With his thick makeup, spiked hair a la a 20-something Robert Smith, and gender-bending clothing, musician Yungblud has been called the “ultimate British rock star.”
“It’s gone pretty mental, ain’t it?” asks Yungblud, who was born Dominic Richard Harrison, about the last five years.
“For better or for worse, it’s gone bloody mad. There’s something out there in this country right now with me. I can feel it. There’s an energy. It was different before. It feels more mad.”
Many of the shows on his 2022 tour have sold out, but few tickets remain for his Van Buren gig on Saturday, March 19.
Born in Yorkshire, England, Yungblud is a multi-instrumentalist who picked up a guitar at age 2 and started writing his own songs eight years later.
Following the release of his self-titled EP and his full-length 2018 debut, “21st Century Liability,” Yungblud released “The Underrated Youth” EP in 2019.
Yungblud was crowned MTV Push: Ones to Watch winner at the beginning of 2020, when he was also shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2020 poll. He won best music video at the NME Awards in February 2020 and best push artist at the 2020 MTV EMAs.
His debut full length, “Weird!,” hit stores in December 2020 and went straight to No. 1 on the U.K. Official Album Chart.
In the fall of 2020, he launched The Yungblud Podcast on BBC Sounds, where he discusses topics and issues affecting young people, whether it’s gender, sexuality, identity, money worries, friendships, style or mental health. Yungblud has more than 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify and over 1.4 billion global streams.
Yungblud says he’ll soon add to that by releasing new material.
“Songs are about to start dropping very soon. I hate to sound cliché, but it’s the best music yet,” he says. “It’s so exciting. Nobody has any (expletive) idea that it’s coming.”
He’s pleased that, finally, he gets to hit the stage with songs from “Weird!” Unable to perform the tracks previously due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yungblud says they show he was in a “completely different headspace” then.
“Once you start to get a lot bigger, people have a million opinions about you,” he says. “People either love me or really (expletive) hate me. That was very strange to deal with, but I think it’s all just fuel. It’s all about love, man. You know what I mean? I’ve been that way my whole life. I feel just as judged when I got into writing music.”
When he penned the songs for “Weird!” he vowed to “tell the truth and fight for equality.” Yungblud wanted people to feel loved no matter what.
“I ain’t going to do it politely, either,” he says. “All I want to be is a vehicle for people to express themselves. If that’s talking (expletive) or hating on me or expressing themselves, that’s rock ’n’ roll.
“It’s not really that deep. Hate is only a reflection of the other person. You just have to rock out with them.”
Yungblud takes the haters seriously but engages them, he says. At the end of the conversation, they will either loathe or like him. If they dislike him, they can go on their way.
Yungblud prides himself on his strong work ethic and says it just comes natural to him. During the COVID-19 lockdown, he became confused, artistically.
“With me, I was on the road all the time,” he says about pre-pandemic jaunts. “I thrive, and I’m best when I’m on the road. It’s that connection with people.
“I don’t like breaks or holidays. They’re boring. I love my work. I love my job. Honestly, if I go on holiday, within two days, I go nuts.”
Jumping back into touring was the antidote to that.
“I’ve watched British bands come over and they broke it or were broken by it,” Yungblud says. “I really love this country. I really believe what I have to say could matter to a lot of people out here. I’m excited to just (expletive) bring British rock ’n’ roll to it. Oh, and say hello to the rattlesnakes and lizards and rocks.”
Yungblud w/Palaye Royale
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19
WHERE: The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix
COST: Tickets start at $30 for the 13-and-older show