BY LYDIA RIVERS
PHOTO BY JACK PERKINS
Yeezy. Heaney. Heazy. The name Yung Heazy encapsulates Jordan Heaney and his music, a joke turned moniker that stuck around after the surprise viral success of his first single, “Cuz You’re My Girl,” originally a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend at the time. The Vancouver-based singer-songwriter doesn’t take himself too seriously, but Yung Heazy’s easy-going bedroom-pop tunes are seriously an indie-pop dream. Released April 20 of last month, his sophomore album, I UR BOY, explores heartbreak, mirroring his debut album all about falling in love. The album turns post-break up melancholy into an easygoing bedroom-pop record with bright, upbeat melodies, that feels more intentional than his previous releases while maintaining his signature sound. I had the chance to talk with Jordan Heaney about his I UR BOY, recording in isolation, and Elon Musk.
[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity]
How did you decide on the name I UR BOY?
That was one of the tracks on there that I felt encapsulated the feeling of it all — this isn’t a song for her, this isn’t an album for her. This is about me, trying to deal with all of it. I felt like, yeah, I can be a bit more ego-driven on this one, I can look more inward.
There are some recurring characters on your cover art. What are their significance to you?
They’re kind of like the characters that have come out of the songs, I guess. I’m kind of collaborating back and forth with these artists and they saw them. They’re taking my music and then continuing this story with those themes, so it’s a bit of a collaborative serial storytelling thing that we have going on.
You have a song on the new album called “Social Anxiety.” Have you always dealt with anxiety, and how has it affected your live shows?
Just sometimes, definitely more later in life. It’s funny you bring up live shows because that’s when I feel the most comfortable. When I’m on stage playing music, I get this huge adrenaline rush. I’m feeling great. That’s when I’m in it.
I know you were working in isolation for part of the record. Why did you decide to isolate yourself and how do you feel about that decision now?
Yeah, that was a terrible idea. I did it that way at the beginning for maybe two months. When I first started I thought it was the only way I could really focus on the record, but it just completely backfired. It was really bad, my productivity went way down, it was really bad for my mental health — I wasn’t being fair to myself by forcing this schedule. It’s still way worse compared to what’s happening today. What’s happening today feels better because everyone is going through this isolation. I don’t have any FOMO, so I don’t feel as bad.
Since you’ve done isolation twice, what advice would you give to people doing it for the first time?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Get outside if you can, you gotta still be able to step outside. If you have the ability to walk around, go for it. Soak in those sun rays.
I’m going to guess music was something you started doing for fun and for yourself. At what point did the process end up becoming that way?
Well, I mean, the songwriting process is always fun. That’s awesome, that’s super sick, but production and recording is not something I necessarily enjoy. I just have to force myself to do it. That’s why I was like, okay, if I take a month off or whatever amount of time I need to just force myself to produce, that’s the only way it’s going to come out. Still, you’re forcing yourself to do something you really don’t like every day, and that’s not good. I have a better relationship with it now, I’m taking breaks and it’s not like a forced thing now. Yeah, I really, really prefer to just write the songs and that kind of thing. I’m trying to try to get better with production.
I can see the chalkboard full of songs behind you. Are they full songs or names? How did you narrow it down to 10 songs for the album?
They’re not full songs. It’s very rare that that’ll happen, it’s usually like a verse chorus I’ll have and then a little idea of a structure. It could just be like a 10 second thing that I record on my phone. I was throwing around 30 plus songs for the album, and the 10 that ended up on I UR BOY were just the 10 I recorded first. I mean, my real plan before any of this was to record 30 songs and then pick the 10 best ones, which was super ambitious. That was just like, way too insane.
How did you end up writing “Billionaire,” a track all about Elon Musk and Grimes?
I started writing that one thinking “I want to make a song about money” because I’ve been listening to that Beatles song about being a rich man. So I was like, okay, what’s good? I was like, God, make me feel like a millionaire, and then I went, no, no, it’s gotta be a billionaire. Yeah, it’s gotta be a billionaire. So I thought, oh, well who’s a billionaire? Wouldn’t it be funny if the song was from the perspective of Elon Musk? From there, the lyrics just wrote themselves.
What do you think of their baby’s name?
Yeah it’s like XX minus 17 or something? I can’t remember. That’s probably not the real name.
STREAM YUNG HEAZY’S LATEST ALBUM, I UR BOY, OUT NOW!