Nilüfer Yanya on how collaboration and the seaside helped create her sophomore album ‘PAINLESS’
March 8th 2022
Photo by: Molly Daniel
London singer-songwriter Nilüfer Yanya has delivered her anticipated sophomore album ‘PAINLESS’. The record is a sonic canvas brushed with nimble guitar playing, poignant lyrics and droning synths a plenty. It is a leap of faith into emotional vulnerability softened by beautifully layered vocals. Nilüfer Yanya caught up with Sophie Gordon on Mornings to talk through the writing of the album, the power of collaboration and her eagerness to hit the road.
‘PAINLESS’ sounds like an effortlessly written work from an inspired artist who has plenty to share. In reality, Nilüfer Yanya was in the midst of a creative rut prior to the writing of the record. She told Sophie that collaborating with other artists was the antidote.
“I didn’t actually feel very creative for like a whole year. So I was getting a bit stressed about that I think. The main difference came from sharing a lot more of the writing and working on it more as a project with other people”
“Because I was working a lot with one other person, it felt like a more intense creative relationship. That definitely helped because it feels like I was sharing the work and the load… It was part necessity and part maturity”
Part of the collaborative effort that brought ‘PAINLESS’ to life came from producer Will Archer; who co-wrote Nilufer’s second record. The result is a cohesive sound that shows a clear progression from her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Miss Universe’. Nilüfer emphasised the pressure she felt to keep delivering after her debut’s success.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself because I’m like I want to keep making music, I want to keep writing. I feel like that’s when I’m my happiest and most myself…”
“I think generally there is a pressure once you’ve released something to keep releasing stuff. You feel like anything you’ve built up might just disappear”
It wasn’t just teamwork that conquered the hurdles of pressure and a creative rut. As Sophie discovered, a change of scenery also assisted in the eventual creation of ‘PAINLESS’.
“[We wrote] mostly in London last year, but then did one week writing by the sea in Cornwall, on the West Coast of the UK”.
“After we had about four or five songs down as demos, we thought let’s go somewhere where we can write more and in a nicer environment”
‘PAINLESS’ takes listeners by the hand through a rollercoaster of emotions. Nilüfer’s voice triumphs on the record. Varying from low raspy murmurs to breathy falsettos with ease. The only thing left for Nilüfer Yanya to do is absorb the success and take the record on the road.
“It feels good. It was quite a quick turnaround since only writing it, most of it last year. So I’m a bit surprised I guess, I’m a bit overwhelmed. We’re going on tour pretty much this week, so I’m sure it’ll become real very soon”.
“You forget that’s why you release music. So that people can listen to it and people can go to the shows. I mean that’s not why I make music. I make music because I like making music but when you’re on stage it kind of all makes sense.”
Listen to Nilüfer Yanya’s full interview with Sophie Gordon up top, or stream ‘PAINLESS’ below.