Our 2022 Annual Report continues with a wrap-up interview with Nilüfer Yanya. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.
Few artists arrived in 2022 with an album as emotionally vivid as Nilüfer Yanya’s stunning sophomore effort PAINLESS, which is Consequence’s No. 10 album of 2022. Across 12 dynamic indie rock tracks — including “The Dealer,” which is also our No. 7 song of the year — Yanya filled her Miss Universe followup with evocative riffs, crisp production, and an almost surprising sense of catharsis. These songs are spine-tingling, goosebump-raising, and crafted with a great deal of care and detail. It’s undoubtedly Yanya’s most vulnerable and intriguing statement yet, and she’s deserving of all the success 2022 has brought her.
It’s been a longer year for Yanya than most. The first single off PAINLESS, “midnight sun,” was released in January, and she’s been busy promoting and touring the record since then. When she connected with Consequence over the phone in late November, Yanya had just finished her eighth consecutive month of touring, and was a day away from a well-earned vacation.
In addition to runs in North America, the UK, and Europe, Yanya appeared at Coachella and Glastonbury, and even opened for Adele in London’s Hyde Park over the summer. Needless to say, she’s been taking every major opportunity to give audiences of all kinds an intimate experience with the highs and lows of PAINLESS.
But despite playing those major world stages, Yanya maintains that her favorite show of the year was her intimate New York City concert at Webster Hall in May. “It was such a moment, and it was such an important show, a big show, and it kind of lived up to the hype,” Yanya recalls. “We had a really good time on stage and everything went well, everything went smoothly… until later that night, when we learned our drummer had tested positive for COVID.” Despite the setback, Yanya continued her North American tour, even if she had to carry on with a Detroit performance without her drummer behind the kit.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Yanya digs deeper into the sounds of PAINLESS, sharing that “the way we finished the songs actually weren’t too different to the original demos,” and detailing the album’s barebones production. “I wanted this to sound cohesive, more like a record and less like a patchwork of songs,” she says, and she’s certainly achieved that. PAINLESS is an emotive journey from start to finish, and it’s all tied together through Yanya’s inimitable voice and guitar prowess.
Read below for the full Q&A with one of the brightest songwriters around, and see what Yanya has to say about PAINLESS, her whirlwind of a year, and what’s next.