Raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Yury is a Hip-Hop artist that currently resides in the city of Brooklyn, New York. Because of his abilities as a songwriter, producer and DJ, he’s been compared to Atlanta artist Russ (another ‘one-stop shop’, so to speak) and doesn’t plan on slowing down at any time in the foreseeable future.
Currently, Yury is really starting to pick up steam around the city; he’s already co-headlined Webster Hall and even sold out the Knitting Factory. He also produced material for Grammy-winning artists and had been coined as one the most multi-talented rising stars out of the Brooklyn area, according to people in his camp.
His artistry has been heavily influenced by a number of artists including Dave East, Big Sean and 6LACK to name a few.
RESPECT. Had the opportunity to speak with Yury about how he grew up, the origin of his stage name and what it was like being young in Brooklyn. The full interview can be seen below!
RESPECT: Can you tell us how you came up with your stage name? If it’s your actual name, please explain why you made that choice.
Yury is my real name and it’s pretty unique so it just felt natural to go with it. I try to make everything about me authentic so not having a persona and just being me made sense.
RESPECT: How would you describe yourself growing up?
I had a pretty different upbringing. Born in Belarus (Eastern Europe), moved to Israel as a baby because life in Belarus was very difficult, moved from Israel to Toronto, Canada because of the Gulf War (we had rockets fired at us days at a time). Toronto was cool, but my family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas halfway through my 5th-grade year, so that was a crazy adjustment. Then right before high school, I moved to Pittsburgh, PA.
The reason we moved around so much is that my parents wanted a better life for me. I understand and appreciate every sacrifice they made for me, and I would never trade having had such a unique experience growing up.
I always felt alienated because whenever I would start to make some friends I would move. And when you move halfway through 5th grade, it’s tough finding a new group. Imagine being the new kid 4 times, in 3 different countries.
I was always into all types of music, was on music forums since the early 00’s. I was really heavy (and still am) into sneakers. I had my own online store and was all over shoe forums like ISS and NT. I sold limited sneakers (Think Kaws, Stash, Bape, etc) for about a decade, right up until I finished college.
RESPECT: Your music is heavily influenced by Dave East, 6lack, and Big Sean. Can tell us who were some of the other artists you were inspired by/listening to growing up?
When I was 7 I saw Biggie’s “Dead Wrong” and Daft Punk’s “Around the World” music videos. Those rights, there were my first inspirations. I listened to lesser known UK artists, lots of ambiance and Downtempo music, and a lot of rap, from Das Efx to Ludacris.
RESPECT: What was your inspiration behind your latest project Entropy and how do you think you’ve grown since releasing it?
I’ve always been a heavy thinker. Thinking of really deep shit, probably too much. So entropy has that sort of meaning of everything is finite, and nothing lasts. But I take that to mean that we should appreciate every moment and I wanted to music to be immortalized, which I think deep down everyone wants. It was my first album that I fully wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered, and that’s something I can say that very few have done and will always be a major achievement.
RESPECT: What was going through your head when worked with your first Grammy Award Winning artist?
To be honest, I found out about that through the internet, so it was more like a”oh word, famous artists fuck with my music, so I know I’m doing something right”. So it wasn’t something I was hyped about sharing or promoting, just a cool accolade. I’m pretty jaded, so it was anti-climactic lol.
RESPECT: Where do you see your career headed in the next couple of years?
Shows, merchandise, some albums, boundary-pushing music and music videos. I know what I’m trying to do, and I just need to keep improving and building my brand and identity in the truest way I know.
RESPECT: Who are some artists you would love to get into the studio with in the future?
High Klassified, discovered this dude’s social media before his music. I just feel like we’d get along, he seems very humble and amused in the same way as I am by the industry personas people portray.
6lack, I listened to an interview of his and was just like “I respect this dude, and what he stands for and his approach. He thinks similarly to me”
James Blake because of his vibes.
Nick Murphy, feel like we’d make something incredible.
Justice, I could retire after this one.
Crystal Castles, same idea as Justice.
And Kendrick. Self-explanatory.
RESPECT: Are there any producers you would like to learn more from and if so, who would it be?
I mentioned some of them under artists since the lines are blurred nowadays. Here’s my list in no particular order:
Lido, Pomo, Ronny J, Kanye, Mike Dean, Frank Dukes. Those happen to have popped into my head. I’m probably missing 20 or so.
RESPECT: Do you have any aspirations outside of the entertainment business?
Not sure if fashion is considered within the realm, but I’d like to design clothing sneakers, maybe with an established brand.
I value philanthropy and science, so ideally I would love to be a part building a company that focuses on the greater good through research and development. I wouldn’t do the research, I just know what I’d like to invest in: clean air, clean water, healthy food, unbiased learning & education. I want to help people live the best quality lives they can.
RESPECT: What can we expect from you heading into the rest of 2017?
New music every month, new videos and content every month, self-designed merchandise, and finally some live shows. I took a step back from performing and really focused on making better music for a couple years, but I’ve always been confident in my stage presence. Performing for me is very cathartic, so I’m ready to get back to it.