TYuS might tell you he’s from another planet. With how raw, rich, and real his take on R&B is, that may very well be true. However, the 20-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer is currently based in Portland, OR—for now. Nobody would mistake Portland for a Galaxy Far Far Away, but “The City of Roses” snugly nestled way up in the Pacific Northwest indisputably feels like its own world. The buzzing artist represents a side of the city that hasn’t been projected in Portlandia. It’s in a small downtown Portland recording studio where his story really begins…
At 16-years-old, he would hole up in After Ours Studio for marathon sessions, quietly studying the arts of recording and producing. Slowly but surely, he started methodically making his own beats and creating songs. By the age of 19, those songs caught fire on Soundcloud. “XXX,” “Cash Flow,” and more would crack 1-million plays each in a few months’ time, while earning early acclaim from Complex, HotNewHipHop, and many others. He landed on Warner Bros. Records’ radar and inked a deal in May 2016.
“It’s unorthodox R&B,” he says. “I like to speak through the music. I want people watching when I’m doing art. I disappear when I’m not creating.”
He materializes on his debut EP, Never Forget. Comprised of seven songs, four of which he personally produced, it offers an introduction to his sound. Merging smooth soul, blunt lyrical honesty, and otherworldly production from Twice As Nice [Rihanna, Ty Dolla $ign, Kid Ink], he immediately captivates on the first single “My Way.” Premiered as a prestigious Apple Music “World’s First” by Beats 1 tastemaker Zane Lowe, it’s a declaration befitting of true artist, “I’m’a do this my way.”
“I’m not fascinated by relationships,” he admits. “Where I’m at right now, it’s a lot of distractions. I don’t mind sharing energy and mingling, but I don’t want to be held down. At the moment, that’s my way.”
Elsewhere on Never Forget, his voice glides over a shuffle of xylophone-style percussion during “Faye” which he admits, “Is about transitioning to liking a girl.” Then, there’s the airy and artful “City of the Rose” where TYuS introduces us to “a young lady who’s from Portland, but her mind is someplace else.” Sounds like, they’d get along…
Ultimately, the title track sums up his goal. “I’d been through some shit on that song,” he goes on. “It means a lot to me. I’m making music that I hope you can’t forget. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
After one listen, you’ll definitely never forget TYuS.