“I’m not Yungblud. Yungblud is us, a culture of people – it blows my mind that a community can come together and change lives,” says Dominic Harrison, the 23-year-old pop-punk singer from the UK, better known as Yungblud. The ultimate e-boy, Dominic is dedicated to expressing himself through his music and giving his fans a place to feel recognized in mainstream music. Despite being a solo act, Yungblud isn’t about only Dominic:” “It’s all about culture and making young people feel like they might belong.” If there is one thing Dominic Harrison wants the world to know, it’s that Yungblud isn’t just about him; it’s about the community Yungblud has created.
The Roots of Yungblud
Dominic describes his hometown, Doncaster, as somewhere similar to a city like Detroit. It was a working-class, industrial city, which was hard for Dominic growing up. In a blue-collar town, “Everyone wants to lose their sh*t, everyone wants to go f*cking crazy.” He said this angst created such a pride amongst their community, because that was all they had. There was a mutual bond over the unhappiness and struggle within the community that united the city that really impacted Dominic.
Dominic says that while America is “so hip-hop,” the most popular genres where he grew up were indie and rock ‘n roll. This was because rock was “all about going f*cking crazy,” and that was what the people in his hometown craved so badly. Dominic’s goal is to bring rock back to teenagers in the United States, “because that’s what we really need over here right now.”
Dominic says his idols and his favorite musicians growing up were David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, The Cure, Placebo, Blondie, New York Dolls and Amy Winehouse, but that he really turned to Lady Gaga the most “She always said the world wasn’t good enough for her so she created her own,” he says, “so I thought ‘why the f*ck can’t I do that?'” Dominic also says that Gaga, David Bowie and Gerard Way are some of his biggest inspirations for his visuals, such as music videos or album art.
Self-Acceptance and Inclusion
Yungblud “isn’t here to make hits”; he’s here to tell the truth, and boy, does he. Dominic has used his platform to create an inclusive environment and fanbase for anyone who resonates with his music. He said, “once I started telling the truth, people started to listen, and then they started to tell the truth back.”
Dominic says he can’t live without his Victoria’s Secret black dress and that he feels most himself when he is being completely truthful. “Boundaries are for football,” he says of terms of gender expression. Whether he’s donning hi VS black dress, wearing eyeliner, or dying his hair outrageously fun colors, he is certainly doing anything but staying in a box. His entire career is devoted to making himself and others feel like they have someone who resonates with them and that someone else understands.
“We ‘re all ten different f*cking people at any given moment with ten personalities,” he says. “To be weird right now, to be truthful, is how you get answers.” Being yourself, being authentic and being “weird” (as the title of his new album implies) isYungblud’s entire brand. “No matter who you are, be proud of that.”
“Yungblud is about humanity and equality for all people,” Harrison said. Dominic is an avid supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement; he attended a protest this summer that was “absolutely mental”. He stated that he does not believe that the color of someone’s skin should be used against them or be a reason for discrimination. He is also an active ally of the LGBTQ+. “Our generation is about unity,” he said on the current political climate of our world right now.
Dominic says he knows that this generation will be the ones to ignite change, because we already are, and fix the problems currently at hand. “Our generation is free as f*ck because we don’t give a sh*t about saying what we think.”
Giving Back to His Fans
Dominic attributes his whole career to his fans. He has been known to reach out to his fans via phone call, or even with gifts. Dominic even started a clothing line, comic book series, and a BBC podcast as a way to give back to his fanbase and to give them another creative outlet to feel apart of. “When I feel their emotion, it f*cking blows up my world and turns it inside out,” he said. “If I can get people from all walks of life who never thought they’d be together, then my job is done.”
Dominic even describes his new album as “his fanbase’s words and stories”. One track, “Mars”, was even written for a fan who shared her story about coming out as transgender and seeking acceptance from her family with Dominic. “If this song isn’t heard by millions of people, I failed that girl and anyone who feels like a f*cking alien.” It is a song about acceptance and understanding, and is a “bit of magic to me—I get shivers up my back when I share the story of this song.”
Dominic says that “because now we really have something to connect over,” he feels more connected to his fans than ever. “Everyone’s emotions have doubled.” Over quarantine, Yungblud started a live stream that his fans blew up so quickly that two days later, he was sitting in a television studio to record for Jimmy Kimmel.
Personal Connection in Times of Virtual Connection
The pandemic, Dominic says, has been hard for everyone. We’re all scared, we’re all confused, we all have feelings we need to let out. “Just because we can’t touch each other, doesn’t mean we can’t feel each other,” he says. Dominic has been planning a virtual tour in coordinance with his new album, where he will be traveling to each city to record his sets for his fans. Traveling, Dominic says and getting to experience each new place and its people, is one of his favorite aspects of his career, and one of the things he’s missed the most during the pandemic.
Aside from not being able to travel, Dominic really misses being able to interact with his fans in person, whether that be at a concert or seeing them face-to-face. He misses being able to feed off of their emotions during live performances. “I can’t wait to feel that again, even if it’s over a computer.”
What it Means to be “Weird!” to Yungblud
Yungblud’s new album, “Weird!”, which will drop before the end of the year, is a total 180 from his first album, “21st Century Liability”. His debut album was “so angry – it was like ‘Is there anyone out there like me?’ and I was just so angry with the world.” Dominic says that after releasing “21st Century Liability” and asking if there was anyone out there like him, he found the people that were like him, and that “Weird!” is for them.
“It’s a neat risky story about life,” says Dominic. “It’ll provide answers to people with questions.” This is an album for the “weirdest years of our lives,” such as the one we’re living right now. He calls it a direct response to the world we’ve seen in the last year or so. People feel trapped, and this album reflects on that and lets people know that it’s okay to feel scared or confused and to have questions. Dominic wants this album to be apart of someone’s existence, not just a couple of hit records.
The biggest takeaway from “Weird!” will be that it’s okay to be abnormal, strange, different, or weird. “Being yourself isn’t a f*cking sin, that’s what this album’s about.”