YAHTO KRAFT turns heartbreak into triumph

with his debut single “UGLY”

 Watch the lyric music video HERE

Single out now across all digital platforms HERE


(Photo credits : Henning Marko Swanepoel)


The name YAHTO KRAFT is soon to be on everyone’s lips when his powerful debut single Ugly drops today, Friday 17 April.

Written by Yahto with Matthew Marinus back in 2016 when he was just 16 years old, he took an experience of heartbreak and turned it on its head, writing a song that is fast becoming an anthem of sorts for those who have been downtrodden and victimized, encouraging them to believe that “you are enough” and giving them hope and inspiration to live to fight another day.

With strong pop and rock elements and its catchy beat, it’s the profound and inspiring words that capture your attention. Ugly was performed at both the 2018 and 2019 Born To Perform’s SHINE! Concerts by Yahto and was undoubtedly one of the key show-stopping moments of each performance.

Yahto, now 19 years old, explains how the song came about:

“Ugly started all the way back in 2016 when I was 16. I was going out with friends and we were doing things we definitely were not supposed to and kissing people we weren’t supposed to. It just so happened that the boy I kissed was my crush for the longest time, so I was absolutely on top of the world! The next weekend we decided to do it all over again, and I thought he and I were going to turn into one of those couples you see in a movie but, alas, it flipped and went from a cheesy rom-com to a horror movie. When I tried to kiss him again, he just looked at me and said: “Dude, I was desperate and gone, you’re not my type, you’re fat and ugly.”

 He continues; “Needless to say, my little heart was absolutely shattered. I went home and put my feelings into words. Thus, Ugly was born. I took this raw piece of work to the incredible Matthew Marinus and he helped fine-tune my lyrics into an actual song. I then was offered the opportunity to perform the song at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City. This arrangement (arranged by the incomparable Brian Schimmel) was very big and theatrical, perfect for the stage. I got to perform this version again in 2019 at The Teatro at  Montecasino. This will forever be a defining moment in my career.

I got to perform my own song that I wrote on a stage that I’ve dreamt of since I was a child, wearing something I sewed myself. I got complete free reign over my performance, and it felt incredible. The amount of personal growth I’ve experienced since writing this song is astronomical, and I owe it all to this one song, and I knew I had to share this song with the world.”

 After seeing the overwhelming effect Ugly had on the 2019 Born To Perform’s SHINE audiences with many of them sharing their own stories afterwards, or those of their children, saying how hearing the lyrics of Ugly helped them deal with their own situations, it was a no-brainer for the team to take the decision to release Ugly as Yahto’s debut single.

The song has been re-worked into a more glam rock space since these performances, with influences such as Queen and The Darkness.

Says Yahto: “I wanted people to relate, not only to the lyrics but to the feeling of the song. This song has a more anthemic rock n roll edge to it, this time round. This song now sounds exactly like it does in my dreams. It makes you feel nostalgic, with its glam rock flicks, yet it is completely new and now. It has some Queen in it, some David Bowie, some Alanis Morisette, some Janis Joplin, some The Darkness, but a whole lot of Yahto. 

He continues; “It’s massive, it’s raw, it dares you to look your heartbreak right between the eyes and say ‘You don’t scare me anymore’.  It’s not about my singular experience anymore, I don’t think it ever was. It’s a song about resilience. It’s a song about taking back your power. People like the boy who broke me don’t realize the weight of their words. It makes me shudder just thinking about what others went through in a similar situation. “

 Co-writer Matthew Marinus of Upstream Worldwide adds his voice; “Yahto is not just a world-class singer, he is someone that knows how to dream and communicate his big picture idea to his team and its very exciting to be working alongside this young dedicated visionary.  The reason for this single is so much more than just a nice tune, as no-one wants to feel alone in their despair and I think this song might just save someone’s life one day.”

 UGLY is now available for download on all major digital platforms HERE

UGLY – Lyric Music Video

The decision was made to go with a Lyric Music video concept.

Matthew Marinus explains; “This is not just your ”regular” pop/rock song; the impactful lyrics led us to the easy decision of rather going with a lyric video. As you read those words while listening to the song you will realise even more, the power behind the inspiring words and be moved by it. I believe that Yahto will become one of the inspiring voices of his generation.”


Watch UGLY  Official Lyric Music Video on YOUTUBE HERE

Yahto concludes by explaining why Ugly means so much to him;

This song is now for all of us. Those of us who have been broken and beaten down, not only by a significant other but by society’s perceived ideologies of what we should be and what the world wants us to be, it is for anyone who has ever been seen as different or other. It’s for the outcast.

This song is for everyone to jam to. Get in your car and yell the lyrics with the windows down. Dance naked in front of your mirror and feel at home in your own body. Listen in bed when you’re feeling at the end of your rope and just have the song give you a hug and let it whisper in your ear “you are enough, you are strong and you are you”.

I hope this song brings us together as one massive family but also makes us as individuals fight back and take back our thrones. Claim your crown and be your own version of you. This is what Ugly is and was, and I hope you all love it as much as I do. 


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Press release provided by The Colab Network




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