We asked Yuna what she’s up to – she answered. Marie Claire talks to the singer-songwriter who is the first Malaysian to be nominated for a BET (Black Entertainment Television) award for her duet with Usher.
You began writing songs when you were 14. What were you drawn to writing about?
At the time I was struggling with bullies. I was always a confident kid, but at 14 the kids were just so mean to me. I was writing a lot about that, how I really just want to be my weird self without kids calling me names.
Are there any backstories to the songs you’ve written so far – can you share some with us?
Time was a song about my childhood how I discovered that I could sing – my mom was very supportive of this and spent a lot of time taking me to auditions and singing contests. I wasn’t always winning, I’ve been said ‘no’ to all the time, but my mom always said ‘it takes time’. The song just talks about how I went through all these setbacks in life, but I just know, in time, everything will work out.
You’ve once described your music as “a cross between Mary Poppins and Coldplay”. Is R&B the genre you currently identify with?
Yes! I love all kinds of music, but I think R&B is something that I love doing at the moment.
Do you see yourself venturing into other genres?
I don’t know. Not really, I feel like I’ve tried it all – folk, rock, indie, R&B, and electronic.
What is your favourite part about touring?
Meeting the fans. The experience is different every time, even when I come back to the same city, the crowd sometimes grow into a bigger one, and that’s always exciting to know – that your music is reaching more people.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Vocal warm ups, hot tea, phone calls to my mom and boyfriend.
Where is the place you call home, and what do you miss most about it?
KL of course. I miss it all the time. I’m close to my family, so I miss just being at home and having lunch with them all, we would have a huge feast when we’re together.
Your third album Chapters recently turned one in May. What’s next for you?
I’m working on a new album right now, just taking time with it as I’m still in the process of working with a different producer; I’m busy coming up with new designs for November Culture, my clothing store in Subang Jaya; and I might try acting in the near future… who knows! The sky is the limit.
Images: Aimanness Harun, Xposureman