Dominic Harrison, otherwise known as Yungblud, is not your average 22-year-old poster boy for the tried and traditional. Usually seen sporting dark makeup, mesh tops and short skirts, the British singer has a lot to say on the concept of being “normal.”
A musician by trade, Harrison just began his second tour as Yungblud last week, filling theaters all across the U.S. with pink-haired teenagers and their Hot Topic wardrobes. But the new-age emo icon isn’t looking to get famous in any normal way — or at all. He just wants to get his message heard.
“We’re not just bratty teenagers and bratty young people … talking about shit we don’t understand,” Harrison said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “We actually have something to say, and if you listen to us, we could surprise you.”
Harrison has been strumming out his angst since he was a child in Doncaster, relaying feelings with Green Day binges and impassioned songwriting. “I’ve always wrote about what pissed me off,” Harrison said. “But that’s what I used it for — it’s what I do use it for still, and not (as) a thing to fucking get famous and make lots of money. It’s a thing to connect with as many people as I possibly can.”
But music didn’t just fall into his lap naturally. Since his father owned a guitar shop in Doncaster, Harrison was seemingly destined to be a rockstar.
“I didn’t really have a choice, to be honest, but then I figured out I fucking love it,” Harrison said. “I think when people force things upon you, usually I’m inclined to go, ‘Fuck you,’ but the guitar was not in that bracket … A lot of people misunderstood my personality, but music gave me an outlet to feel like I could be myself.”
After dropping his first full-length album, 21st Century Liability, last year, and gearing up for Hope For The Underrated Youth EP to release this fall, Harrison’s style has established itself in a niche he likes to call “completely schizophrenic.” Settling into a frenzy of genres all at once, his music is a genuine reflection of his personal style and direction as an artist.
“There’s no barriers anymore,” Harrison said. “You can be who you want to be without judgment, and identify what you want to identify as every fucking day if you so choose to. That’s what I want my music to be like.”
Aiming to spark discussion around the intricacies of mental health, Harrison pulls inspiration not only from his own experiences but also from the stories shared by his fans. “Yungblud has become less and less about me since it started,” Harrison said. “It was all about me when it started because I was only me and I had no fans. Now I’ve met my community — Yungblud is 50 percent me and 50 percent them.”
The Hope For The Underrated Youth EP, Harrison said, is a collaboration between him and his fanbase — as fans pass on their struggles, Harrison wants to “defeat the barrier” separating him and his fans one tweet or meet and greet at a time.
“My biggest goal is to meet as many people as I can and try and find as many fucking lonely people out there,” Harrison said, “because if you feel like you belong nowhere, then you belong here with me because I feel like I belong nowhere, too.”
With the upcoming EP, Harrison also intends to release a graphic novel, to, he said, “give people a chance to fall into a world that takes them away from this one.” This universe is only part of the world that Harrison has been working to create with every tour, rallying social media post and song release.
Most recently, Harrison contributed the song “Die a Little” to the soundtrack of the popular Netflix drama, “13 Reasons Why” — a show that is seemingly always under fire due to its romanticization of mental health and suicide, specifically relating to teenagers.
“There’s a lot of controversy around that show, but I fucking love it, man,” Harrison said. “I think the thing about that show is it does what art should do: It reflects society and reflects messages that actually happen in the world and it allows people to understand.”
He continued: “I suffer from depression and anxiety — I have all my life, and (the show is) triggering to watch. I’ve felt suicidal, but it allows someone to understand what’s going through my head if they never normally would. It provides context and stops people from going, ‘Oh OK, this suicide bullshit’s just a phase,’ like, no it’s not. This is what goes through people’s heads and it gives people insight and context. I think it’s a really cool thing and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
And if there’s anything that Harrison has proven, it’s that he knows exactly what’s valuable to him. In the end, the Spotify streams and views on his music videos don’t mean as much as you might expect from the average 22-year-old.
“That’s all materialistic bollocks to me,” Harrison said. “What is real is me standing next to someone and having that mutual feeling of, ‘You fucking saved my life.’ No fucking gold disc or number one record can change that shit.”