Dominic Harrison, better known as YUNGBLUD is a 19-year-old musician from Doncaster. Earlier this year on January 18, YUNGBLUD released his self-titled debut EP and on July 6, he will be releasing his full-length debut album called 21 Century Liability.

On June 18, YUNGBLUD was in Toronto for a performance for NXNE (North by North East) and before his set, I talked with him on the phone about his upbringing, dropping out of school and moving to London, starting his music career, having music on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why soundtrack and his debut release.

So, first things first, you’re only 19, can you tell me when you started getting into music and when you decided it was more than a hobby?

I think to be honest man, I grew up in a real musical family so it was always around when I was growing up. But like I don’t know, I think probably when I was like 11 to 13, I think I kind of had a lot of energy as a kid and a lot of people misunderstood me and music was an outlet for me.

Now I read that you dropped out of school to really pursue music, that must have been a hard decision?

Yeah, I mean, to be honest I went and moved out to London to go to arts school for a bit, but I just found that suffocating and they wouldn’t let me express myself, they would tell me how I should express myself and I didn’t agree with that. So, I started working and I met a few managers and It didn’t work out then I finally met a manager who really figured out who I was, figured out what I wanted to speak about, what I wanted to talk about and here we are man, it went pretty well I think.

And as well I read that when you moved to London, it really opened your eyes to the world and kind of showed you there’s more to what you were accustomed to growing up, can you touch on that?

Yeah man, like for all of us, our parents shelter us and don’t want us to see the world for what it is and at some kind of point you have to break the nest and kind of go out on your own and figure it all out. And when I moved I did that and I became more interested in the world and all of it really created a fire in my belly and become a catalyst that influenced the music that I’m making.

And in terms of your first EP, is that how you wanted to dive in, making music that had real messages in it and reflected what you were seeing?

Totally man, it was all anger, emotion and just real messages. I just figured out what I wanted to do. Like I love different genres of music, I love putting it together, like my first EP and my first album that’s going to come out, it’s been this defiance in music and in genres, like what is normal and what’s not, just the perception that I believe like the older generation not understanding me and it’s all exciting to me. I finally get to be myself and people are liking it and responding to it and people are finding answers in it and that’s all really exciting.

Now after releasing your EP, because releasing music is one thing, in terms of reception, how has it been performing your music and getting to see your fans?

It’s been absolutely crazy man, the connection globally, like I go to Australia or Germany or Scotland, Ireland, it’s full of people screaming my music and like, that’s what it is for me, more than any high, more than any magazine article, it’s the connection. I get so many direct messages a day on Instagram, with people telling me they find answers in my music, people who feel misunderstood play my music in their bedrooms and that’s what’s powerful and that’s what I do it for.

And just tying back to creating music with a message, tell me what it means to have songs on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, considering how big of a show it is in creating real conversations?

Yeah man, I’m so excited because I believe this show is so important. Like in my opinion, I’m excited for my music to be on the show because I suffer from anxiety and for me, the show is doing what art should do. To amplify and create thought and feeling from the piece of art and I know a lot of people find the show uncomfortable and they should be, it is uncomfortable. Living with anxiety is uncomfortable, but what’s worse is living with anxiety and people not understanding why it’s uncomfortable. And shows like this one makes people understand the mindset that people with anxiety can be going through and make them empathize with it and to me, it’s so important, so I love that my music is on the show.

Now, I know you're really excited that your debut album is slated to be released on July 6, what can fans and listeners expect from the album?

It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be angry, it has loads of messages in it, but it’s fun as well. It’s got songs that are going to shock people, songs that may surprise people, songs that some of my fans might not like and that excites me because I never want my new record to sound like my last record. I really can’t wait for people to hear it.

And after the album gets released, what can be expected for the rest of 2018?

Yeah man, I don’t think I come off the road until March 2019. At the end of the day, I just want to travel, play these shows, meet people and just spread my message and play the music I want to play. Like, I can’t wait for the album to come out. This is the beginning, I can’t wait to see this all grow.