Over the course of the last few years, it seems addiction has taken a new stronghold on young artists entering the industry. For Yoshi Flowers, it seemed that drugs and rock n’ roll were one in the same, a dangerous requirement in exchange for a once in a lifetime opportunity– “All my life I wanted to be a rock star and do what rock stars do.”
This turbulent path we’ve seen all too well, began not soon after Yoshi signed with Interscope Records in 2018. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Yoshi was finally bringing his lifelong aspirations to fruition, quickly becoming a rising star in the industry, and performing on stages at Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Made in America. From the outside it seemed like the beginning of the artist’s prosperous career– however, Yoshi’s addiction was slowly costing him everything, robbing him of the creativity that once inspired his sound.
In an effort to save his own life and work on his sobriety, Yoshi took a major step back from performing and releasing music. A year into his recovery, he parted ways with his label and management company, marking the beginning of his latest project, ODE.
ODE was created as Yoshi’s emotional tribute to artists who have tragically lost their lives to the struggles of addiction. The 5 track compilation consisting of tracks from artists such as Lil Peep, Juice WRLD, and Mac Miller, is profoundly healing, as Yoshi sonically transforms these artists most significant works into something gloriously eternal. To ensure that the impact reaches beyond emotions, all proceeds from ODE will be donated to organizations and recovery programs for those struggling with addiction, and mental health.
Yoshi’s latest track from ODE, Good News, is the artist’s most recent cover of rapper Mac Miller’s original song from his posthumous album, Circles. Miller’s Good News dealt with the expectations a lot of us are met with to smile and nod, ignoring the enormous pit in our stomach that threatens to swallow us whole. Yoshi trades Mac’s more muted syncopated production in favor of a subtle acoustic sound, paying tribute to the vulnerability that permeates Mac's original arrangement. His toned down vocals sublimely complement the somber atmosphere of the tune, filling the silent breaks with his subdued, but emotive tone.
What made Mac’s Good News so intricately personal was his ability to lyrically represent such intense emotion in a beautifully enlightening manner. He acknowledges the shortcomings of those who can’t understand the harsh realities of what Mac himself faced everyday in his struggles with addiction and mental health.
Yoshi keeps this sentiment at the core of his cover, reinventing Miller’s track to continue on his legacy. Now, with no formal influence from big corporations to fit the rockstar lifestyle, Yoshi is creating the music he once turned to at the darkest points in his life– music that inspires, rehabilitates, and lets his fans know this too shall pass.
By Cassidy Copenheaver