Violinist Yuli Is Defying Expectations And Changing Perspectives Through Music

As soon as she picked up a violin for the first time, Yuli knew it was the instrument for her. The musician has been playing violin since a young age, but her passion for the music meant she was the kind of kid who never had to be told to practice. Now, years later, Yuli tells Uproxx how she hopes to defy expectations and show that violin “is for everybody.”

For Uproxx’s New Normalists series presented by Instagram, Yuli explains that she began playing violin by accident. Hailing from Detroit, she got involved in her public school’s music program in second grade where she was presented with the option between several different instruments. Yuli was revolted by wind instruments upon seeing their spit valves, so she instead picked up a violin as her instrument of choice.

Though she’s been playing since elementary school, Yuli knows that people don’t expect her to be a talented violinist upon seeing her. “When most people think of violin, viola, they think it’s a certain class that you can’t be a part of,” she told Uproxx. “I’m a Black woman, I’m playing this instrument. Maybe you haven’t seen this but you’re going to enjoy it and you’re going to feel connected to it. I want to show people that this is for everybody.”

As a seasoned musician, Yuli is most proud of her craft when she plays for kids. “I love to make them aware that there are people who look like them who can play these instruments and do it well,” she said. Though she does enjoy “changing people’s perspective” with her craft, she always remains her most authentic self — no matter what.

Watch Yuli detail her passion for violin in Uproxx’s New Normalists series above.