Yvette Young Interview- Learning Guitar, Eating Disorder, Competitive Pianist

Yvette Young Interview- Learning Guitar, Eating Disorder, Competitive Pianist

Hi it’s Lauren Engel of Sidewalk Talk 🙂 Yvette Young is a talented musician–you’ve probably seen videos of her playing guitar on YouTube and Instagram. We chat about Yvette Young’s early days growing up in San Jose, being a competitive pianist, going to UCLA, touring in Japan and her eating disorder.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill (like playing the Guitar). I say people waste a LOT of time when they’re not efficient with their practice and they don’t understand diminishing returns. If you want to fast track your learning check out the [Guitar Hacks] guide on learning to play the guitar in a fraction of the time especially if you’re older this can really give you an edge.

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I had an eating disorder and I think it was from this being thrust into a high pressure competitive environment they were scared that if I went to like an actual like arts art school oh I would just turn into like an artist god forbid I do music full time but I also supplement that income with painting like pink guitars repeat started with my friend my dear friend David David Amy ACK you know you sure they felt like eight years hi this is Lauren Anglo sidewalk talk to them here with Yvette young sitter born in San Jose yes been born and raised in San Jose yeah or your parents from the Roseville parents are from Beijing China Oh what made them move out to San Jose a better life I guess the American Dream what careers No so my parents were was a dancer and my dad was like an accordion player and a composer and now my mom says that counting and medical billing and my dad still composes and freelances and he sounds piano he worked for a Steinway and Yamaha at different points of his life just music I guess that’s crazy I feel like I’ve barely met like Asian parents were like creative and doing that oh yeah at first at first it was like kind of like I met was met with opposition but I think now like they understand a little more yeah but even for them like what’s her mom like dancing in like Beijing and then so doing they grew up during the Cultural Revolution so she did a lot of traveling through the countryside and she was like man I should probably know more about this she it was like her passion for a while though I think when she was to America like she just got a job and like she’s good with numbers she studied accounting she went to school here for that so mmm I think it’s like helped her get settled because she kind of came here as an immigrant without a lot of money Oh your parents might here no my parents met in China but they were separated for like ten years oh my mom moved here and then she made my dad and green cards were acquired and yeah Oh crazy and was it your parents who put you into like Pentecost initially oh yeah like piano violin orchestra definitely got the foundation set when I was really young I did piano when I was four and violin when I was seven hmm when did he start competing for a piano really young as well I think I don’t remember I think I started my first competition when I was nine it’s just a lot of pressure but yeah when I was signed I did it epital when I was 18 um how oft like how often were they every couple of months I never learned like a lot of concertos and pieces and stuff so to prepare for it I’d have to practice a lot and like learn the song and then compete and so I’d have to have enough time in between to learn a hole in the upv and he did really well like back then got out like competitions yeah I guess you know I had I think I had potential like I I won a couple which is cool but for me this competition life wasn’t really appealing yeah I did some so I got with a tuxedo and he just looks so formal like look spot on well like in that we’d all like get ready in the same room for like auditions and people would like be adjusting their hair and stuff I’m like this is a beauty pageant or is this a music audition because if so I look like yeah I don’t know it’s interesting how sometimes things that don’t relate some music like equated into the overall judgment how do you describe herself back then growing up eccentric tomboyish breath I was kind of like a tomboy like I was I was really into sports I really wanted to be a basketball player at one point oh you know I’m five foot four but ain’t gonna happen so um yeah I guess oh I was energetic and I was kind of like just weird it’s a good kid did he like school I really did I actually really enjoyed school I think I enjoyed it because um it was a nice contrast to my family life and it was like an exposure to culture that I wasn’t growing like I wasn’t a part of because my family’s like super Asian but I went to like a pretty Caucasian school so for me is exciting like learning about all these other people’s families and what their lives are like and I would did well academically I was pretty pretty academically inclined doesn’t hid so it wasn’t even your parents pushing you kind of just won it you were like a high achiever well they pushed me I think at a certain point you kind of internalize that and whatever expectations your parents have like it kind of becomes your own as well so I was kind of perfectionist my teachers all like me I think question mark yeah I had a good relationship with all my teachers and I guess mm hmm general school staff yeah I liked it what are your favorite subjects back then I’ve always been attracted to like biology just any kind of science and that would be a physiology something that I wanted to be my friends our clients is some 1.04 marine biologists I just really am fascinated with like how bodies work him like I think bodies are really interesting you know when you get sick there’s like a process that happens to like combat pathogens that like enter your system and it’s just like interesting to me so and I wanted to be a forensic scientist because I also had like a morbid curiosity and I always like watched murder like FBI files or what is it called FBI there’s a show on Discovery Channel FBI the crime I just I’m butchering the title but yeah it’s like those murder mystery shows I really liked when I was growing up so I was like I want to be the person to figure out why this person was murdered and who did it I want to be the bringer of justice like yeah yeah so I guess in school I like science what I also really enjoyed writing like commotion I say that that’s a subject that I was good at and didn’t you’re like dad’s co worker like show him a video and it turned out to be you like his son was watching our videos yeah honey you know like I don’t really talk to my parents about what I do that much like they’ll they know a very superficial level of like what I’m doing and stuff I don’t really go in depth about tour or anything and I guess my parents didn’t really know what I was making and they didn’t know like how I’m trying to like word this but they thought about like me I was just messing around in a bit I’m like just like wasting time but it’s cool cause my dad’s co worker was like oh like my son my friend’s son really likes this guitarist and then he showed my dad and is like oh that’s your daughter like can we come over for dinner and can we talk to your daughter so I think that changed his perspective quite a bit oh all of a sudden became like more curious when did he start like self medicating through music so I got really sick and in middle school at the end of middle school of drew high school I had a eating disorder and I think it was from this being thrust into a high pressure competitive environment Oh music academics I was just an intense perfectionist and I think people had expectations of me that were like kind of high and it was just a lot to kind of keep up with all the time mm hm so it kind of made me like depressed and I turned to an eating disorder to to kind of as an outlet for all the negativity as a way to control my surroundings through food and exercise so when I went to the hospital for that I was like you know bored all the time and I needed an outlet so I drew but then I also had a guitar and I started playing I’m just trying to learn songs like I learned my first guitar song I learned was a six feet from the edge by Creed Oh like that intro is really learned some Radiohead and yeah I like taught myself but year and then I started writing stuff in my own and then I realized that it was a really good way to build self esteem for me because it’s like you know an eating disorder something that is very superficial not superficial like like as a disease but I mean like superficial like you are focused on your exterior your exterior and you hyper fixate on like your body mm hmm so for me I thought like guitar and art and stuff was really cool because it’s something that you can do with your hands and you can feel like like powerful for creating things mm hmm and it became medicine for me to just like constantly be productive and put things out and it took the focus off of my outside self and more more into my inside zone for your parents understudying of your eating disorder yeah I think at the time they’re you know as immigrants they didn’t really understand yeah and they were terrified they were terrified because you know they grew up in poverty so they’re like you don’t want to eat like you’re good eat like what’s wrong with you you spoiled brat like you know and I get it I get it must be really scary and I think you know with family counseling and therapy and stuff I was able to get through that and I think they emerged with the new understanding of mental illnesses and like the eating disorders and like why someone would be driven to do that I think it ultimately was a healing experience for us all like it’s something bad that happened but I think it made my life I made all of our lives a lot better mmm expensive expensive yeah I don’t know your life is priceless mm hmm and then after that you went to UCLA to study fine arts and education yeah I studied Fine Arts and visual performing arts education it was nice I was there for three years about two and a half years mm hmm yeah I just basically loaded myself with classes that I wanted to graduate early to save money and I also just wanted to go work yeah I was like school is why not why but your purses have been supportive to let you do like fine arts right I was met with retaliation we kind of compromised like we went around to check out art schools but I kind of like you know they were they’re more comfortable with me doing a GE with art major because they were scared that if I went to like an actual like art art school Oh I would just turn into like a an artist god forbid no but like you know I got the general education and well rounded but I still decided to focus on teaching and arts in general so Fine Arts in general if looking back do you think it helped you a lot yeah I think it was good to expose me to different people because I grew up kind of sheltered and I think it taught me how to kind of stick up for myself and defend myself because you know when you create work in an academic environment and our academic environment you have to talk about it and you have to like justify your creative decision making to other people because there’s critiques and stuff so I think it taught me to be a little more outspoken and it taught me to like have more ownership over my decisions so yeah I think that was a good experience but I think I learned the most when I left College and I just did real world yeah yeah the college is cool yeah and then were you already doing like graphic design illustration stuff yeah I actually got my start on My. Space oh I used to hit up bands and I’d be like you need a banner doing an album art and I kind of did like I had my little myspace network of fans that needed art so I would just like work with them and then they’d tell their friends and my art would be spread around so yeah that’s how I got my start and then I decided I really love doing it even from a young age I would just like draw and sketch all the time nowadays I’m still doing it like for music I do music full time but I also supplement come with painting like pink guitars or people and I paint Commission’s had a brief stint as a tattoo artist oh yeah yeah after he graduated college did you first do you like teaching or like what was your first job after a good did a lot of teaching did teaching I even taught at UCLA Oh Rory teacher school I taught at UH it was kind of like an experimental heart school like for gifted kids so it’s called the lab school sounds kind of ominous kids but I taught there and I did like a weekly art project with them and then yeah from there I just kept them teaching until and I still do teach I have a private students now but at a certain point it became difficult to hold a job because you have to tell them like yo I’m gonna bounce for a month and a half because I have a tour mm hmm and you can’t hire someone new because you need me you can’t say that like you know they can easily hire some in you or I was lucky to have like a lot of bosses that really did understand like the choice the tough choice I had to make between like music and a stable job so they were really accommodating to me mm hmm and then when did you form it like my form probably like three or four years ago I thought it would just be like a bunch of people jamming in a garage just every week but it kind of went beyond that and now we’re doing scores and stuff which is really cool mm hmm started with my friend my dear friend David David Amy AK we known each other for like eight years how did you guys meet you’re a mutual friend he played in his band and then I was like do you want to play in my band and then he’s like yes that worked out how did you realize early on that you needed like multiple income streams or like how to diversify it like all your skills and like monetized well I think for me it that sense emerged more out of just it was like hedonistic for me rather than like survival mm hmm for me I just I always need to be working on things item Utley like and I’m really bad at doing things I don’t like so I figure like I really love visual art I really love music how can I make a living off of both because I think I also like doing multiple things because I sometimes you get if you do the same thing constantly it becomes a job and you can start feeling like you’re in a creative rut so with music and visual art it’s like if I don’t want to do music today I I can do like a painting for a client or something or make some art and I’m still being productive but I’m taking a break you know yeah so and luckily I’m lucky enough that I think because of music I have enough of like you know I have enough support from people so that when I do post about my hard skills like I don’t need to advertise or anything it’s like those two demographics of people who couldn’t see my art people consumed my music like I’m in a really lucky and very position where I don’t have to like you know I’d like some artists like they have to get recognized but because the music is like easier to make money off of art yeah when did you like how did it click to you that you wanted to put your like performances like on or even like personal videos I did it for fun at first like that’s actually how any of this even happened I got a guitar and I was like you know like I want to write music but I want to show my friends what I’m working on because my whole facebook at the time was just other people in bands so I would post songs and then you know they’d get spread around sometimes because they’re like whoa like that’s cool a girl’s doing that stuff and then you know I posted a couple and like for me it became a way to like keep track of my progress to like I wouldn’t watch my videos and like you know it was like I still kind of do it with Instagram like I’ll post a video if I’ll use it to like I’ll do it to incentivize me working on that song like post it out there it’s like I have to finish it now yeah so it’s kind of like a cool way to motivate yourself to work mm hmm but yeah some I posted videos and some became a fling kind of viral like I got endorsed and here we are was it all like organic initially like people stumbled upon your videos on their own yeah you know it’s always been organic I’ve never really put into any advertising or anything I feel really lucky and fortunate I kind of want to keep it organic because I feel like I don’t know maybe this is naive of me to say but I feel like if you’re just nu in and you just work at your craft and you just are productive and real I think people can pick up on that yeah yeah it’s important I don’t want to become like an ad or something I see a lot of people on Instagram I feel like their accounts are just ads how did your tour in Japan come by and lots of people like knew who you were and like watched you all right yeah it’s crazy I guess the style music I play well for acoustic stuff it’s like kind of like Midwest twinkle emo mmm Japan has a huge emo scene they love like also progressive like instrumental music they love guitar Japan is just awesome for music so I went and then I was really surprised at how many people I worked with my friend good friend seen a hero I knew him online and he runs a label called friend of mine and he was just like yo all come fly as you can I’ll take care of your lodging and like you know cool and I did it and it was my first like kind of DIY solo touring experience you want to do more of those like your personal own like DIY tours yeah I just did a headliner for that a couple of months ago and it was really cool cuz I actually got people out I’m always like no one’s gonna care no there’s a good be nobody like I’m gonna be like two people in the car home but then I end up always like feeling really I guess like supported because I’ll go out and other people yeah I think right now the focus is on my band Club it though because we have like a label now and we have a new album coming out oh so like this summer and then yeah I guess all this stuff takes the back burner because you know with the label they have deadlines do it because you know my the stuff is more DIY I don’t have a deadline how would you say our music has changed into early songs you made um I think I grew a lot as a songwriter I think structure why is there a little more complex I’ve been at guitar for like six or seven years now and I learned a lot of new skills I think also first when I got into the game like I just I was like I want to be flashy I want to be cool Treach like I think like with maturity and I’m just like all right like I don’t have to operate at like 998 percent all the time I can I can have skills I’m gonna be skilled but a good song means like doing what serves the music so maybe I don’t need to be flashy maybe this like a simple moment mm hmm how do you how would you say you’ve grown as a person since you were younger that’s a loaded one I’d say when I was younger I think I was a lot nicer mm hmm I think I was so I think you know maybe when I was let’s talk about younger like maybe two or three years ago before all this touring stuff mm hmm I think prior to that I was a little more close minded about certain things and I think I was opinionated and I you know I grew up pretty sheltered so I didn’t really know a lot of things and I think my approach music and stuff was a little different but now I think after touring and meeting all kinds of people and interacting with you know other musicians I’ve my views on things that are different from what I believe in I’m like more accepting I think and I’m more eager to learn and yeah I think the most beautiful part about going on tour and like interactive people is like getting to know different personalities finding out their story I think it humbles me too because I realized that I am quite privileged despite having a difficult childhood like you know I’m lucky and there’s a lot of really cool amazing people out there yeah other than you’re eating this or what up what what do you say I’ve been your challenges I had a turbulent family life for sure mm hmm like I’d say you know slowly a bit in elementary school but now I’m cool girl and I guess you know I think your biggest enemy in life is yourself mm hmm battled like really intense depression was feeling really kind of like suicidal at times you know sometimes I still struggle with nihilism I’m just like something like none of this matters like why even try it we’re just gonna die anyway dice but like you know and then you have to you know stop yourself back into the into the moment I think I think when yes I think two big picture it’s like well none of this matters but I think like if I just focus on what makes me happy and what makes me feel whole in the moment mm hmm I feel a little better yeah actually with that what advice do you have for people who are going through like being a so nervous depression I’d say fine little things every day to make you happy and find things that give you value that aren’t that you’re in control of like your appearance that doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day the girls at age and you know we’re all gonna get fat maybe question mark depending on your genetics yeah yeah you know so focused on like skills getting skills for yourself that make you feel powerful like you’re in control like I feel so good when I write a song is I’m like I made that like this feels great it’s so cool it’s like magic it’s like you’re doing a magic so I guess you know find skills that give you control and make you feel happy art and music are such incredible outlets like my motto is always like music is medicine art is healing but it doesn’t have to be music or art like if you love racing motorcycles do that just find something that just gives you makes you feel good that you do because you love not because you’re like obligated to do it mm hmm and then I say for me what’s helped is like stepping back and appreciating little things like a really pretty flower more like a nice picturesque sunset or just looking at like the ocean think how big it is like none of my problems matter just outside stay off the internet yeah that’s a good one stay what does success look like to you I think success is relative to what we we want right it really depends on what your personal goals are mm hmm success is different for everyone I think I just want to be happy and I want to feel like I’m at my full potential like that’s one of my deepest fears I think is I feel like right now I’m at like 25% max potential and part of my frustration my head is like I know where I could be but I’m not there yet because I have so much to learn so I just want to continue I guess yeah one day maybe I’ll reach 60% of Iraqi how would you describe like where you want to be there’s some skill sets I want to learn like I want to be better at tracking and recording myself mmm I’ve I write pretty traditionally like I sit down with a guitar and I literally rip it out and I like build songs and I record them on my phone but I don’t like use a DAW or thing I don’t like tab it out yeah I literally memorize everything so it’s a bit slow but it ensures that you like learn it solidly and you’ll never forget it because that’s how it used to learn piano kind of amuse the same way so I would like to learn how to better record when it would be cool to make like a steady living off of what I’m doing I’m doing all right but I still like worry about money one day I just don’t have to worry about it and I can just focus on art like I think that’s truly a privilege I’m privileged now because I feel like I have time to do our like you know a lot of people they love art they love music they love being creative but they have 9 to 5 desk jobs that prohibit them from that and I’m lucky in that I used to have that but I don’t have to so never take this for granted yeah I think about it I’m just like holy like what does love mean to you ah love is pink love is is unselfish I think it’s when you just want what is best for the other person even if it doesn’t benefit you think if there’s one word to describe love I think it is unselfish and I think sometimes love means not getting what you want which goes back to being unselfish and being patient yeah yeah I don’t know it’s it’s different the servant Isis left yeah that Almighty sends easy I don’t know about love last question what you want to be remembered for um I would hope that I so one of my goals is when I meet people I always want to leave them in a better place than when I first met I just want to like give them something you know I like to give keys mm hmm so I think when I die I would like people I hope people think I was a nice person and that I did what I could to better the world another sounds really like you know Miss America well you know but like I really do hope you know people don’t think that I took something I want them to know that I tried to contribute as much as I could yeah because I think that’s important like you know if people take you know people like her others I think it’s important to just like you know do something that benefits the world and gives people tranquility mm hmm I love that this is awesome thank you so much ..

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Comment (1)

  1. Wow this interview was really awesome. Yvette is so down-to-earth and hyper aware about her positionality as a creative artist and how much artistic freedom she has. Critical thinking like that and self-reflection is really impressive and really deserves respect. She’s so inspiring I love her so much fuck I’m in awe

    Edit: can’t wait to see covet in Seattle!


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