During their years working as a journalist, Jabril Yousef helped shine a light on hundreds of the people who help make the city an interesting, unique, vibrant, and special place in their appropriately named “Milwaukee Stories” independent media outlet. Along the way, Yousef found themselves gravitating back to their artistic roots and wanting to share their story with people for a change. Much of that story is on full display in WILD LOVE, Yousef’s newly-released debut album, which the non-binary Arab-American songwriter calls a journey of self-discovery.
That revealing artistic expedition takes place over the course of seven songs, which ably combine the seemingly clashing folk, electronic, and pop genres into one impressive and altogether enjoyable package. Album opener “Electric” sets the tone with Yousef’s captivating auto-tune-tinged melodies and pulsing production from their lifelong friend and Los Angeles composer Isaac John (aka DMT of Pharaoh Mac & DMT). The pair also join forces on “Boxes,” an upbeat and uplifting pop anthem about inclusion and the stripping away categorization that’s currently on our short list for Milwaukee’s best song of the year. “Only 17” and WILD LOVE‘s title track address themes of young love and lasting affection, respectively, with a mix of powerful instrumentation and vulnerable vocals.
By the time emotional closer “Heart Out” takes this stunning, wide-reaching effort in for a smooth landing, listeners are left feeling as if they know a little more about this reformed writer-turned-musician and, just maybe, like they’ve learned a little about themselves in the process. Jabril Yousef will formally release WILD LOVE at NŌ Studios tonight. The release show can be attended in-person or streamed.