Ambrose (who also plays guitar on the track) pop up peddling their wares. YNES admits she “burst into tears” upon seeing the final edited version. It’s fair to say that YNES’ thought-provoking, passionate lyrics resonated with the music community, as well as fans in general.
“It’s the biggest response I’ve ever had,” she beams. “I’ve had so many people reach out. I suppose the one positive thing from this is that it’s created a sense of solidarity.”
More exciting things are in the YNES pipeline – a gig on Sunday 27 June, a new single in April that will showcase her more “vulnerable” side – and it will certainly continue to bolster her reputation as one of Birmingham’s most talented, tenacious creatives. When it comes to making music with a message, no one else is doing a, well, better job than YNES.