Australian musician Yeo turns pain into art as he shifts from electropop to an R&B style

Australian musician Yeo turns pain into art as he shifts from electropop to an R&B style

The singer-songwriter discusses the experiences that inspired his contemplative new record

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Yeo (left) released a duet with his friend and Singaporean pop-star Charlie Lim.
Photo: Christopher Yip

As he gears up for the release of his third album Recovery Channel (wordplay referencing the popular TV network Discovery Channel) in December, producer and songwriter Yeo released three singles over the summer: The Comments, Restless, and most recently, By Myself, a duet with long-time collaborator and friend, Singaporean pop-star Charlie Lim.

Yeo recently spoke to Young Post about the inspiration behind his upcoming album, and latest single.

“I’d always had in mind two characters to be in the song By Myself,” says the Asian-Australian artist, who made a name for himself with hits Quiet Achiever and Never Wanted That. “It didn’t sound right with just one voice, because there’s this disconnected conversation happening, so it was just so fitting for Charlie [Lim] to be the person to join in on that.”

The single certainly shows Yeo at his most emotive, offering a glimpse at what the rest of Recovery Channel has in store.

“I had been going through a lot, and I made some really bad choices over the past 16 months,” he confesses. A severe back injury, followed by a nervous breakdown, and the death of his father all seemed to hit Yeo at once. “I hurt a lot of people around me, and those people were my friends. Even though I did that, they stuck around. When I reached out for support, they rallied around me, and it was a very eye-opening experience.”

This was how By Myself (and much of the album) was born, Lim being one of the people who Yeo reached out to.

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Fans will notice a shift in style and tone in the new tracks, as Yeo channels a slower, more contemplative rhythm-and-blues groove, compared to the bouncier electropop of his previous material.

“I didn’t do it on purpose, it’s just the way it came out,” admits the musician.

“I’m trying to feel every individual element a little bit more when I’m making music now,” he reveals, adding that he enjoys singing more than ever before.

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“I’m pushing my voice to do things it’s never really done before, and it’s really reaching the part of my audience who pay attention to lyrics. They’re not just there for the big bass drops, the 808s [drum machine beats] and dancing the night away. They care about the story, and how it makes them feel.”

This approach signifies how much the Melbourne-based musician has grown as a songwriter.

“When I turned 19, I’d written a couple of songs that got played on national radio, and received really positive online reviews. I knew that I wanted to produce, and it just so happened that no one else really wanted to sing the songs that I wrote – so I sang them!” he laughs. “But when you get played on radio for the first time, it’s euphoric!”

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Turning pain into art

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