Nilüfer Yanya | Collective Arts Black Box Sessions

Nilüfer Yanya performs 'In Your Head' and 'Heavyweight Champion Of The Year' live at Indie88.

23-year-old Nilüfer Yanya has garnered an impressive amount of well-deserved hype leading up to the release of her debut album Miss Universe, out this week on ATO Records. The London, UK native has spent her life immersed in music, discovering classical piano in secondary school, and later picking up the guitar and being taught by Dave Okumu, frontman of the Mercury Prize-nominated band The Invisible. After making a name for herself in the open mic scene, she soon moved up to opening for acts like Interpol and Sharon Van Etten.

“When I first started writing music I listened to a lot of indie guitar bands such as the Pixies, The Cure and Bloc Party, but since then my influences have widened and now include more soulful artists, like Nina Simone, Jeff Buckley and Bill Withers.”

Speaking about “In Your Head”, Nilüfer said, “Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me and I get trapped. There’s the things I need disguised as things I think I only want, things I think I’m choosing out of choice not necessity. Sometimes this only becomes clear in retrospect, or maybe it will never become clear. Some people may call that being paranoid. I think that’s what I wrote the song about , but what’s interesting to me, and what I think I was trying to get at, is the illusion of freedom.”