Rising Pop Singer/Songwriter Nicky Youre Talks About His Big Hit “Sunroof,” And His Breakthrough This Year
In the music industry, it’s always been known that a special hit song can help launch an artist’s career. The latest example of this is the breakthrough success that singer/songwriter Nicky Youre is now having with his debut hit single, “Sunroof.” This extremely fun, upbeat, hooky song has catapulted Youre into rarefied air—the Top 5 on the prestigious Billboard Hot 100 chart. Only a few times a year does a newcomer reach so high on the Hot 100.
Youre, who is 23, released “Sunroof” last December (2021) on the independent label, Thirty Knots Records. The single quickly made an impact on TikTok, and steadily grew in popularity. It wasn’t long before Youre’s success attracted the attention of Columbia Records, and the label signed him.
“Sunroof” has now spent 17 weeks on the Hot 100 chart, and could be headed to number one. It’s already been #1 on the Billboard Pop Airplay and Adult Pop Airplay charts, and it’s moving up the charts in many other countries including United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore and Belgium. Notably, Youre has also reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Songwriters chart.
Recently, Youre built on the success of “Sunroof” by releasing a new EP called Sunroof Remixes. This EP contains Youre’s collaborations with several top artists on this song. There are fresh new versions with country star Thomas Rhett, rapper/singer 24kGoldn, reggaeton artist Manuel Turizo, and DJ/producers Loud Luxury. The EP also includes Youre’s acoustic version of “Sunroof.”
Youre grew up in Orange County, California and he started collaborating with music producers during high school. He then attended Golden West College in Huntington Beach, where he wrote & released his first indie single, “Sex and Lemonade.” After two years there, he transferred to UC San Diego for his remaining years of college. And it was during his senior year at UC San Diego that he truly hit his stride—making new friends, developing his songwriting and collaborations, and graduating.
Here’s the video of Nicky Youre & dazy’s hit, “Sunroof.”
Currently, Youre has been writing & recording several new songs, and he’s introduced snippets of some of these songs on TikTok. He is getting ready to release the follow-up singles to “Sunroof” when the time is right.
In addition, Youre has been performing “Sunroof” with his new band, and he performed the song on the Today show on NBC, and on SiriusXM Hits 1. He looks forward to playing more shows and touring after he’s released his nre songs.
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Nicky Youre. He tells how he got started as an artist & songwriter, and how he wrote “Sunroof.”
DK: I read that you’re from Orange County in California. How did you get started with music and writing songs?
Nicky Youre: Yes I’m from Aliso Viejo in Orange County, and I played water polo for 12 years of my life. Then in high school, I met a friend who who played guitar, and he knew that I liked to sing because I’d sing in the locker room and at practices, just for fun. And one day he was like, “Hey, I’ve been making music, making beats. Do you want to hop on any of the songs?” We were good friends at that point, so I was like, “Of course. Let’s try it and see what happens.” I fell quick for the whole process of writing, and working with someone else collaboratively on projects. It was a good overall experience, so that’s when I knew that I wanted to keep doing that and see if it was something that I could do. It took about three years for me to find my sound. Before pop music I was making electronic dance music, but once I found pop, I was like…that’s the lane I want to be in. And I’ve stuck with it ever since.
DK: When you’re writing a song, do you usually come up with the melody and lyrics, and then work with a producer who creates the beats and tracks? Or when you write with other people, do you do everything together?
Here’s a video of Nicky Youre performing “Sunroof” live.
Youre: It varies. For “Sunroof,” I wrote that song fully on my own, without a track. Then after that happened, I sent it to my producer, Dazy. I gave him some inspiration ideas and song references and what I was going for. In other cases, I’ll be there with him, helping. I can’t produce but I can play a mean mouth guitar, so I’m good with melodies and things like that that.
DK: I read that you attended UC San Diego, and you graduated there. Can you talk about your college years, and working on your music while you were there?
Youre: I went to Golden West Community College for two years, and I played water polo there. That’s when I got into making music a lot more with my buddy, Garry (Tichy), who made “Sex and Lemonade” and my first songs. That’s when I realized that I wanted to do pop music.
After those two years I went to UC San Diego, but I didn’t really have any producer friends there. So I took a break and I was just writing random things like I did with “Sunroof,” not really sending it to anyone. And it wasn’t until “Sunroof,” because I was like…This was too cool not to send it to someone. So that’s when I met Dazy, and I thought…I might as well send this and see what happens.
That’s how it happened in college. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna keep doing music because I was feeling low about how I’d hadn’t been able to make anything as good as my first song at the time. I was in a weird place mentally as well. It wasn’t until my senior year at UCSD, where I had the best year of my life, with new friends and all this good stuff, that I broke out of my shell and thought…I might as well give it a go while I’m young.
DK: When you put out “Sunroof,” did you already have a following because of your earlier song “Sex and Lemonade,” or were you still unknown at the time?
Here’s the video of Nicky Youre & david hugo’s recent song,
“Never Go Wrong.”
Youre: Before “Sunroof” came out, “Sex and Lemonade” had about 500K to 800K streams. At the time I was like…There’s no way I’m ever going to do that again. But “Sunroof” has far exceeded that. And once I made “Sunroof,” that was the moment where I thought…I could really do this as a musician. Now that I feel confident again in my writing, and doing production with my friends, that was the moment for me.
DK: What inspired your to write your song, “Sunroof”?
Youre: I think for me, I don’t really write with intent. I write based on emotions and how I’m feeling and things like that. So at the time, I was probably in the best mental health place that I’d been in my life at that point. With some of my best friends, and graduating from college, and getting a job with Dell Technologies, I was like…I can do music now because I have a job to support it. I was feeling really good. So when I tried writing “Sunroof,” it just flew out of me. I remember saying, “I got my head out the sunroof,” and I was like…Oh that’s so cool. I don’t know where this came from, but I’ve gotta keep it. And I think with all my best songs that I’ve written so far, I’ve kind of pulled them out of thin air. That’s how a lot of my friends in the industry describe it—like there’s always songs above us, like floating. Sometimes you pull out a really good one and sometimes you pull out a really shitty one (laughs). That’s just how it is, and I guess I gor lucky with a good one that day.
DK: Were you an independent artist when you first put out “Sunroof”? Or were you already signed with Columbia?
Youre: I was signed with an indie label called Thirty Knots at the time, which was run by my management team. So I was signed with them, and after a couple months when we were at 50 million streams (with “Sunroof”), that’s when we signed with Columbia to help us take it as far as we could. And they’ve done everything that we wanted and it’s been a great partnership between the two of us.
DK: You recently released your Sunroof Remixes EP. I like the new remixes with Thomas Rhett, 24kGoldn, Manuel Turizo and Loud Luxury. How did you hook up with those artists and create these new versions of “Sunroof”?
Here’s the audio of Nicky Youre & 24kGoldn’s remix of “Sunroof.”
Youre: Each of them had a connection with someone from my management team, and I already had a connection with (the production duo) Loud Luxury. I think the first one we had was with 24kGoldn, and he’s one of my favorite rappers and artists. I knew that he’d be an amazing fit for it and he was down for it, so it was super easy for that one. Then we decided we wanted to do more remixes and [these artists] were all down to give it a try. It was very natural and easy, which made me really happy as an artist, to share a song with some of the greatest artists right now.
DK: Currently, are you working on new songs to put out as singles or an EP?
Youre: Yeah I’m working on new stuff pretty much every day. I have a bunch of new stuff right now that I’ve been keeping on TikTok, so people can go there and see what I’m putting up. I’ll be putting out a new single, and then after that maybe another single, and then maybe we’ll do the EP. I think we’re still deciding things collectively as a team, to what we want to do and how we want to approach it.
DK: Do you use TikTok a lot to get feedback from your fans?
Youre: Yes, absolutely. I think right now, TikTok is the most powerful free tool that we have. We had already posted “Sunroof” on TikTok before it came out. It was on TikTok and people really liked it, and that was the sign that this was the right song to put out. So I think that’s every artist’s goal to post their music on there. To have a little moment and know…this song is what I should do next because it feels good and people are telling me it feels good.
I definitely think TikTok is like a testing ground, but it shouldn’t be a final say on what happens because it’s hard to consistently get videos to do well. People with millions of followers still get videos that don’t do well at all, because of the algorithm. So it’s hard to say that putting a song up and it doesn’t do well, means that it’s not going to stream well. So you have to go with your gut and still be the artist and decide what you want to put out.
DK: You’ve been playing live shows, and I saw your performance on the Today show. Can you talk about your live shows and your touring?
Youre: Yeah absolutely. Right now, we have a drummer and a guitar player, and we’re having as much fun onstage as we possibly can. I want my shows to be as fun as possible, and a place for people to vibe and party and sing-along. As for touring, nothing is planned quite yet. I still want to put out some new music before I start doing my own tour. I want people to be able to sing-along to all my songs. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a supporting act tour next year. I’m brand new to this touring thing, but I absolutely love playing live and I want to do more of that this year.