Q&A with Malaysian Songstress and Fashion Trendsetter, YUNA!
Posted On 10 Apr 2015
Tag: Aaliyah, All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Banks, Broods, Clean Bandit, Come Back, Decorate, Disclosure, Frank Ocean, Hozier, Jhene Aiko, live your life, Malaysia, nocturnal, novemberculture, Pharrell Williams, Rescue, Sia, Singer-Songwriter, Take Me To Church, Thinkin Bout You, yuna
Allow All Access to introduce you to the very talented Malaysian singer-songwriter, Yuna. She is the first artist from her homeland to conquer the American market in fact. Her songs are personally charged, deeply felt yet melodically irresistible.
She has released three studio albums and numerous EPs and singles. She is most well known in the US for her albums Yuna and Nocturnal.
Learn more abut this talented singer in the following exclusive interview:
I am a huge fan of yours so I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions for me. So when did you first decide that you wanted to be a performer? Was it hard for you to close the book on your future in law? Why did you think that wasn’t the life for you?
I think I’ve always been in love with music, its just that I didn’t have the opportunity to pursue it professionally at a young age, which was fine because I really wanted to focus on school. Naturally, I got into music again when I was in law school, and the experience was different at that time, because I started writing songs.. so I figured that this was something that I have to do. I graduated in legal studies and then pursued my career in music.
How have you grown as a musician since you started?
A lot! I’m so blessed, I learn new things everyday and I’m always trying to do better as an artist, musician, businesswoman, and as a person. I really enjoy how colorful your clothes always are.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
I guess from fashion blogs? Magazines? But mostly I just love to walk around and find something that I feel like would look good on me and just get it. My mom is also my biggest influence.. I say this because when I’m not too sure with what I’m wearing, I’d ask her opinion.
I recently watched your music video released for “Come Back”. It’s beautifully shot! So, what exactly is a “Come Back Machine”? ☺
Haha! A machine that enables you to come back to the colorful side
What music are you listening to now? Any new artists out there that you are loving currently? If you listen to radio, is there anything that you can’t get out of your head now?
I love Jhene Aiko. I think she’s very talented. Banks. Broods. Clean Bandit and Disclosure. On The radio, Hozier’s “Take me to Church”. Its on the radio all the time and managed to make me a fan.
Where do you get the inspiration for your music? Can you describe your writing process?
It depends.. I don’t have a formula.. I just write whatever comes naturally. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to write with you rather than just working on your music alone. I love working with my producers. Sometimes we just talk for hours and take like.. 2 hours to finish a structure of a song. When you don’t stress out so much about a song, I believe you’ll write something very relaxed and real.. something that’s not pretentious. That’s why its important to be comfortable with the people you work with.
A few years ago, you worked with Pharrell Williams for your song, “Life Your Life”. What was it like working with him and what did you learn from him?
It was so much fun! He was a wonderful person to work with and very talented. I still can’t believe I got to work with him. I think he kinda inspired me to explore different genres of music and not just stick to one thing.
Yuna Featuring Pharrell Williams- “Live Your Life”:
Why is this lifestyle of traveling/touring and performing one that works for you?
Haha I’m not sure yet if it is the life that works for me. I still want to settle down, have kids, and hopefully still be able to make music and touring.
Living or dead, who is a musician that you would love to work with?
I would’ve loved to work with Aaliyah.
How is it being so far away from a lot of your family and friends in
Malaysia? Does your family come to visit you often? Was it tough to make that huge location change?
It can be tough sometimes, but it’s kinda nice to have your own space sometimes. And in LA I have my own place and I’m able to be creative.. Although I do miss my family terribly, but it just puts you in a different perspective when you’re away from your family for work. You just have to work twice as hard because you sacrificed time with your family to do your work. But yea, sometimes my parents come out here. I love having them around!
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something quirky that’s taken place with your band (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
Haha being hit on by girls and guys!
Any pre-performance rituals?
Texting my mom.
What’s your favorite song of yours to sing and why? Do you have a favorite song to cover?
“Decorate”, probably because I perform it just the way I wrote it, on my guitar and nothing else. My favorite song to cover is Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You”. I will love that song forever!
Tell me why you post your fans drawings and paintings of you on your Facebook and Instagram? How did that get started? About how many of them do you get a day?
A lot! I’m a huge fan of art. I love painting and sketching and I feel like it would be a waste to not share these beautiful fan art to everyone, it’s not easy to find pure talent!
When you aren’t performing or writing new material, what do you like to do for fun?
Working on my online store, novemberculture.com! I love fashion, and I’m so happy that it’s growing!
In a recent interview, you were quoted as saying “I feel like there’s no point in making music if it’s not beneficial”. Can you elaborate on that? How exactly is your music beneficial to you?
Beneficial to the human race! And i think it’s an important mindset to have, so that you don’t just make music for money, so that whatever you make will not be disposable.
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
Calmness and a sense of self.
What’s next up for you? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20+ years?
A mother, 2 sons, a wonderful husband, a nice house with a beautiful porch and a really cool in house studio where Sia and I will hang out (we’re not friends but I’m assuming by then we’d be best buddies.)