On a Saturday at the University of Southern California cinematic arts fraternity, UMI takes the stage for her set. Amongst the havoc of cheap beer and small talk, she takes the mic and an eager silence settles over the crowd.
Armed with wireframe glasses and calm yet confident aura, UMI demonstrated her low-fi indie star power, performing her hits such as Midnight Blues and Butterfly. Now with five singles and an EP, her sound is diverse and genreless. UMI describing her music as “a blend of lo-fi neo-soul, R&B, and alternative music,” her tracks are often composed of soft, steady beats that greatly compliment her smooth vocals and introspective lyrics.
A Seattle native, UMI started writing music when she was around five to six years old. Due to stagefright, UMI limited her musical performances to a YouTube channel she made her freshman year in high school.
Now, she performs around the star-studded Los Angeles music scene, with established indie artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Yeek — who UMI cites as a close friend and musical influence.
Even with such mature themes for a young artist, UMI’s nostalgic tones and reminiscent melodies always feel fresh and genuine. Exemplified in her hit Remember Me — now with over two million views on YouTube — UMI resounds with the sentimental listener. With undeniable skill, UMI conveys the all-too-familiar emotions of one reminiscing past relationships: “Now that I’m here without you / Hope that you’re better / Hope that you found someone new.”
Where do these thoughtful narratives and sentiments come from? “Personal anecdotes, the experiences of my friends, stories I make up in my head,” UMI says.
She does, however, attribute spirituality to be a big influence in her life and music: “It’s truly guided the way I view the world. To me, it’s empowering to know that I have the ability to shape my reality by the energies I emit. And more than anything, it’s super cool to see how everything I’ve affirmed for myself or visualized is slowly manifesting. We’re all so powerful.”
UMI, a sophomore pursuing a business degree, faces unique challenges between her career and academics. With a steady workload from school and navigating a music career, UMI has little time to waste: “I plan my days the night before hour by hour, log everything in my calendar, and set daily goals that I have to meet for both school and music. I have an ongoing to-do list for whenever I finish my daily goals and have free time.”
When asked about what’s next following her recent surge in popularity, UMI replies with humble confidence; “I always feel like there’s more to grow.”
While UMI has no set future concerts right now, I would expect her to have plenty of shows around L.A. this Spring. And be sure to check out UMI’s Spotify and her hit music video: Remember Me.
Many thanks for the interview @WhoIsUMI !
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