Artist Biography: YT by Pauzeradio Pr Services.
YT, born Mark Hull and hailing from Ipswich in the East of England, has cemented his reputation as one of the UK’s most recognisable names in the Reggae and Dancehall genres in recent times.
His love of Jamaican music and culture has been the main force that has guided his artistic journey. From touring to producing countless recordings including an impressive string of hit songs, this UK legend has consistently interspersed his work with politically and socially conscious messages. He is widely respected among his peers including the legendary broadcaster and renowned selector David Rodigan – who called him “an original and inspiring social commentator”.
Born to humble beginnings after an unsettled childhood, his musical voyage began in Ipswich in the 1980s. YT used to practise on the mic and make tapes at a local MC’s house. People in the area heard the recordings and started to talk about this white boy who had some talent. Then, one night in 1987 the leading local Ipswich sound system Ashanti was playing at the Ipswich Caribbean Club. One of the members called YT up to take the mic. Despite being nervous, he performed in front of a crowd for the first time – and they loved it. From that night, YT was part of Ashanti.
From here he took the skills he had developed on the sound system into the studio and began recording – notably with local label Eastern Records, London based Progressive Sounds and Leeds Dub legend Iration Steppas.
By 1999 YT had firmly established himself in the UK. He sought to further his career in Jamaica, where he began to record at some of the iconic studios such as Joe Gibbs’s, Big Ship’s, King Jammy’s and Stonelove’s. As a result, he began to gain some traction in the Reggae/Dancehall space which culminated in him getting on the line up for the iconic Jamaican stage show Sting in 2004 – to a rapturous reception which gained him respect on a global level, and led to a full schedule of touring across all Europe’s leading Reggae festivals, headline shows across South America and appearances in the US, India and South Africa.
The roster of musicians and producers who YT has worked with over the years is ever more impressive: ranging from UK acts like The Prodigy, Congo Natty and Shola Ama; many of the leading names from Jamaica like Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Spragga Benz, Agent Sasco, Baby Cham, and pretty much a complete Who’s Who of the UK and European Reggae scene.
But it is his back catalogue, beginning in the 2000s, which has cemented YT as an artistic force to be reckoned with.
His 2006 debut album Straight Outta Britain, released on his own imprint Sativa Records, spawned two hit tracks: the 7/7 bombings-inspired Wicked Act, and the chart-topping, Dave Kelly riddim-based England Story. It also earned YT an Urban Music Award for Best UK Reggae Act in 2007. 2009 saw him release his sophomore album, Born Inna Babylon – again to critical acclaim. Revolution Time followed in 2012, and in 2016 YT released No Wata Down Ting via Mungo’s HiFi’s Scotch Bonnet label – once more receiving huge airplay and acclaim.
His most recent release was the Moment For Change EP, co-created with German powerhouse label Oneness Records. Mr Topple of Pauzeradio said of the project:
“It’s no understatement to say that Moment For Change may be YT’s seminal work… Him and Oneness have created a technically brilliant, artistically gorgeous project.”
YT’s instantly recognisable style has become one of the most well-known in UK Reggae. He’s a very versatile artist – being able to perform both straight vocal and singjay with ease. But it’s his lyrical content which really stands out. YT is able to carve complex narratives into accessible sermons that discuss love, life, politics, the system and more. Instantly relatable, his skills as a wordsmith are on a par with any other UK act.
So, what does YT hope people take from his work? He said:
“I aim to uplift and inspire people with my music; the same way I was inspired when I first started listening to Reggae. It means a lot when people tell me that my music helped them through a hard time in their life, or a particular song or album was part of their growing up. That’s when you realise it’s actually so important. And it motivates me to keep going and pushing quality music out there”.
It’s fair to call YT a pioneering artist. From his musical shoots in a small English town, he’s an artist that has branched out to have a truly global reach – and all the while grown, then blossomed. The future looks bright for YT who seems an unstoppable force in the world of Reggae culture.
YT Biography written by Pauzeradio PR Services (7th August 2021).