Music Spotlight: YVR
LA-based pop duo YVR, composed of married couple Courtney Jenae + Stephen Stahl, released their exuberant single Messy this month, following Always You released earlier this year. Before forming YVR, the couple was songwriting in the far east + stumbled into the K-Pop world. NOw, the couple is working on an EP set to release in 2019, and we can only hope for more of the unique storytelling, Infectious vocals + vibrant melodies we hear in their latest tracks. We chatted with the couple on their story + their sound.
Asymmetric Magazine: Thanks so much for talking with us! Tell us about your current work as a duo and your singles Messy + Always You released this year.
Stephen Stahl: Thanks for having us! We are currently finishing up our debut EP, which will come out early 2019! Our newest single Messy is a song about female empowerment and unintended attraction to others while in a relationship. It’s a touchy subject that people don’t normally talk about, but most experience at least once in their lives. It’s also about how women don’t need to feel ashamed by having these feelings. Always You reflects on how difficult it is to maintain a friendship when that other person has deep romantic feelings that aren’t reciprocated. It also touches on the loss of a friendship due to the effects of alcohol.
AM: The duo is named after Vancouver, right?
SS: Yeah—‘YVR’ is the Vancouver Airport Code. Even though we are from LA, Vancouver has a special place in our hearts. We went to Vancouver for the first time in December 2016, fell in love with the city, and got engaged there. Because of the great memories we had there, we decided to name our duo YVR. I have a crazy elaborate proposal story that’s hilarious, but I’ll save it for later.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
SS: Being based in LA is definitely something that’s reflected in our music and lyrics. It’s inspiring to be surrounded by so much talent.
AM: You mentioned you started in the far east working in K-Pop. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
SS: We unintentionally fell into K-Pop back in early 2014. We’re glad that we did, because it lead us to great experiences and has helped pay our bills ever since. K-Pop has a very different writing style than the US, and it was a fun challenge for us to learn. Between the two of us, we’ve been to Korea five times and have accumulated ten number ones there. We also know our way around certain parts of Seoul better than most places in LA.
AM: For those who are first time listeners, how do you like to describe your sound?
SS: Emotional vocals and honest lyrics. We spend a lot of time on each song trying to perfect every part. Our motto is quality over quantity, and once we’ve finished a song, we know we have made it the best it can be.
AM: Do you have consistent themes you typically pursue through your music?
SS: Each song has a life of its own, but there are some similarities throughout our songs. Daily struggles of anxiety, comparisons to others, and certain issues we all face in relationships are some of the themes we talk about in our songs.
AM: Where is one place that you feel completely in touch with your creative self and your music?
Courtney Jenae: There really isn’t one place–it’s more of a frame of mind. If I’m stressed out, it will reflect in my writing. My best ideas come out when I’m not thinking too hard.
SS: My creative space is our studio. We’re both night owls, and I really like writing and producing at night when there aren’t any other distractions.
AM: What other musicians are you currently listening to?
CJ: A lot of Kacey Musgraves, Billie Eilish, Leikeli47, and Eminem these days.
SS: I like those artists as well. I also really like Maggie Rogers—I think she’s super dope.
AM: What will we hear from you in 2019?
SS: Our new EP and a bunch of new songs! We’re also going to be playing a lot more shows.