Rising Star Yung Nasa on the accident that changed his life

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Yung Nasa's album Not Cool Never Was is all about how his whole life he felt like the outcast.
Yung Nasa's album Not Cool Never Was is all about how his whole life he felt like the outcast.

A few years ago, no one knew who he was as he was still trying to find his feet in the South African music industry. But Jamie Ollerhead (26) known as Yung Nasa can no longer be categorised as a newcomer in the music industry.

His debut album Box Of Chocolates earned him respect as an international artist.

He is played in the US and is a big deal in the UK. His recent album Not Cool Never Was with the single Know My Name featuring J Molley is a fan favourite. 

The album Not Cool Never Was is about how my whole life I’ve felt like the outcast, somebody who is just a little bit more different than anyone who seemed to be around me,” Yung Nasa tells Drum.

“I used to hate that growing up but the older I got the more people I connected with that have had similar experiences to me.”

He says this has become his superpower.

“Not being cool and sticking to our own ways is the new cool. This project is my coming-of-age story. This project is about my relationship with music, friends, and family but most importantly about my relationship with myself. We write our own stories and portray them the way we want,” he adds.

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Born in Durban and based in Cape Town, Yung Nasa struggles to classify his music. “I don’t have a clue how to classify it but it’s a new age sound,” he says.

“I try to make movie-type of soundtracks. Call me the new age rock star.”

He has always been musically inclined from a young age but his passion was sparked by a tragedy.

“I’ve always loved music. I used to produce house music from as early as 13 years old. I moved to America in 2012 and that is where I found a love for different genres.” 

In 2017 he was forced to move back home after being diagnosed with epilepsy.

“I moved to the USA in 2012 and moved back in 2017 because of epilepsy. I was living by myself in the USA, and I wanted to be around a support system. I needed my mom nearby to be able to take care of my medical needs,” he says.

As a motocross racer who often got into accidents, he got diagnosed with epilepsy after a few head injuries. 

“I had quite a few motocross accidents that started affecting my brain. I had more than 20 concussions. The trauma of hitting my head so many times then led to epilepsy.” 

But his health is in becoming better by the day and he is not allowed to do motocross.

“I can’t say I’m completely cured but I’m a lot better than before and I found how to maneuver around epilepsy.”

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While going in and out of the hospital, a friend made him listen to the music of Pretoria rapper J Molley.

“I found J Molley on the internet. I was down and out at the time. Someone showed me this kid on the internet. I wasn’t riding motocross at the time. I then met up with him at a house party and we clicked,” he says.

“He has become like a brother to me and very supportive. We used to live together, and he is a really good guy. He takes mental health and brain trauma seriously as he has dealt with his own issues of depression and mental health.”

His music is inspired by what he listened to while growing up.

“I listened to a lot of old school music when I was growing up; Simple Plan, Blink 142. Now I listen to a lot of Manu WorldStar, Burningforestboy who is on his own world and inspires me to stay in my own lane.”

This year he plans to travel to the US and the UK.

“I have some friends that I plan to go see in Los Angeles. My music is really big over there and where I get played mainly. On this side, the Amapiano big dogs are eating all the food, which is good for them. But I like the idea of having an international footprint. But South Africa will always be my home, my base, and everyone I love is here.”

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