Yugy Onyekwe stood on a busy Los Angeles street near Chinatown, while his sister, Dobi Kwe, sat in her London home studio, working on songs for the upcoming year. Despite their busy schedules – split between London, New York and Los Angeles – the brother-sister SYBS duo sat down for an interview about their new song, “Motivation.” 100 percent of proceeds from pair’s new single, released on December 8th, will benefit relief efforts in Puerto Rico, according to the SYBS website.
Back in the early to mid-2000s, Yugy played professional basketball for Spain and Israel. During his career, he injured his right knee and had five surgeries in four years. In a commentary video about the song, Yugy explained how he watched the team play from the sidelines at practice one day and thought about the things that motivated him to push past these injuries. This eventually led to the song’s first draft.
“I was asking myself, ‘Why do I keep doing this? What’s my motivation and reason for getting injured and continuing to try and come back again just to be frustrated?’” Yugy said.
Dobi loves the challenge of writing songs about real life stories with which both Christians and non-Christians can identify. Her love for storytelling appears in the music video, which follows the stories of two characters: Reese Scott and Coss Marte.
Reese, a well-established creative director in the publishing world, found her job unfulfilling and instead opened the first female-owned boxing gym in NYC – the Women’s World of Boxing – where she has trained thousands of women.
Coss accumulated almost $2M as a young drug dealer and was eventually sent to jail, where he became a personal trainer. After his release, Coss launched ConBody Live – an online, prison-style bootcamp – with the help of Defy Ventures.
Dobi described how these characters demonstrate determination amid adversity.
“They really cool stories – going from one thing to another. Lots of struggles they would have gone through, but came out the other end just by persevering and through belief in what they wanted to do,” Dobi said.
Although they don’t sing Christian music, SYBS hopes their music uplifts, inspires, and challenges people to pursue their dreams. Trying to be the best version of herself and using the talents God gave her motivates Dobi.
“In everything I do, my ultimate aim is to feel like I’m enriching the lives around me, and in doing that, enriching my own,” Dobi said. “Being the best version of whatever God has intended for me and making him happy in terms of the way I live my life.”
Whether it’s basketball or music, Yugy feels the same and hopes to live life with no regrets, even if it means learning from mistakes.
For someone who has lost motivation, Dobi would recommend that they take the time to figure out why they do what they love and understand it for themselves, instead of going through the motions or following someone else’s dream. Dobi has struggled with lack of motivation to pursue music at times and explained how changing her mindset gave her motivation.
“If you have that mindset shift, then it will be so much easier to be able to be motivated because you know you can achieve through effort rather than through this innate ability to do something or not be able to do something,” she said.
Through Reese’s, Coss’, Yugy’s, and Dobi’s stories, “Motivation” provides an encouraging and positive message in a competitive world where people often experience disappointment. SYBS encourages others to find the motivation necessary to push past obstacles and go for the gold in the race of life.
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