Nominated as a finalist for Studio Brussels’ De Nieuwe Lichting in 2018, which previously awarded Belgian artists like Tamino, 22 year- old Jonas Steurs’ project Yusuf is focused on international recognition. In an interview for De Morgen, Steurs is quoted as saying that his “…strategy is not simply making Belgian music.” Already understanding limitations of the electronic music scene within Belgium, he sees potential for reaching a greater audience. After releasing debut single, “Sins,” in 2017, Yusuf followed up with a five-track EP, “Balm,” on 7 September 2018.
Emotionally charged, Steurs’ music is winning over local tastemakers like Wilde Westen and, most recently, Fifty PR‘s Fifty Fifty Session – where Yusuf opened for Steven Spielberg’s daughter, Sasha (Buzzy Lee). Incorporating cinematic elements found in artists like Woodkid, Yusuf’s style balances vivid dramatic elements with a precise composition. This delicacy is particularly true in “Filth,” found on the latest EP. Other similar music groups include Son Lux, James Blake, Ry X, and Lo-Fang. Steurs self-describes Yusuf as “biblical electropop” with influences from Amongster, Bonobo, and Bon Iver” (Nieuwsblad).”
With a noticeable improvement from “Sins,” “Balm” is a success in Steurs’ ongoing experimentation. Dansende Beren, takes note with a 4/5 star rating – “With Balm Yusuf serves us a more than successful debut….which they prove that even in the increasingly popular genre there is room.” A current music student at PXL in Hasselt, Belgium, Jonas Steurs is joined by Florian Buysschaert (drums & keys), Laurens Mannaerts (keyboard), and Clémence Clarysse (cellist) to form Yusuf. With so much inspiration and talent surrounding Steurs, Yusuf’s musical journey is only beginning.
Watch a clip below from the FiftyFifty Session, followed by “Balm,” and live performance photos.