Doncaster's Yungblud on his world tour: Protecting fans and managing his mental health

In Yungblud’s suitcase is a stash of Yorkshire Tea. The Doncaster-raised pop-punk rocker carries it wherever he goes. This link to his roots has become an important comfort amongst the madness of life on the road.

He picks up the phone from a remote ranch-cum-recording studio in Nashville where his only neighbour is an alpaca he has named Charlie.

The chart-topping artist, real name Dominic Harrison, describes himself as “British through and through” and is almost apologetic that he has decamped to the US to record.

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“The producers I’m working with out here are my dream producers. I needed to be out here.

Yungblud in concert in Cardiff as part of Yungblud: The World Tour. Picture: Tom Pallant.Yungblud in concert in Cardiff as part of Yungblud: The World Tour. Picture: Tom Pallant.
Yungblud in concert in Cardiff as part of Yungblud: The World Tour. Picture: Tom Pallant.

“It’s kind of cool, man. Everybody is listening to your secrets in London, everyone’s listening to your secrets in LA.

“They are wondering what you’re doing, and they might nick or steal it.

“But when you’re right in the middle of cowboy town in the desert no-one (cares) – and no-one’s here.”

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Yungblud, 25, has carved a careful path between pop stardom and anarchy since the release of his debut album in 2018.

Yorkshire artist Yungblud in concert in Cardiff. Picture: Tom Pallant.Yorkshire artist Yungblud in concert in Cardiff. Picture: Tom Pallant.
Yorkshire artist Yungblud in concert in Cardiff. Picture: Tom Pallant.

He now has two number UK one albums under his belt and a legion of fans, who he calls his “family”, known for their enthusiastic moshing and tendency to camp out outside his shows.

Now preparing his fourth record and playing a series of international arena dates, he is keen to stress the size of the Yungblud brand does not mean he has disconnected from fans.

“We’re playing to 15,000 people a night now,” he says. “How can I make every single person feel seen?”

He tells me his ongoing motivation is: “I owe it to them.”

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The theme of mental health has been a constant in Yungblud’s music.

Many fans coalesced around his experience of bullying growing up, where he was terrorised for daring to wear eyeliner.

He recently took time away from social media and drastically reduced his public appearances in a bid to reset before embarking on the new record.

“I had been going for five years and this brand of Yungblud and this family has got so big and so beautiful,” he muses.

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“I just wanted to look back on it and feel it, because if you don’t feel it, what are you doing it for?

“If I don’t feel it I’m telling lies. I never want to tell lies. I always said that. I think I’m the one person in my family’s life that doesn’t tell them lies.

“They don’t tell me lies – I don’t tell them lies. That’s the point. And I just wanted to get away and make the best album I could.

“I feel like I earned it. I feel like I earned a break. I’ve been going for five years and now I’m literally getting ready for the biggest time in my life.”

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Yungblud is prone to sweeping statements about the power of youth and the importance of authenticity.

“I genuinely believe we are the best live rock and roll act in the world under 30,” he says, deadly serious.

“If I’m saying stuff like that we’ve got to deliver it, haven’t we?”

Yungblud also has some choice words to describe Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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“He doesn’t listen to the kids,” he says. “I will be making statements on this tour about him, and that’s all I have got to say on that matter.

“Young people are not happy. We deserve to be listened to.”

For this run of live shows Yungblud has teamed up with Show Support to provide specialist mental health support for fans.

This means there will be “safe spaces” with access to qualified mental health professionals to help with issues such as panic attacks and anxiety.

This support will expand beyond the show itself with a dedicated email helpline for any queries related to mental health before, during and after.

“With Yungblood we have to set an example,” he explains.

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“I never (cared) about being, in inverted commas, a traditional rock star or pop artist – whatever that means.

“This was always about the community, it was always about initially me seeking help and being like, ‘Hello – is there anyone out there like me?’

“So our shows, it’s not just coming to see a gig. That’s why the kids are out there three days before camping outside.”

He joins a growing group of artists, such as Billie Eilish, who have introduced measures, and even halted concerts, to ensure all attendees are safe.

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On his UK stadium tour he has built the stage out like a festival in order to create a safer environment for fans. He has also beefed up security.

“I want to really set an example because the energy is missing in music,” he adds.

“I believe that as artists sometimes the responsibility isn’t there.

“I want people to be able to go as nuts as possible without thinking about what has happened in the past.

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“I want people to be able to feel safe, feel themselves and feel free. That’s all it’s about.”

He directly references the tragic events of the Astroworld Festival crowd crush of 2021, where 10 people died during and after a show by US rapper Travis Scott. “I don’t want to go to a gig where no-one is jumping and no-one is vibing because they are afraid of what they have seen on the news,” he says.

Looking to the future, Yungblud hopes his new record reinvigorates his fans.

“It’s dangerous. It’s full of energy. Music needs a bit of energy right now. It’s a bit sleepy.”

– Yungblud: The World Tour continues through Europe and ends in Kansas City, Missouri in July.