Not every song needs to be a high-stakes, rabble-rousing call to arms or a manifesto of wokeness. ‘No Stress’, the new single by homegrown singer-songwriter, producer and current National Serviceman Y A Ø, luxuriates in the fact that a stress-free, worry-transcending outlook is the best philosophy to arm thyself with.
His newest transmission is a rollicking, soulful pop&B outing that’s set in the tropics and invites the listener to dance off the cares of the world. And over all these feel-good urgings, AE$OP CA$H, who normally spits pure, ravaging fire, shows a different but no less dashing side of himself via a terminally chilled-out flow.
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Bandwagon caught up with Y A Ø recently ahead of the release of ‘No Stress’ and picked his brain on how it all came to be. Read on to find out his life’s mantra and he why he locked arms with AE$OP CA$H.
‘No Stress’ definitely mines an R&B vein. What about the sound appeals to you and what do you make of its newfound popularity?
A lot of it has to do with nostalgia. A lot of music coming out now reminds listeners of the old days, when music was more vibe-y and feel-good. There’s a sense of familiarity in terms of melodies and arrangements that artists are tapping into to engage with people. The nostalgia aspect is important because it celebrates what came before – before hype and trends. I like how the essence of old-school funk, soul and hip-hop is trickling back into culture now. We feel it in the heart when we listen to that type of music.
You’ve found the sweet spot of future bass and R&B on the song. What was your vision behind it?
When I first wrote this song, I wanted to create something catchy. I was really obsessed with making a hit. And because the initial versions were too cheesy, I became frustrated. In the end, I decided to do just what felt right to me and something magical came of it.
Producing the instrumentation became fun for me once I shed my expectations of the song. I created multiple layers and added various elements, including marimbas, to the mix. I just allowed myself to enjoy making it.
The inclusion of AE$OP CA$H also brings something special to the song.
Yes. The main reason I chose him to feature on it is because he’s so talented and our styles are totally different. We did a track together some time back with Hisham Tha MC. There’s something about AE$OP that reminds me of myself. He has no filter. He just goes with his heart and that’s awesome. He reminds me of the joy there is in making music.
In the song, you advance a worldview of taking it slow and not getting too caught up with things. Why is that important to you?
I genuinely believe in the value of being chill. No one should put themselves through so much stress that they lose track of who they are. Very often, people tend to aggravate particular situations because they’re seeking validation. If you tend to get lost in such concerns, you’ll lose track of who you are and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
If you enjoy doing something, take comfort in the fact that it brings you happiness – and let that be enough for you. Worrying about having to please others will take you away from yourself. The main point of the song is to be the best version of yourself.
Lastly, at this early stage of your career in music, how far do you want your music to travel?
For now, I’ll be happy if it does well in Singapore. This is my home. I strongly believe that I need to prove myself at home before I make it anywhere else. But of course, I want it to succeed beyond Singapore as well. I’m working on music while I’m in NS so I’m really invested in it.