At first glance, Yungblud is the confident, wildly stylish and always smiling rocker that dominates the stage while on tour. But the 23-year-old Brit, born Dominic Harrison, says he’s always tormented himself with “a lot of self-deprecation.”
That’s why he wrote his new single “god save me, but don’t drown me out,” set to appear on his sophomore album, Weird!, out on Nov. 13. “This song is for anybody lying in their bedroom at 4 a.m. wondering why the f— they’re not good enough,” he tells Billboard of the all-too-relatable notion. “You are good enough in every shape, in every color, in every sexuality, in every single walk of life. Every single person on this planet deserves to be loved, and love in return. That is it. I think if you love as many people as you can and tell the truth, that’s what it means to be free.”
“This record, this song, I wanted to put out with the album announcement because this was the safety pin that holds the whole record together,” he continues, adding that “It’s almost a song for Dom.”
Its sentiment holds true in the lyrics, as Yungblud proclaims in the heartfelt hook, “I won’t let my insecurities define who I am/ Not gonna waste my life ’cause I’ve been f–ed up/ ‘Cause it doesn’t matter.”
The track’s writing process was equally as cathartic as the final product. “It was crawling up my back and I just burst into tears,” the singer shared about the song’s origins. “This album was so hard for me to write, because there’s so much pain in this album. It talks about me nearly losing my mom, it talks about me being confused about my sexuality, it talks about me turning to a lot of drugs, it talks about me falling in love for the first time and then experiencing heartbreak for the first time and everything being in the public eye because we blew up so quick. I remember this song coming up my spine and me being like, ‘Do you know what? I think I’m actually starting to love myself a bit.’”
While discussing the project further, it became clear that Weird!, with its themes of growth and self-acceptance amid intolerance, is a devoted love letter to his fans — who can be seen pressing up against the bannister at every show, scream-singing songs in a way that makes them feel less like lyrics and more like personal mantras. “I wish there wasn’t a stage, I wish there was no barrier,” shouts Yungblud when his fans were brought up. “I’m envious of them! I wish I was in the crowd because I finally, thank f—, finally belong somewhere.”
“[The shows] are not me going, ‘Here’s a banger, now I’m going to go get in my Mercedes car and get a glass of champagne.’ I don’t give a f–k about that,” he continues. “What I care about is 2000 kids in the street screaming their lungs out because they believe in something that invigorates them and brings them all together.”
That’s why Weird! is more important than ever in 2020’s tumultuous climate, where at times there seems to be a lot more division than unity and a fear of the unknown is at an all-time high. “It’s OK to not know! It’s OK to give a f–k,” Yungblud assures. “It’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK to be wrong. It’s OOK to seem naive, because if people say they’re not any of those things, then they’re bulls–tting you. It’s all bollocks, man, as The Specials said. ‘It’s all a load of bollocks.’ Everyone’s facade, it’s all bollocks. Just let it down and be who you are because there’s nothing cooler than that.”
The moment of trust and acceptance that sparked “god save me, but don’t drown me out” is also a feeling that Yungblud is fervently dedicated to creating for his fans’ personal journeys, just like idols Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie and My Chemical Romance did for him.
“When I was growing up, I just didn’t belong anywhere. I couldn’t fit a mold because people just didn’t get me, people didn’t understand me, people couldn’t formulate me. They didn’t know what added up to make Dom,” he explains. “I just wanted to create a community of people who could be themselves and exist no matter who they are. To be honest, it’s just so supportive, and it’s a place to exist as a family without being judged. To be different is to be the best f–king thing here. And you’ll be celebrated for that.”
So much so, that he’s even written songs commemorating his supporters’ experiences, most notably in the upcoming album’s track “Mars.” “It talks about a transgender girl in Maryland. She came up to me and told me the story that her parents believed that she was a girl and supported her to go through a transition because of this community,” he says, before taking a moment in silence to reflect on his fanbase and music’s uplifting nature. “Because they saw other trans kids and they saw the whole community that comes with Yungblud. And that f–king blew my mind.”
To sum up the forthcoming project, Yungblud kept it stripped-back, kind and characteristically Dominic. “This album has helped me so much. I was in a dark place, and I hope that you find peace in it. I hope that you find energy in it, and I hope that you find more of a reason to be yourself in it.”
Weird! is out Nov. 13 and is available for pre-order here.