Marquette Student Tim Yello. Is Your New Favorite Local German Artist

Tim+Decker%2C+a+graduate+student+in+the+College+of+Business+Administration%2C+poses+on+a+Marquette+themed+blow-up+chair.+Decker+is+a+student+from+Berlin%2C+Germany+and+produces+music+under+the+name+Tim+Yello.

Photo by Tim Decker

Tim Decker, a graduate student in the College of Business Administration, poses on a Marquette themed blow-up chair. Decker is a student from Berlin, Germany and produces music under the name Tim Yello.

Earlier this month, Spotify wrapped was released and revealed users’ top artists and genres. Thinking back on your listening history, have your top artists been musicians of international celebrity? Or have you spent time supporting small, local (or not so local) musicians?

A musician that has been right under our noses here at Marquette this semester is Tim Decker, a graduate student in the College of Business Administration. Hailing from Berlin, Germany, Decker can be found on Spotify under the name Tim Yello. (with a period at the end).  Decker got his start at around age five at a local creative center in his suburb that offered acting and classical singing classes to children.

“I am first and foremost a singer,” said Decker, who first studied under an opera singer.

Around the age of fourteen, Decker began his career as a self-taught producer. Teaching himself from YouTube videos, he learned to produce music for four years before he felt confident to release his first single. He described his music as a blend of pop and R&B, with some electronic influences. Some of his inspirations include The Weeknd, James Blake and Sampha.

Producing his music entirely electronically, except for the vocals, Decker uses plug-ins and plays the melody and baseline on a keyboard. He also frequently collaborates with producers from other parts of Europe such as Denmark, France and the United Kingdom, whom he has met online. His collaborators send him beats, and Decker will write songs over them.

“The producers I work with are always very happy to have the opportunity to work with a vocalist,” Decker said.

He describes the production process as going back and forth until it’s a song rather than just vocals over a beat.  Decker said he is very dedicated to making his music sound perfect. He will often listen to a song from multiple devices to make sure it will sound good through headphones and speakers alike.

“The mastering is what hinders success,” Decker said.

When it comes to writing lyrics, it all starts with a topic for Decker. “For me personally, it’s finding a topic, and then writing lyrics,” he said.  Decker sings a small part and records, and, eventually, a song happens. Often, his songs are freestyled off the top of his head, but sometimes the lyrics are written down as notes.

Decker’s latest single, “dot (is this enough?)” is a collaboration with producer Deadclaw and was recorded the week before he left for his semester in Milwaukee. The song is about hesitation when it comes to conveying an important message.

This song and his other releases can be found on Spotify, where he hopes to be putting out more frequent content in the future.

In fact, Decker already has another song lined up to record when he returns to Berlin this month. His future plans and aspirations include finding new helpful collaborations and getting a foot into the music industry.

“It’s not about mass,” Decker said. “It’s about finding the right people, not a lot of people.”

He also hopes to gain experience and confidence performing live, as he lost many opportunities to do so due to the pandemic. Decker said we can expect to hear more music and collaborations from him soon, especially after the inspiration and excitement of experiencing a semester abroad.

As you start curating your playlists for the new year, consider supporting a (somewhat) local artist and add some of Decker’s music. Maybe you’ll hear a hint of Milwaukee in his upcoming releases.

This story was written by Grace Flynn. She can be reached at grace.a.flynn@marquette.edu.