Singer YUMI explains how curve modeling gave her an ‘ego boost’

Officially signed to Wilhelmina Curve at age 14, the now 21-year-old singer and YouTube personality, YUMI, is ready to show the world her talent.

Her new single, “Ego Boost,” released with Dim Mak last week, is a soulful, electronic, R&B track written about a toxic relationship. YUMI’s lyrics carry an emotional honesty that offers a refreshing sense of clarity to her listeners. Worth the listen, Ego Boost can be found here.

We sat down with the model and artist to discuss her new music, her ego boost, and more. Check it out below!

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You’re involved in modeling, music, and being a youtube influencer – what’s your favorite part about having all of these outlets at your disposal?

I feel very lucky to have the outlets that I do, and each one is equally important for different reasons. For modeling, the most amazing part is being able to work with incredible teams of talented artists and models around the world, which varies day to day. I’ve been lucky enough to create lasting friendships and connections, and I get to travel!

Music has a deeper meaning for me as an outlet for a wild range of emotions. Most importantly, it has always been a form of therapy, offering me comfort in painful situations when nothing else could.

My favorite thing about YouTube is the voice it has given me and the platform I have created for myself, which I wouldn’t have otherwise had. It’s also amazing to be among a creative community, and to be able to expand a dialogue and interact with people I might not otherwise be able to.

How did you get started doing so many different things?

My family has an incredible drive to succeed, and I feel that’s built into my system. I’ve always had a long list of things I’m passionate about, but by pursuing them at different stages of my life, each one has had its own space to incubate, and I feel lucky now that they are all lining up. Everything I’ve done has led me to this moment.

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Do any them come more naturally to you than others?

Music has been a constant for as long as I can remember, like giving concerts for my family as a 7-year-old. Of course, there are ups and downs, but being creative musically has always felt natural.

How has your relationship with your body changed over the years?

My relationship with my body has done a complete 180. Starting in middle school, I loathed the way I looked, and even at my skinniest I never felt like it wasn’t enough. I was obsessed with weight goals, thinking that each time I met one, I would be happy with myself and be able to wear what I wanted.

It took a lot of self work, but when I finally let go of my impossible standards, I finally felt free, and I radiated happiness. When you’re in a toxic mindset for a long time, it’s impossible to know how bad it has become, because it changes your definition of normal. I feel grateful for the normal I have created for myself now.

Did being signed to Wilhelmina curve change your mindset at all? How so?

When Wilhelmina signed me as a curve model at age 14, the body inclusive industry was tiny. They have not only been supportive of growing the diversity of the industry, but also personally supportive in many stages of my life. Most notably at 16, when I held impossible standards for myself, it was my agents who helped me realize that all sizes are beautiful and mine was no exception.

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For anyone struggling with their relationship with their body, do you have any advice to overcome that?

The most important advice I could ever give would be that no one’s journey will be perfect, and we all have our days when we feel less-than. I probably have more bad days than good, but it’s how we react to those situations and combat those thoughts that make the difference.

The way we talk to ourselves can change our whole mindset, and improve how we view ourselves. My confidence comes from looking in the mirror and telling myself that I am beautiful, even when I don’t feel like it, until I do.

How did you discover your musical talent?

I first started singing lessons in middle school, but even after 2 years, I couldn’t hear a difference. My voice was nasally in general, and breathing out of my nose was hard, but I never knew why and thought it was normal. It wasn’t until I had it checked by a doctor that I found out I had enlarged adenoids blocking my airflow, and when I had those (and my tonsils!) removed, my voice all of a sudden was free, and the years of singing lessons finally applied.

What is “Ego Boost” about?

I wrote “Ego Boost” about a toxic relationship my best friend was in at the time, when the guy she was seeing was also still involved with his ex. I naturally draw a lot of inspiration from my friends and my world when writing, and even though I have never had a boyfriend, I feel like I really experienced the pain and frustration with her.

What do you want people to take away from your forthcoming EP?

This EP is an intro to who I am as an artist. I would love for people to be able to use my music as an inspiration or an outlet, or as a tool for anything they need in their life.

Your family tree is pretty INSANE – what’s your favorite part about having such a multitalented fam? How did it influence you?

I am so lucky to have the family I do. I’ve only understood the impact my grandfather left on the world as I’ve gotten older, like the significance of Benihana as a global restaurant chain. I always thought that his work ethic and successes were a normal life standard, especially as his children have all followed in his footsteps by achieving their dreams in full force – never giving up and never stopping, even after they’ve ‘made it.’

My uncle Steve has also been a huge role model to me, and it’s incredible to have been taken under his wing this past year, signing me to his label and making time for me in his insanely busy schedule whenever I need it. He is the most genuine, big-hearted human being and seeing him stay true to that through all his fame and success has been the biggest inspiration to me on my own path.

What are some of your talents/hobbies/etc other than modeling and music?

I love the process of making YouTube videos, and having an open dialogue where I can share my life digitally has been both fun and intimate. I also love fashion and being able to incorporate it into all my projects and my daily life, but I would love to have my own line or collaboration some day. Streetwear and modern styles are amazing, but it’s almost impossible to find things that fit me as a plus size girl. I’d love to have a store where people of any size could find things without compromising on style.

Who are your main musical inspirations?

I love Syd, The Internet, Billie Eilish, Soulection, Sabrina Claudio, Honne, and a lot of other talented artists in the alternative R&B genre. I’ve always been inspired by finding and listening to underground artists. There are so many talented undiscovered producers with small followings, it feels like a treasure hunt. I can’t even remember the last time I listened to the radio.

What’s your favorite album of all time?

I tend to only listen to individual songs from a huge array of artists, and finding a whole album I love is extremely rare. Right now that rare album is Honne’s “Warm on a Cold Night.”

Where can we find your music?

Youtube, Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes!

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