FEATURED ARTIST – YME
Interview by: Dennis M. Kelly
Dennis: Hello Ymkje, how are you today?
YME: I Feel excited and blessed to have this opportunity to introduce myself and my music here at Chicago Music Guide
Dennis: it is my pleasure; you’re quite talented! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for me today, I really appreciate it! How long have you been making music as YME?
YME: I started officially in May 2021.
Dennis: Almost two years now, quite impressive! So, you have some music history with your family, how was it growing up in a musical family?
YME: It was exciting and fun, I started singing before I could even talk. Just like my mom, I already knew I wanted to become a singer. When I was around 4 years old, I sang so loud I did’t even need a microphone, laugh!
I often travelled to concerts with my parents because my dad is the manager of Ottawan and I was allowed to sing on stage with my mom during the last song. I had my own microphone, make-up and stage dress, so I guess I got familiar at a young age of what it is like being on the road.
Dennis: That is great! That experience will take you a long way! Did you take any vocal lessons and do you play any instruments?
YME: I did have musical lessons for a time, but now I have my own vocal coach. When I was younger, I loved to sing and play drums (extremely loud) hahah.
Dennis: But isn’t that how drums are supposed to be played, loudly? (laughs) Tell me about life in the Netherlands for you, what does a typical day in your life look like?
YME: Life in The Netherlands is not so different than in other countries, except that we bicycle a lot. In my spare time, I listen to music, write lyrics, spend time on social media, visiting city’s and enjoying nature walks.
Dennis: Where do you like going in the Netherlands for fun? If I were a tourist, where are some places you’d recommend?
YME: Amsterdam, The Hague, Maastricht, Utrecht, Arnhem. I would recommend going to Utrecht, it is like Amsterdam but more cozy and it also has canals. Maastricht is close to were I live and has a French atmosphere. The Hague/Scheveningen, it has very nice beach clubs. Rotterdam is a lot like a small version of New York.
Dennis: How is the local music scene in the Netherlands? Do you see a lot of local performers there and, if so, who do you enjoy the most?
YME: At the moment, it’s not too exciting, I never go to concerts. In my city, the music is very Carnival-like which I absolutely don’t like at all.
Dennis: Very interesting. Shifting back to you and your career, when did you realize that you wanted to be a singer?
YME: When I was young, I told everybody I wanted to become a singer. I seriously thought about becoming a singer when I started at the Media Club when I found out that I could write songs and perform them.
Dennis: What popular artists were your biggest musical influences for you growing up?
YME: Billie Eilish, Girl in Red, Clairo and I love the music from the 80’s very much.
Dennis: Being diagnosed with autism at an early age had to be difficult. Aside from writing your songs about your struggles, how do you manage autism in your life to get the most out of your life each day?
YME: I spend a lot of time on my own at home. When I was younger, I needed a lot of structure and daily routines, but I grew out of that over the years. School was a very harsh time for me because I felt different than the other kids, and I was left out of a lot and bullied. My parents were always there for me when I came home and supported me a lot.
Dennis: I am very sorry to hear this and can relate to your struggles, but I’m glad though that you had a lot of great support, that is so very important. You write your own music and your songs are from your personal experiences. Have you received any positive feedback from fans who connected with your lyrics?
YME: Yes I do. Very often I receive similar stories from others who’ve experienced the same issues. This keeps me even more motivated to keep writing. Just yesterday, I received an e-mail from a father who was touched by reading my bio and he loved one of my songs called, “Someone Better,” this song reminded him of his daughter who was also diagnosed with autism but at an older age.
Dennis: That has to be so fulfilling to know your music is impacting people. You are definitely off to a great start! Take me through your songwriting process, do you make a specific time of the day to write or write whenever lyrics come to mind?
YME: I get my inspiration out of my personal life, things I had a good or bad feeling about, mostly it is a traumatic issue. I only write on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Dennis: How do you decide on the instrumentation for your music?
YME: We start with a beat, then I start free styling, we repeat this a couple of times and then we pick out the best parts. Then we add the other sounds, backing vocals, etc. and finalize the track. After many intense listens, we see if we can make it any better or if we just end up leaving it like it is.
Dennis: When did you start working with Marco Roosink and how has he helped with your career?
YME: I started working with Marco in May 2021. He has produced a lot of successful projects since the 80’s and helps me develop my lyrics into songs with the 80’s influences that I love so much. Marco and I have gotten along very well since day 1.
Dennis: Your song, “I Rule The World” has a very strong confidence about it, is this a reflection on your life as it is now?
YME: A definite YES! Doing at what I am good at gives my self confidence a big boost, I feel much more secure now.
Dennis: That is great to hear and this song really needs to hit the clubs and have some remixes made of it, it really is a great song! Do you have any plans for that in the near future?
YME: Yes! We are working with a deejay to remix the track into a more powerful version now.
Dennis: Excellent! Are there plans for a full length album anytime soon?
YME: Yes, we are planning an album release in 2024.
Dennis: Very nice! Can’t wait! Have you performed your music live yet? If so, where and how did the performances go?
YME: No, not yet! But I would love to, very badly.
Dennis: How much time would you say you spend on social media?
YME: Too much, like everyone at my age, I guess. About 5 hours a day.
Dennis: What are some goals that you’ve accomplished that you’re most proud of?
YME: Inspiring others who are struggling with the same issues I had/have.
Dennis: What do you have planned for this year that we can look forward to?
YME: I will just keep on producing, releasing new tracks and I hope some day that I can go on stage and perform them live.
Dennis: Do you have anything more you’d like to share with our readers today?
YME: Believe in yourself and stay strong! Do what you like most and what you are good at!
Dennis: Thank you very much for your time once again and I wish you all the best in your career!
YME: Thank you Dennis for this great opportunity to introduce myself and my music! Hope to talk again soon! LOVE YME
Ymkje de Bijl aka YME! is an independent artist from The Netherlands. She is at a very young age diagnosed with autism. YME! is the daughter of Esther de Bijl aka E-Starr, she is known as the female vocalist of the 80’s Hit group Ottawan with hits like D.I.S.C.O. and Hands Up.
The producers from Ottawan are Jean Kluger and Daniel Banghalter whose son is Thomas Banghalter from Daft Punk. So YME! is in good company!
All songs are written by herself and produced by Marco Roosink. The songs are about her personal experiences and she hopes her audience will put strength of what she went through during her life dealing with her autism.
‘BE BRAVE AND DON’T LET YOUR DISORDER HOLD YOU DOWN”
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