One of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic vocal talents, there’s little the dexterous Youngman (Simon Smith) hasn’t achieved success in, with a career only just beginning to bloom.
An artist with more strings to his bow than many veteran players in the biz, Youngman has blazed fire as a vocalist across the drum’n’bass, R&B and bassline scenes, extended his creative and entrepreneurial skills by designing his own successful clothing range – Peng People – and spearheaded a new education scheme Music & Life Workshops. Life is certainly hectic for this Youngman, but it’s just the way he likes it.
Indeed for Youngman, you’re only confined by your imagination when it comes to artistic endeavors. It’s a mantra instilled in him since a young age and hardly surprising when you consider his father is none-other-than the legendary drum’n’bass DJ/Producer Simon ‘Bassline’ Smith.
As a singer, Youngman has been flexing his prized pipes since the age of 5, and performing professionally since the age of 16, having turned his back on a promising DJing career to focus on exhibiting his remarkable vocal abilities. No one could argue his decision hasn’t paid dividends. A prodigious talent, Youngman dived headlong into exploring his musical passion, his natural talent seeing him involved in early collaborations with the likes of Drumsound & Bassline Smith in 2004 as well as studio dates with Skibadee, Bounce, DJ Q and among others.
In 2007, Youngman’s career took a further leap forward when he relocated to London from his hometown of Derby. Juggling a Business Management course at the University of London and an intense production schedule, he cemented his status as a firestarting MC in the drum’n’bass scene with his own self-titled EP on Bryan G’s Chronic Records, along with the king-sized ‘Body Pump’ completed with Drumsound & Bassline Smith. The latter yielded massive industry support and were heavily rotated by Radio 1’s Annie Mac and Zane Lowe.
At the same time, the multi-faceted vocalist was pushing all the right buttons in the bassline scene, as one of the genre’s pioneering spitters. Along with playing the scene’s biggest events, including Sily City, Bassline Heaven and Movement, Youngman was knocking out production winners. Enter the belter ‘They Call It Bassline’ completed with Wynn & Smith, that went on to feature on several of year’s biggest compilation releases, including Ministry Of Sound’s ‘Garage Classics’ and All Around The World’s ‘Addicted To Bassline’.
Spreading his wings a little further Youngman cut his musical teeth in R&B and hip hop also, with his silky smooth vocal stylings catching the ear of Canadian-based producer Natural (from production company Natural Born Hustlaz), who recognized his razor sharp talents and signed him up to a production/management deal.
When Youngman dropped his debut mixtape ‘Who I Be’ in late 2008, he’d officially arrived as a ‘triple threat’ in the music industry. The offering, produced entirely by Natural Born Hustlaz, saw him negotiate between smooth soul-satisfying ballads and club-driven head-nodders, with Youngman receiving acclaim from all corners of the urban industry, as he appeared on Kiss100, Choice FM and BBC 1xtra.
With the hype continuing to build, Youngman is currently collaborating with rising BBC 1xtra’s Crissy Criss on their debut album ‘Give You The World’ set for an early 2010 release. With Skream, Benga, Mistajam, Caspa, Rusko, Chase & Status, Adam F, among others, all getting behind ‘Kick Snare/Pimp Game’ (an early sample from the album), the signs are there for it to make a devastating impact upon release.
What ‘Kick Snare’ also represents is Youngman’s first major impact on the dubstep scene. The track shot to no.1 on numerous charts and already looks set to be one of the genre’s biggest tracks of the year. No surprise that Youngman is now a marked man in the dubstep scene and has production dates locked in with Benga and Jakes.
Meanwhile, Youngman’s career also continues to thrive in the bassline and R&B scenes, with a collaboration locked with B15 Project – one of the UK’s most respected Garage producers, together with a number of projects in the works with Natural Born Hustlaz set generate heat throughout the industry.
Just as skilled in the live domain, as he is in the studio, Youngman was voted runner up in the 2008 Drum and Bass Awards in the ‘Best Breakthrough MC’ category, having proved his performance mettle over the course of the last 5 years.
Having toured throughout Europe and the UK, both as Technique Recordings’ resident MC and as a solo artist in his own right, Youngman has smashed it up at One Nation, Slammin Vinyl, Innovation In The Sun, Kings Of The Jungle, Herbal, Fabric, Ministry of Sound, whilst jet setting to play at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Budapest’s Sziget festival, Urban Art Forms (Austria) Creamfields (Liverpool) Nocturnal (Los Angeles) and the Belgian festival, Tommorowland.
As ambitious as he is creative, Peng People – his clothing label - continues to thrive. With threads from the ‘Crissy Criss & Youngman’ collection being worn from Czech Republic to California, Youngman’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of music stars also never waivers, with the artist pouring time into the Music & Life Workshop aimed at introducing more young people to the ins and outs of the industry.
With so many projects on the boil, there’s no doubt the future belongs to Youngman and we are likely to hear much more of him as his creative outlets broaden in the years to come.