FEATURE: YUMA – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Blues-pop duo YUMA are set to release new single Like A River on Wednesday 25th April. Before that, we caught up with them to find out the inspiration behind the song.

Like a River is one of those songs that just came together in a day. We’ve had plenty of songs that have been left to one side, or chipped away at over a few months. Sometimes they’ve slowly evolved through the recording process. But after a long break from writing (since our full length debut Wildfire was released in 2015) it just felt so fresh and like we had something to say again. We sat down in the rehearsal room to write with no preparation, and in that moment it seemed all of the ingredients were right and we began cooking up new music with ease.

We are YUMA, a hard gigging North East pop-blues duo with influences as disparate and eclectic as the gigs we do (we’ve played in churches, railway sheds, fields, museums… you name it – we’ve probably performed there). In the past we have been known for our ‘story telling’ style of songwriting (see Jefferson from Dreamcatcher, or Superstition Mountain from Wildfire). Often, our approach to writing is to find a good story and to convey it through music, this way there is always a tale in there for the listener to draw out. It also gives the song the trajectory of a narrative, which often transcends conventional structure and repetition through verses and choruses. The intention is to create songs that yield more nuances on repeated listens and hopefully evoke vivid pictures and rich imagined scenes. Location is very important to us in when setting the scenes for our songs. The band itself is named YUMA after the city – founded in 1873 – in the state of Arizona. A lot of our songs lean heavily on the dusty high plains imagery of the classic cinematic westerns. Sometimes the stories we draw from are real events, and other times we invent a narrative that inspires us before putting it into music.

This time around, however, we decided to take a different approach all together and strip back a lot of this extra baggage – an approach which mirrors our lives at the moment. We opted for a slick, to the point blues-rocker to herald our re-emergence onto the North East originals scene. Thematically, we took a different approach in order to avoid re-treading old ground. The lyrics are from more of a personal perspective than a story told in third person, stemming from our years of experience in the industry and the determination to keep doing what we love in the face of any adversity or negativity. Being a female fronted band we have of course encountered the more unpleasant realities of sexism and discrimination, and it feels good to put into words our views on such things and to carry on regardless. To have the means to convey our thoughts and feelings on any life situation, in a way that still leaves it open to speculation and interpretation to the listener in a way that they can relate to, is a great privilege – this one of the gifts of being a musician.

Being a positive influence on the people around us is a daily goal. We strive to achieve a deeper human connection through our work and are very happy to be part of such a supportive scene in the North East. There is nothing better than playing a gig and taking an audience on a journey with you, so that they come away feeling energised and inspired. Our inspiration stems from the world we live in – people who take initiative to stand up for their beliefs, personal experience of human emotion, innovative creatives who change the world through action and historical figures who have made an impact so positive and powerful it still resonates to this day.

Our new style feels vibrant to us and reflects where we are at the moment as artists, always in flux creatively – never in stasis. The single comes out on the 25th of April on all major platforms, and will head up an EP of brand new material to bring in the next chapter of YUMA as a band.

Catch you at a venue in 2018,

Shannon and John



YUMA release new single Like A River on Wednesday 25th April.

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