Tell us who you are and what you do!
I’m Yuni Wa and I’m a music producer, songwriter and live mixer. “Yuni Wa” is short for “Yunibasaru Wa” which means universal in Japanese. It’s meant to stand for how I’ve always valued making different types of music from rock to hip hop to 80’s electronic music. I try to be very diverse so I can connect with more people’s taste.
I’ve been producing since I was about 14. I started going to a studio at a boys and girls club and started playing bass guitar and getting way more into music through a friend, Shawn and that’s really where it all started. I’ve lived in Little Rock my whole life and I feel as if the fact that there hasn’t been too many people from here to really go big motivates me to work on my craft endlessly and also have a different sound. My love for the craft motivates me a lot plus all my supporters and the people that go out their way to keep up with my music and buy it, too. I’ve worked with Chris Travis, Solo Jaxon, Tan The Terrible and I will soon have a few songs with Goon Des Garcons.
What is the inspiration for your work?
I didn’t grow up with much and I always had a lot of emotional stress on me because I never really had a good connection with my parents. I also didn’t have many friends and I got picked on in school, but I used my pent up emotion and put it into soundwaves. I come from a very musical family. Growing up, my grandmother would play gospel songs on a old out of tune Kimball piano and I found myself at church singing in the choir with my cousins just about every Sunday throughout my childhood. I felt like my family had a lot to do with my rising interest in making music. My favorite artist growing up was Flying Lotus. I would listen for hours wondering how he composed his material and how he got it to sound so full of life.
My biggest inspiration is life. Life can be chaotic and it can be peaceful, but I look at every aspect and I build a song based off my emotions and experiences. Joy, sadness, etc. it’s all used to tell a story. I don’t have one sound, I have multiple sounds. Like some songs are modern, bleak, and hard hitting. Some are retro and smooth. Some are hard hitting but yet still have very smooth melodies. When I work on my albums there is usually an overall theme. I put different genres of songs and different styles into albums to show variety but at the same time I’m still portraying a message with it. My main focus when it comes to me making tracks is the type of message or feeling I put out there.
The reason why I’ve stuck to music up until this point is because I genuinely love everything about the process, but also the connections you build with people. I’ve had people message me and tell me how they listened to my music during low points in their life and how it helped them through it. At this point, I’ve learned that not only do you need talent to make it in the industry, you have to have real supporters, people that are willing to truly help you. In the future I have plans to go on tour across America and put out clothing and physical copies for my music.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
Focus on being patient and making rational conscious business decisions. Signing deals can make you or break you. I once signed a deal that really wasn’t fruitful so I wasted my time in the long run. Also, focus on branding and presenting your ideas in the most clear and professional way possible so that people can understand your marketability. I feel like I was very unprofessional at one point and in turn it made it harder for me to get an artist’s managers interested in me.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
Well, being a black music producer from Little Rock I feel like I’ve had to work ten times harder than other people. I’ve released 23 music projects since 2014, but I don’t get much recognition. I’ve found myself struggling to get featured on big blogs and getting DJ sets at shows. I would really like to be up there with Diplo and Skrillex in terms of popularity, but I don’t have the funding, management or label behind me to really be able to do it at this point. I’ve sent a lot of demos out in the last two years and nobody really shows interest, but I’m going to do as much as I possibly can on my own so that I can one day reach that status.