1Xtra Showcase: New Music Sessions – Youngman

Posted by on Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

When discussing talent in the D&B game, attention is usually given to the beat makers and purveyors, with less of a focus on the vocalists and MCs whose presence on stage or contribution to a track can totally transform a vibe with enhancing effects.

So it was more than refreshing to hear that BBC Radio 1Xtra’s D&B  tastemaker Bailey favoured a mic-controller over selectors or producers, when choosing his Hot for 2012 act – an artist he believes is destined for big things over the forthcoming months; Youngman.


Beginning his career as a DJ before concentrating on vox, and as son of Technique Recordings label head, DJ and producer  Bassline Smith, Youngman’s roots run deep in drum and bass.  However his defining attribute as an artist, which no doubt stands him in good stead, is his versatility, fitting comfortably as a respected vocalist within a wider spectrum of dance and urban music genres – signed to Digital Soundboy, he’s also toured the world MC-ing for dubstep dons Skream and Benga.

On Monday night, Youngman joined Bailey at the BBC Maida Vale studios for a one-off  live broadcast, the 1Xtra Showcase: New Music Sessions,  which brought together all the specialist music DJs repping Radio 1′s sister station and their hotly tipped artists of the year.  Each of the selected British artists including new talents Mike Hough, Scrufizzer, Lea Anna, Sneakbo and L Marshall performed a live track accompanied by the station’s house band Dynamix.

The intimate setting at the legendary studios allowed Youngman to fully showcase his capabilities as a singer, and he gave a stand-out performance of his forthcoming release ‘Who Knows’, produced by Skream.  His on-point vocals, genuine passion and sincerity in delivery left onlookers both charmed and wowed, reaffirming Bailey’s choice as an artist to keep a very close watch on this year!

Listen back to Youngman’s awesome performance at the 1Xtra Showcase below:


We also caught a few minutes with the talented MC shortly after, backstage…

TiD&B: How do you feel being chosen as one of 1Xtra’s Hot for 2012 artists?

Youngman: Totally honoured, particularly as I was Bailey’s choice and he’s been one of my hero’s from day.

TiD&B: Performing at BBC Maida Vale studios must have been a pretty special way to kick start the year…

Youngman: It’s been a mental experience!  When I first found out I was going to be performing here, it didn’t fully sink in…until walking in to the studios earler this evening, seeing all the photos of legendary artists who have performed here, documenting its history.  It’s been a dream come true!  I was also really impressed by the band we worked with, and really happy how tonight’s performance went.

TiD&B:  Singing in front of a handful of people, instead of 100s at a rave which you’re more used to, must have been different?  Isn’t vibing off the crowd important to what you do? 

Youngman:  Yeah, it’s very different, but luckily having recently done a few acoustic performances of ‘Who Knows’, I’ve had practise!  I’m more well known for crowd hyping and performing in a club atmosphere, so actually it’s nice to do stuff like this as it gives me an opportunity to strip back the music and focus on delivering a good vocal performance.  It’s also nice to let the audience sit back and enjoy the moment just for what it is.

TiD&B: Do you enjoy singing in more intimate settings or prefer being on stage in a club environment?

Youngman: Both are a very different kind of feel and to me, they’re equally as important – it’s great seeing a massive crowd of people dancing and having fun, just as I like to have moments where I can showcase my vocal abilities too.  I’ve just started a UK club tour with my DJ, Nocturnal and we’re doing dates going through to mid-February  – if you come and see me live, you’ll see I incorporate both styles in the set. 


TiD&B:  Your schedule has been pretty manic, performing with a variety of big name artists, it must be pretty difficult as a vocalist to not get carried away with the DJ/partying lifestyle as you’ve got to also look after your voice?

Youngman:  Yeah, it’s really hard – particularly touring with Skream and Benga as they’re infamously known for partying!  I’m not going to lie, even doing so many shows and maintaining a singing voice is hard full stop.  I have to take a lot of care in what I do; warming up, warming down, drink the right things, watch what I eat.  As a singer, you have to be very strict if you want to take your career to the highest degree, and at the moment that’s a priority for me.  I’m taking it really seriously so I can be as good a vocalist as I can be…that means living like a monk for a while!  No drinking, no smoking (I don’t do either anyways), always watching my voice and making sure that I don’t damage it.  There are loads of tricks of the trade too, and you just get used to them…I’m doing alright at the moment though!

TiD&B: So what’s hot for 2012 for you? 

Youngman: It’s all about me, obviously! Haha! My album’s coming out this year, featuring loads of collaborations with really cool artists, Shy FX is also executive producer! I’m also doing an arena tour with Example in April – I’ll be performing at the 02 arena which I’m excited about. Then there’s lot’s coming from my Digital Soundboy family – keep an eye out for what B Traits has got coming up, and we’ve got lots planned for the festivals this Summer, it’s going to be another great year!

2012 is all about…Benga, he’s also got a new album due soon and it’s absolutely massive!…I feel like Supreme is mad hot this year – I’ve got a sick pair of Supreme vs Nike kicks which are just killing it!… Green tea, Busaba Eathai – the best Thai place about! And finally, this year is all about living life to the full, as I heard the world’s going to end in 2012, so live good! Haha!


Youngman’s ‘Who Knows’ is out on 29th January on Digital Soundboy Recordings
Posted on: 25/01/12 Categories: Interviews Radio Shows TiD&B Features


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