Yuni Wa has released a staggering 400 songs spread over 58 projects. In 2020 alone, the producer has released 10 offerings, a mix of downtempo house singles, full albums, and whatever else his wandering mind conjured. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Yuni Wa has more music out than most artists in the music industry. He’s already planning at least three more projects of J Dilla-inspired productions, which exist at the intersections of electronic, hip-hop, and soul music. It’s a sampling of his wider sound, which dips into a smattering of genres.
By 13 years old, Yuni Wa was already putting out music. He comes from a church-heavy family, which exposed him to a whirlpool of sounds and encouraged him to take the musical path early on. At 17, he released his first album, Wa, which marked the beginning of an almost robotic work ethic that would see multiple projects dropping each year. By the time he was 20 years old, he had 39 bodies of work publicly available.
Yuni has collaborated with producer Chris Travis, formerly of the hip-hop collective Raider Klan, and Killer Mike’s rap protégé, Cuz Lightyear. He was also named a Visionary Arkansan by the Arkansas Times and nominated for Best Electronic Artist/DJ at the Black Apple Awards.
For Audiomack World, Yuni Wa shares his six-step guide to creating more, finding inspiration, and beating creative blocks.
Embrace creative blocks. “Whenever I get them, I have to just relax and not be all somatic. You’re supposed to relax and breathe and remember it’s okay to take breaks. I’m always trying to push more music out, especially when I was younger. As I got older, I realized the value of putting more thought into everything. Whether it’s a few days, weeks, months, or even years, you have to know that your creative spirit won’t leave you. It’s there underneath the block, learning unconsciously.”
Make sure your mind is nurtured. “I consume some form of media to change my brain’s meal. I’ll read philosophy (I’m really into nihilism) and also social and political affairs—basically how our lives are governed. I search for inspiration in the world around me. It can come from a movie I liked or an anime program I watched (psychological thrillers are the best because of the mental gymnastics). Doing things like these help me to approach my art at different angles and be better than before.”
Tinker around with new sounds. “Think about new creative approaches and testing your creativity. I’ve experienced most of my creative growth when I experimented and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to see where I could take my sound.
“Sometimes, artists get used to the sound that works and forget they still have to evolve because the evolution of an artist is one of the fundamentally special aspects of an artist’s career.”
Familiarize yourself with the intricacies of the music business. “You have to be willing to learn about its different aspects that don’t pertain to actual music creation. You can hire a person to do marketing for you, but it’s good to have a strong understanding of how these things work before you dive in because it makes it easier to keep track of your finances, making it easier to be more creative for the long term.”
Study the history of your genre. “One of the most important things I could say is to learn about the history of the genre you are in. Learn about the artists that built the lane and what they went through.
“When it comes to who has inspired me the most, it’s probably J Dilla. I got a lot of inspiration from him growing up and understanding how he lived his life, which supercharges my inspiration and creativity when I come to a dead-end.”
Make consistency a priority. “Once you figure out your formula, getting around creative blocks becomes easier. Find the release process that works for you and work on consistency. It allows you to see the growth in real-time.”
Photos by Darius White.