“Yung Love” is the lead single from Inner State 81’s debut album, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. The song takes a beautiful sample in “Young Love” by Teena Marie and is updated in a new key with modern, energetic drums and a unique, EDM inspired song structure. The young talent seamlessly melds the sample to create his own fusion of indie, hip-hop, and electronic soul music. His work can be described as psychedelic indie-hop that sets a soothingly polarizing tone, providing listeners with a song for an array of moods – from partying to relaxing.
Inner State 81 is the electronic brainchild of University of Pittsburgh junior, Tucker Nicholas. Conceived by 808s and oscillators, Nicholas began producing over winter break 2016-17. Raised by parents who were avid music listeners, he grew up listening mostly to music from the 70s/80s/90s, as opposed to the contemporary music of the time. As high school progressed, Nicholas was persuaded by a friend to get a Spotify subscription. After having access to unlimited music across all decades, Inner State 81 began to develop an affinity for hip-hop music, and the wave of trap music being spearheaded by RL Grime & Baauer.
From ages 9-12, Nicholas briefly played the saxophone & stand-up bass but quit during his middle school years. In high school, he picked up DJing after listening heavily to Diplo & Friends mixes on BBC Radio 1. IS81 was also heavily influenced in style and sound by Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, Diplo, and Mura Masa. These artists all brought something unique to the table that Nicholas sought to emulate in his own way. After deciding to take production seriously halfway through his freshman year of college, Nicholas began to throw concerts with other college artists in Pittsburgh under the moniker “Inner State 81”.
This past spring, Inner State 81 spent 4 months studying abroad in London where he worked at Blow Up Records, a British record label in East London. Under the mentorship of iconic BritPop DJ Paul Tunkin, he performed at British clubs on three separate occasions. During this time, he also developed a friendship with playlist curator and viral twitter sensation @TEEJUS___ . This friendship helped his music to get picked up in Spotify Discover Weekly playlists & other algorithms. This newfound popularity has helped Nicholas to catch the ear of several industry executives at Interscope Records, who await the release of his July project “A Midsummer Night’s Daydream.
Inner State 81’s production style has been described as eclectic & seamless, encapsulating yet polarizing. His current style has been shaped from influences such as Kanye West’s signature Chipmunk Soul, J Dilla’s sampling talents, and Kaytranada’s effective production abilities. Nicholas combines his love for Jazz & Soul music with his love for Hip-Hop and Electronic music to form a new fusion of genres most alike to artists like Griz and Pretty Lights. He describes the idea behind the project as “taking beautiful music from the past and updating it to add new energy through energetic drums, percussion, and bass-lines to offer a new unique version that keeps the younger generation interested”.