YONEE Traveled Recent Terrorist Attack Sites To Spread Peace
To accompany the release of “Bombs of My Love,” Los Angeles based YONEE has created a short doc that expands on the song’s pro-peace sentiment. In making the video, he traveled to cities around the world—including recent terrorist attack sites such as Paris—and called on a number of visual artists to interpret the song’s lyrics through their medium of choice.
“The idea came to me when I was in a cab in Chicago. It was my birthday weekend and I had just landed. The radio was on in the cab and they were reporting the Paris attacks. I just couldn’t stomach all the tragedy in the world and I wanted to do something to help with the platform I have.”
I was moved by his mission, spirit, and music, YONEE is a young artist that speaks with so much wisdom, in an artist mission statement he stated, “My goal with the video was to add more meaning to the song, and hopefully inspire people to do what they can to help make change. One of the most important things to me is to engage other people in trying to bring more happiness to the world. That’s what I try to do as a person, and if I can achieve something similar with my music, then that would be the most fulfilling part of all this for me.”
But let’s rewind a little, before the idea of being a singer/songwriter came into view, (defiantly before the idea of embarking on a world wide trip for his short doc,) YONEE’s first dabble began on traditional ground, playing the piano as child growing up near Orlando Florida. Then while studying at the University of Chicago, he gravitated towards music production, something he wasn’t there to study, he actually learned the craft and skills on his own, and eventually DJing parties on campus was another phase of his evolution. After posting a series of remixes online, YONEE began booking shows throughout the country and then playing festivals all over the world. “Even with all that going on, I always knew that I wanted to make something more in line with the music that most inspired me,” recalls YONEE, who names artists like Avicii and Calvin Harris among his key influences. Songwriting was a natural next phase for him, and in many ways YONEE hence forth was born.
Below is a quick chat we had with YONEE, I just wanted to say that as a muslim American, his project touched me, and I had to thank him in part, and ask him a few questions myself. I think it’s great he’s choosing to stand for something in a scene that may not particularly focus on messages, but I can’t think of a better place than the festival world where millions of people from all over the world travel each year to take part in, to have a message of unity, it’s timely and powerful for the immediacy of its implications.
Did you grow up in any particular diaspora background that also inspired your projects?
YONEE – “Well, I think my parents had the biggest influence on me in creating this project. My dad is a doctor and my mom is a cancer survivor so I was influenced through this sphere of positivity and perseverance all my life. I think that having them around and the way they raised me allows me to think in the way of helping people and staying strong with passion/empathy.”
What was the catalyzing moment when you knew you had to book your flight and embark on your journey across the globe?
Y – “The idea came to me when I was in a cab in Chicago. It was my birthday weekend and I had just landed. The radio was on in the cab and they were reporting the Paris attacks. I just couldn’t stomach all the tragedy in the world and I wanted to do something to help with the platform I have.”
Once you were there, what was the most challenging part of this experience? Where were you when you experienced this?
Y – “I wanted to be able to soak in all the discussions and sentiments between me and the artists and the city residents to make sure I was going to be accurately portraying where they were mentally and emotionally. I also want to make sure that with all this in mind I can bring people together with this piece.”
Where did you first gain inspiration from music as a vehicle for social change/awareness?
Y – “I’ve always known I wanted to use music as a vehicle for social change I just needed to create the right product that would give me a platform!”
What message do you want your fans to takeaway from your debut singe “Bombs of my Love” ?
Y – “I always say that, if I could put one more smile on someone’s face, I’ve done my job. I want people to listen to the song and be inspired to coalesce and unify with love. Also, I don’t want my takeaway to be singular; I want people to be inspired in their own ways so that they can accomplish whatever their dreams are. That’s the beauty of art and music!”