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Julian Schmit, better known by his stage name “Schmyt,” is a newcomer to the German music scene in 2021. He’s actually not a blank slate, though, musically speaking. Starting in 2013 he was a member of the Berlin band “Rakede,” which—among other things—also collaborated with established musical greats such as Samy Deluxe and Seeed.
When the band split up in 2020, Schmyt decided to go solo. Even with only a year under his belt, he’s found groundbreaking success in this endeavor. In April 2021 Schmyt signed an exclusive publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing (UMPG). Since then he’s released his own tracks and features with artists such as RIN, Haftbefehl, Majan, Megaloh, and Yassin. In addition, he’s had several high-quality music videos and sold-out concerts throughout Germany. So it's time we took a closer look at Schmyt.
Schmyt is definitely not a run-of-the-mill artist. On all platforms he is described as exceptionally talented and his sound is described as groundbreaking for the German music scene. But what actually distinguishes Schmyt? In order to answer this question, it is worth looking at the individual components and their composition in his music. Of particular interest are his vocals, production, lyrics, and genre.
Schmyt’s extraordinary singing abilities are definitely noteworthy. His voice is characterized by a large range and a versatile sound from determined to brittle, rough to delicate, clear to washed out. Schmyt also masters technical vocal skills (including riffs, runs, belting, vocal fry and vibrato) and uses them skillfully in his songs. We don’t know if he’s self-taught, or if he’s done vocal training, but one thing’s for sure: he knows how to use his voice in many different ways.
The production, for which none other than Bazzazian is personally responsible, is also outstanding. The Grimme Prize-winning producer from Cologne (known for his collaboration with Samy Deluxe and Haftbefehl) skillfully accompanies and complements Schmyt’s voice with expressive beats and baselines. Autotune, voice distortion and spatial sounds are style-defining elements in the fusion of the two artists. Production and singing complement each other in a way that is unparalleled in German-speaking countries.
Schmyt was the primary songwriter in his previous band “Rakede” under the name “Triebwerk 1” or “Engine 1” and continues to write his own lyrics as a solo artist. The breadth of his narrative style ranges from brutal honesty to vague or poetic hints that are open to interpretation. In the song “Keiner von den Quarterbacks,” for example, Schmidt relentlessly and vaguely tells the story of an outsider: of bullying, conflicts of belonging, and a lack of humanity.
There are also literary references in this track, for example to the “gray gentlemen” from the anti-capitalist youth novel “Momo” (by Michael Ende from 1973). The analogy “is that a gold chain or is that a rope” reinforces a political interpretation of the piece and also throws a negotiation of outdated images of masculinity into the conversation. This can also be found in other lyrics by Schmidt—sometimes more explicitly, sometimes less.
Schmyt doesn't stop at wordplay either, as you can hear on the track “Niemand” (meaning “Nobody”). The lyrical ego takes on the external designation of “nobody” and doubles the possibilities for interpreting the text. This creates two readings that are in complete contradiction to one another. See for yourself:
Nobody has problems with it / when you come, when you go Who you laugh with, who you sleep with / Nobody, nobody hurts Nobody breaks / hangs in the club until nine in the morning Acts cool, but howls in drunkenness / Nobody wants you back Don't talk to / trust nobody Love nobody / sleep with nobodySchmyt, “Niemand” (“Nobody”)
Refined, isn't it?
Closely interwoven with the classification of the lyrics is the fundamental question about genre, which is not easy to answer. Schmyt is perceived as both a singer and a rapper. In terms of sound, his music can probably be categorized as “Cloudrap.” In terms of songwriting, however, this label isn’t quite accurate. The message is too deep and well thought-out, while other Cloudrap artists design their lyrics associatively or even somewhat empty in terms of content. At the same time, the classification into the pop genre is far too imprecise for what Schmyt delivers musically in his tracks.
It seems as if there is simply no precise term for what Schmyt is actually doing in music. He defines his own style with no regard for the established genre boundaries, and is perhaps the forerunner of a new musical genre that many other artists will certainly join.
Schmyt seems to be an artist who, after a great deal of preparatory work, has finally found his own musical language. Although he is still relatively unknown at the time of this article (September 2021), he has already built up a solid fan base that anticipates his big breakthrough soon.
Schmyt is currently working on his first album, which, according to the artist, will be released sometime in spring 2022. In May Schmyt will go on tour with his new album, which bears the legendary name “Niemand kommt” (meaning “Nobody Comes”). If you want to see it live, you should definitely hurry up—the tickets for Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig and Cologne sold out in just a few days. You can check here whether there are still any available in your city.
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Originally published on November 23, 2021, updated on May 20, 2023