Friday, 25 August 2017 15:36

Nabila Musa

 

Fit the Bil

Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 24 August 2017)

SOME singer-songwriters took their first steps into their craft in their teenage years, while others like Nabila Musa – or Bil Musa, acquired a knack for it much earlier on.

"When I was around 11, I wrote a few songs in Malay. Those were probably the first songs I wrote on the piano. I wrote some prior to those, but unfortunately, I don't remember them any more because I lost my original lyric book," the lass said sheepishly.

The first song that made her mark in the Malaysia music scene was a cutesy song called The Beach, which she wrote in Bahasa Malaysia, English, and French. Little did she know she would be signed to Yuna Room Records, a label owned by home-grown international musician Yuna Zarai.

"The thought of doing music this way never occurred to me. She (Yuna) contacted me and offered me a contract, and gave me a month to think about it. I followed my gut feeling and called back two weeks later, and told her that I wanted to do it," she said.

The idea of putting her music out publicly was so far-fetched for her that she only began to show her compositions to other people in her mid-teens. In fact, even extended family and friends were kept in the dark about her musical talent!

Firstly, how did that shy girl got signed to one of Malaysia's most enviable labels?
I was performing at a friend's brother's wedding. Yuna's manager was there, but at that time, they had someone else signed to them. It was a year before they contacted me, and the rest is history.

I was a really private person; and I honestly never thought of doing music, apart from the few small restaurant gigs that I had done. It was a scary step to take because I need to expose myself and let go of my privacy – and I was worried about my family and friends getting picked on my internet trolls and stuff like that. But it was a risk that I must take.

Was that the biggest struggle?
Definitely. There is always feedback when you put something out and expose yourself this way, which can be a good thing.

Unfortunately, sometimes it is just a lot of personal attacks – attacks on family and friends, on the way I dress, or the way I sing, and so on.

For example, I posted a picture on Instagram of a yoga class I participated in, then someone commented something like "do you know it's against Islam to do yoga?" It's just stupid things like these.

People outside of the public eye already get comments like these, what more when one's in it. Thankfully, however, I have not gotten a lot of those.

Do you see yourself doing singing-songwriting for life?
That's a good question; I don't know. I go in and out of it – I really want to give it my 100%, but sometimes I still have doubts of whether I can do it. I have doubts about it being my career, but I try to think of music as something that I do as I pursue other things.

What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on my new album. It carries the kind of sound that I have been wanting to do from the very beginning.

When I first started out with my EP, I was unsure of what I wanted and was only feeling out this music thing. The music I had on SoundCloud was acoustic, folksy and cutesy.

This album is completely different. The songs have simple sounds, yet are deeper, with darker lyrics. It is more electronic, than acoustic.




Published in Biographies
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 15:56

Alex Bong

Honestly singing

Article from the Sun daily by Peony Chin (posted on 22 June 2017)

IN this digital age where millennials shine best, it’s refreshing to see more youngins emerging in our local music scene in varied genres. One of them is Alex Bong, or better known as alextbh; lower case and all. He officially debuted as alextbh in March 2016, when he released his first soulful single, “TBH”. Since then, the young Sarawakian has been slowly but surely gaining popularity, performing in popular gigs around town such as Urbanscapes, and soon to come, in Good Vibes Festival 2017.

How did you get started with music?
I was playing around with musical instruments a lot and when I got my iPad as a gift at the age of 15, I began fiddling around with the GarageBand app.

Afterwards, I proceeded with more professional softwares, but it didn’t really get me anywhere. I was still learning a lot from YouTube videos. Everything I know was selftaught, although I do have a musical background in the piano.

What made you want to make music?
It was my breakup. After ending my relationship, I needed a cathartic release, so I started writing music. It was the perfect time for me to experiment and also figure out which sounds I was really into.

I channelled all my emotions into designing the music, when it hit me that, oh, I was actually really good in making music.

You’re going to be performing at Good Vibes Festival 2017.

How do you feel about going on an international platform like that?
For me, I tend to treat big stages just like any other stages I perform at. Whether I perform in front of 500 people or 10, I still see it as a performance.

Honestly speaking, I do that because I don’t want to get myself too nervous too. I tend to have a lot of anxiety when it comes to performing in a public space, especially if there’s a massive crowd.

What inspired the “tbh” behind alextbh?
Firstly, it’s a millennial thing. Putting “tbh” behind my name adds the millennial element into it, and it’s also because I used to say “to be honest” very often.

Ironically, I don’t say it very much nowadays because I realised that I’ve been saying it too often.

We notice there’s a lot of “millennial pink” going on in your singles album art, and your social media. Why pink?
It’s just embedded in me. I love the colour, and I love colour schemes. I love when things are in order, and I love a unison colour, hence I chose pink as my main element, so people can associate my brand easily.

You are part of the new wave of young Malaysian musicians who are releasing music independently without a music label. How do you feel about it being so much easier now to be part of the industry without going through the traditional means like before?
Being a musician is definitely not a farfetched idea these days; every element is easily accessible to you. From the music-making software to distributing your music through streaming platforms, it can all be done at home and by yourself. I guess the only thing I’m struggling with right now is selfmanagement, but other than that, I definitely see the benefit of staying independent and not relying on labels as the body that backs you up.

What do you think of the current local music industry?
I love it. We have a huge surge of creative, independent musicians out there, and they make really different kinds of music compared to what you’d hear five years back. Back then, you’d usually associate local music with bubblegum, ukulele type of music.

There wasn’t much innovation going on, but these days we hear people making techno, drum and bass, jazz, electro-jazz, funk, hip hop, and more. There’s definitely a wide array of genres, and I feel really humbled. I stepped in the scene at the very right time when all the different artistes are starting to come out.

Published in Biographies
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 00:00

Jocelyn Stemilyn

 

Junk food for her soul

Article from the Sun daily by Peony Chin (posted on 15 November 2016)

JOCELYN TAN, or better known by her stage moniker Jocelyn Stemilyn, may have been around in the local scene for a little over a year but she has always been surrounded by music her entire life. Growing up near a sugar cane plantation in Perlis, Tan’s family played multiple instruments.

“My mother sang, and even my then domestic helper played the guitar!” quipped Tan, who also sang, played music and danced in church.

Then, she left for Kuala Lumpur to pursue her theatre studies in University of Malaya. It was here that she joined its music club, Yao Lan Shou Music Composing Unit and started singing and composing music.

She debuted last year with her song Junk Food, produced by Dae Kim, with whom she frequently performs. Tan, who veers towards electronica and ambient music, recently released her new single, Pedicure.

Can you recall the first song you ever wrote?

I was 15 years old when I realised I could write songs. I’ve forgotten the title, but it was a song of gratitude towards my friend. It was for a very close friend of mine who left the country to study. She was my closest companion in school and I felt very sad. Hence, I had the urge to write a song for her. I recorded and sent it to her.

How did studying theatre in University of Malaya open your eyes to the world of performing arts?

Those three years of my life were interesting. Perhaps we’ve watched too many Hollywood flicks or Broadway musicals, so we had a certain expectation towards performing arts. But in Malaysia, it’s way tougher – it’s not always like Broadway.

Sometimes, you have to do really raw, stripped down, and even traditional plays. In a way, it broadened my horizon because I always thought I wanted to be a musical actress, but then I realised that performing is not just about singing and acting. It’s a lot of other things – you need to know how to work the props, lighting, and all the technical bits.

How does your background in theatre influence your music today?

It helps in the way I express myself, especially during live performances. People have commented that when I perform, I have a certain persona with one song and a different one with another.

What’s your opinion on the local independent music industry, as a newcomer?

More and more people are doing music independently. There’s definitely more variety, more shows and it’s more interesting; there are new faces all the time. So far, I feel that everyone is very supportive; we usually talk to each other at gigs and have a good time. The circle is still really small and everybody knows everybody. But I’m glad that it’s expanding. People are also more open about cross-genre music.

What has been your most memorable performance to date?

When I performed with Dae Kim at Findars’ ELECTRIC DREAMS back in August. It was a small event, but the attendees were very relaxed and open-minded. When I jokingly asked everyone to stand up for my song, they actually did! They moved along to my song Pedicure and stuck around chatting with each other after the show. It was a very heart-warming show which we don’t get very often, to be honest.

TRIVIA

Favourite coffee beans: Kuda Mas.

Musician you look up to: Little Dragon.

A purchase she’d make with her first million: A house by the beach.

Favourite beats per minute (bpm): 120.


Published in Biographies
Friday, 15 July 2016 00:00

Tan Yon Lynn

 

Singing the blues

Article from the Sun daily by Jessica Chua (posted on 14 July 2016)

AS the eldest child in a traditional family, Tan Yon Lynn feels like the odd one out as she chases her passion in performing arts. Although she's been singing since she was five, Tan was never professionally trained.

"I learned a lot from my choir teacher in secondary school. She was strict, but she gave us an ideal environment to learn music. Even so, I never saw a future in music because I had so much doubt and insecurities," the Penangite revealed.

When she came down to Kuala Lumpur, the 28-year-old discovered music theatre company Dama Orchestra, where she was exposed to music theatre for the first time. The whole concept was so new and mesmerising, it inspired her to attend acting workshops and dance classes, opening her eyes to the industry's pool of talents.

"Being able to perform is a crazy part of my life because I get to be someone I'm not. You get to explore things that you don't go through in your daily life," said Tan, who's an assistant producer at a TV production company. From singing solo on stage, to performing in musical ensembles, Tan went on to play the coveted role of Rapunzel last May, in a local production of renowned musical Into the Woods. Although she doesn't plan to pursue theatre full-time – yet – she definitely sees herself performing for the rest of her life.

When did you first discover that you could sing well?

It was less of acknowledging that I can sing well, but more of wanting to sing. That's why I'm always doing it – singing is something that I do for self fulfilment. If I don't sing, everything gets bottled up inside, and I'd feel funny. Come to think of it, it's not really a dream come true. I'm tired, my body's tired, and I'm singing off-pitch;but I feel happy being able to express myself.

Tell us about your role in Into the Woods.

Rapunzel is not a princess. She lives in a tower contained by her mum, who happens to be the witch. The only human interaction she has ever had is with her mum. It's a sad story because the witch is doing everything for her daughter, yet it ends tragically because Rapunzel becomes crazy.

This is an interesting and complicated role because it deals with our relationship with our mothers. I'm grateful to be in Rapunzel's shoes. I could relate to her; always wanting to chase things while being contained in your environment – an ideal world versus reality.

What challenges do you face in performing?

I always feel like I could invest more time in my craft, going for classes and things like that. Here in Malaysia, we have not achieved a balance when it comes to performing full-time, and not having to worry about how much you earn.

Everyone is pretty much freelancing – getting as many jobs as possible to pay the bills – and at the same time, creating and expressing themselves. It's tough but we have to do it with the right goal, building towards what's best for the local art scene.

Personally, I hope to better manage my time to focus on what I'm able to deliver, and do things that I like. As much as you want to stretch yourself, rest is important for the state of mind. I always ask myself, 'Is this what I want to do consciously, or am I doing this out of habit?'

Any words for aspiring performers who are afraid to take the leap?

Take your time to discover who you are – it will lead you to what's meant to be.

If you're constantly distracted, you can't listen to yourself and you'd be doing things mindlessly. Things will happen at the right time so don't rush into it, and don't get agitated if nothing happens. Live in the moment.

 

Published in Biographies
Friday, 17 June 2016 00:00

Jo Ann Choo & Jeannie Lee

 

Electrifying beats

Article from the Sun daily by Michelle Lim (posted on 16 June 2016)

IF there's ever a time when music can be produced without creative limitations, that time is now. One of the many self-producing artistes of the current generation is the two-women band, +2dB.

Despite hailing from the same home state of Penang, Jo Ann Choo, 27, and Jeannie Lee, 26, only met each other in Kuala Lumpur through a mutual friend.

"We formed our band in 2011, and made a few tracks together which we shared on SoundCloud. Soon after we released a few of our tracks, we scored our first gig for Shock Circuit, held at
Black Box, Publika," recalled Choo.

The duo epitomises music makers of the new era – artistes who do not rely on a record label or studio to create music. Indeed, most of +2dB's music is recorded and produced in Lee's living room.

Choo laughed, adding, "At times, we get some external noises like rain, traffic and construction. That's okay though; we think they give a unique touch to our music."

Splitting their time between work and music-making is part and parcel of being an independent artiste. Although Lee works part-time as a barista, and Choo works in advertising, both have learnt to work around each other'sschedules to make time for music.

"We tend to take it easy. It's only when we have an upcoming gig that we'd rehearse more often, just so we don't make a fool of ourselves onstage," Lee confessed.

So, why the name +2dB?

We started off without a name and needed one urgently after we scored our first gig. We wrote down a few names and told our friends to pick one, and they picked +2dB for us.

We think it's because this name has the most electronic feel to it since 'dB' technically stands for decibel.

What would you say your genre is?

Experimental. We have all kinds of sounds in the mix – electronic, down tempo, pop ambient, house and so on. We try to play with as many different sounds as possible.

Tell us about your creation process.

We start by creating the beats first. Once we have that, we'll add in the melody, before finally fitting in the lyrics. Our workflow is sort of backwards, but we prefer to craft the sound first and then wrap the experience around it.

Who does what?

Jo Ann taught herself to use the musicediting software, and she has also done a course in sound engineering. Jeannie was classically trained on the piano so she's able to work with the melody.

We each have our own specific talents, but we take our turns in doing everything.

What's your take on online music downloads and streaming?

Most artistes hate it because they don't make money out of it, but our strategy is to make money out of our shows rather than our songs.

Providing free downloads and streams to our fans helps create a buzz, and honestly, it's a give and take situation.

Last year you went on your first international tour to South Korea. Tell us about that.

It was so unexpected; we got an invitation from Merit & Wave, the organiser. We played in three major cities: Daegu, Busan and Seoul – it was a great experience. Everything was amazing; the vibe, culture, setting and the people.

That sounds super fun. What about the least fun moments in your career?

Oh man, that was in 2014 when the Future Music Festival (FMFA) was cancelled. We were backstage and ready to go, but found out that it was cancelled at the last minute. It was a lot of wasted time and effort for us and all the other artistes who were performing that night. That same
year, the Good Vibes Festival didn't happen either, which was a bummer.

What's +2db's dress code?

All black! We try to play with different pieces – flowy skirts, long maxi dresses, kickass black boots – but everything's black.

What is the next big thing for +2db?

There is a music video in the works for our song Cheap Perfume featuring Ali Aiman. Also, we hope to do more international tours this year.

Published in Biographies
Monday, 11 April 2016 00:00

Uriah See

 

Shining star

Article from the Sun daily by Yee Jie Min (posted on 31 March 2016)

URIAH See burst into the entertainment scene with a musical background in opera vocals, and the ability to play the piano, violin and guitar.

See has his mother to thank for his current recognitions as the winner of the 2014 Astro Star Quest and TVB International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship. When he was a kid, she would – with the help of a rotan too – pressure him to practise music at least an hour every day. But in retrospect, he is grateful that she recognised his talents and pushed him to excel.

Today, at only 21 years old, See is not only recognised as a musical artiste, but a face in several print and TV commercials, as well as two travel programmes.

Have you always wanted to be in the entertainment scene?

Before I joined Astro Star Quest, I was hesitant about joining the entertainment industry. I didn't know that it would take me this far. I prayed a lot, that if God wanted me to go this direction, to give me a sign – and I was crowned champion.

When I joined TVB's competition, I didn't know how it was even possible because the other participants were so good, but I prayed again. Lo and behold, I was champion.

What do you think was your winning point?

I don't think many realise this but song choice is crucial. A lot of people pick songs they like to sing, and fair enough if you can sing it well. It is really important to choose a song you can sing well and perform. You need to know what you can sing, and what you are good at.

The songs I picked have a nice verse and melody, and are in a comfortable range for me. I am a baritone which is considered the lower range of tones, so I had to pick songs that don't hit high notes yet are powerful. For example, John Legend's All of Me is mid-range, has a nice verse and a chorus that doesn't go too high. It also has a nice falsetto which I can pull off.

How does singing differ from hosting and acting for advertisements?

I can really be myself when singing, but when hosting or doing advertisements you have to cater to the theme of the show or be in character, yet be yourself in certain ways. Singing is powerful as you don't have to say anything; you convince people through music and lyrics, and by singing well.

As a public figure, whatever you're doing, people are watching. So I think it is really important to be yourself, do your best and do the right thing. Pretending to be someone else would mean you have to always maintain an image, and that would be hard for me. I'm okay as long as I can be myself.

Tell us about your song, Gei Ai (Give Love).

Seeing the world now in chaos, I hope this song can bring a little bit of hope to the world. It is mellow but thoughtful. I originally wrote it in English, but I wanted it in Chinese so I asked (a composer) KS Chong to translate and write the lyrics in Chinese.

Share with us some goals in your musical career.

Hopefully I can make better songs. I wrote quite a lot of songs, but Gei Ai is the one I felt is different and is 'the one'. My goal is to influence and inspire people to do better. It matters how far I go but at the end of the day, that is the person I want to become.


 

Published in Biographies
Thursday, 11 February 2016 00:00

Razlan Shah

 

More than a song

Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 11 Feb 2016)

BELIEVE it or not, there was a time when Razlan Shah was ridiculed for his horrendous singing , or so he claimed.

"I used to busk at Telawi Street in Bangsar because I was so bad that I wasn't allowed to sing in the house, and oh my goodness, the amount of heckling and trash thrown into my guitar case was unbelievable," he laughed.

However, that experience spurred him on to pursue what he loves – regardless of the rejections and obstacles that came his way – at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Now, not only is the 25-year-old an artiste in his own right, he also manages Najwa Mahiaddin, Bassment Syndicate, and Kyoto Protocol.

Would you ever only sing or manage?

As an artiste, I love singing as a mode of expression, but I like to look at different avenues or different mediums to find expression. With management, it's not so much about expressing, but letting artistes express what they really want, as opposed to making them create content that is geared towards generic interest.

The artistes I work with have completely different dreams and creative methods, so it's always fun to explore those with them, and work with their craft. It's a very rewarding process because instead of just working on me, I get to work on other people! It is one thing to make your dreams come true, but a completely different feeling to make another person's dream come true.

What's your take on the Malaysian music industry?

Like any arts industry in Malaysia, it has great potential. We have so much to share! However, I think the biggest obstacle to its growth is the lack of gumption in artistes. A lot of Malaysian artistes are big fishes in small ponds, but many stop when they've attained some sort of achievement, then move on to something else. I want more people to be hungry to do something bigger. The world is so connected and globalised now; it is disappointing to see only a handful of Malaysian artistes that have crossed borders. We have numerous artistes with great original sound – I want more of that – and I'm proud to say that the artistes that I work with are keen to do more.

As an artiste, what do you want to achieve through your art?

You know how sometimes when you watch a film, something they do or say just strikes you and you go, 'Wow, I've never thought of it that way before!'? I want to do that with my art. I want to bring people fresh perspective and different angles to a thought.

What would you like to do before you reach 30?

I want to see my artistes grow and achieve their dreams. For myself, I will release my art just for that sake and not so much to gain awards or airtime.

If anybody wants to listen to my music, by all means they shall. In fact, I will be releasing my next EP, Hounds, for free for the first few months. I also want to hopefully start creating films.

Tell us more about Hounds.

Hounds refer to the hunting dog, which is a metaphor for searching. It is for the twenty-somethings, and is essentially about the pursuit of purpose, and that includes self-doubt, finding inner confidence and the sense of self. It has about five songs; and I have released, with Darren Ashley, a music video for Jungle, one of the singles from the EP.

 


Published in Biographies
Thursday, 04 February 2016 00:00

Najwa Mahiaddin

 

Songs for the soul

Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 11 Dec 2015)

FROM learning the piano at the tender age of three to graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, music has always been a prominent part of Najwa Mahiaddin’s life.

“Ever since I was little, I have always been intrigued by music. It always makes me feel something; it was a way for me to express myself,” said the contemporary writing and production graduate.

Now 29, the songstress has performed on many renowned stages, and received some of the most prestigious awards in the Malaysian music industry.

However, even with all that she’s achieved so far, what matters most to her is the impact of her music on people.

How did you get started in this industry?
The very first time I got a gig was actually through Mia Palencia. I was still studying when I attended one of her workshops, where I got to sing one of my originals.

After the performance, she approached me and told me that she liked my performance, and invited me to be featured on one of her projects, the Bedroom Musician series. That was my first show as a singer-songwriter playing my own music.

It was a nice feeling, just me on the keyboard. Then, Reza Salleh, one of the pioneers in the Malaysian singer-songwriter scene, came up to me and offered me another gig.

From there, I was offered more gigs on various stages and at different venues, including No Black Tie.

Describe an event that shaped who you are today.
There was a time when I was going through a lot of things that I was unhappy about, and I was using music to make me feel better.

Ironically, however, I did not write many sad songs at that time. That was when I knew for sure that I wanted to do music badly.

The moment my parents gave me the green light to pursue music was a turning point in my life because music has finally become more than just a hobby. I was enrolled into music school, and it was then that I felt like I was where I was meant to be.

From that day forth, I cannot think of anything else that I would rather be doing. Had that not happened, I would have been really depressed.

Can you share with us some of your accomplishments?
As an artiste, I want to give people a moment away from what they are going through and to give them hope despite everything, as well as to help people heal from past experiences.

For example, every time I perform After The Rain, a lot of people come up to tell me that the song resonated with them. To me, accomplishments are not just about winning awards. To be able to touch lives already makes me feel like a winner.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope to travel more. I hope to spread my music to more places, experience different cultures, and to collaborate with people from all around the globe – a privilege I had while I was at Berklee, without all the travelling.

I would also like to bring traditional Malaysian music to other parts of the world, and educate the rest of the world about the music that we have here.

Tell us more about your latest song, "Sama Saja"?
The song is about how we are all different in culture, opinion, et cetera, but essentially the same at the end of the day. It’s the first time that people were invited to watch and be part of the video shoot, so I’m very excited about it.

Trivia

Ultimate comfort food: Mum’s cooking.
Favourite festive season: “I’m Malaysian, so it’s hard to choose one. I would say all of the festive seasons!”
Favourite musicians: Lalah Hathaway, Emily King, Little Dragon.
Favourite movies: Grease (1978) and Mary Poppins (1964).


Published in Biographies
Saturday, 17 October 2015 00:00

Yuna

World class entertainer

Yunalis Mat Zara'ai (born 14 November 1986), commercially known as Yuna, is a Malaysian singer,songwriter, and businesswoman.

Early life and education

Yunalis Mat Zara'ai was born on 14 November 1986 in Alor SetarKedahMalaysia to parents from Perak. Her father, Dato' Mat Zara'ai is the current legal advisor of Pahang and her mother is a high school teacher.

Yuna attended SMK USJ 4 Subang JayaSelangor, where she completed her secondary education. After this, Yuna attended Universiti Teknologi MARA in Shah Alam, where she studied law at its Faculty of Law. In 2009, she graduated with a Bachelor of Legal Studies (Hons.) degree. 

Career

During her tertiary studies, Yuna was involved in the music scene. Yuna was once an independent Malaysian singer-songwriter. She began writing her own songs when she was 14 years old, and her first performance of her own songs was at the age of 19, after she learned how to play guitar. She has performed in numerous acoustic shows and events in many parts of Malaysia since 2006. The same year, she auditioned for the first season of One in a Million, making it to the top 40 round before she got cut from the competition.

Yuna was eventually discovered in the US by the Indie-Pop record label and management company. They flew out to Malaysia to convince her to sign with them and then proceeded to get her a deal with Fader Label, a record label based in New York, in February 2011. She released her debut US EP, Decorate, in the United States in March the same year. 

One of the first few people who expressed interest in her music was Farhan Fadzlishah aka Pa'an (Telephony Delivery), who later became her supporting guitarist. Along the way, Efry Arwis (Lightcraft) helped her with the bass while Adib Azfar handled the drums. Adil Ali (Seven Collar T-shirt) replaced Adib Azfar after the latter quit to concentrate on his drumming role in Oh Chentaku. Yuna performs with her band when she is not active in acoustic gigs.

On 24 January 2012, her single "Live Your Life" debuted on iTunes. The track was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Pharrell Williams. MTV Iggy described the track as, "polished until it gleams but instead of burying Yuna, it lifts her up. The track has hints that a diva is waiting to shine." On 16 February 2012, the official music video for "Live Your Life" was released.

On 24 April 2012, Yuna's US debut self-titled album was released. Debuting at No.23 on the Pop chart and No.86 on the Top 100 Albums on iTunes, Yuna was also No.23 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. Accolades from fans and critics alike, such as Billboard, NPR, Elle, NY Times, Vibe Claire and National Geographic, who raves that her sound is “as fresh, honest and deeply personal as anything by Bon Iver or tUnEyArDs," have been rolling in.

She performed "Live Your Life" on late-night TV shows Conan and Last Call with Carson Daly. She was featured on the CBS Evening News in a featured profile piece and toured with Graffiti6 with stops at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. She also contributed to the Savages soundtrack on the track, Here Comes the Sun.

Yuna started out as a solo MySpace artist in 2006, singing in both English and Malay.

Yuna's meteoric rise in the Malaysian indie music scene is largely due to the strong following she gained via Myspace. Having played at many gigs since the release of her Demo, EP and then two local albums, she is now focusing on promoting and performing music on her debut US Album. Yuna also will be a part of Lollapalooza 2012 line up.

In 2008, she released her self-titled EP which become a massive hit in Malaysia most notably the single 'Deeper Conversation'.

Yuna was the first runner-up of MTV Iggy's Best New Bands in the World. She performed at the historic MTV Studios in Times Square New York singing "Decorate", "Come As You Are", "Lullabies" which is produced by Chris Braide and her new single "Live Your Life", which is produced by Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D.

Yuna recently signed with Verve Music Group. Multiple Grammy-winning producer David Foster, who heads the creative operations of Verve, tweeted: "I'm really excited about the next hot artist to join Verve Music. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for Yuna in 2013".

Charted in Heatseekers Album on Billboard "Live Your Life".

In 2012, Yuna was recognised with a National Youth Icon Award, awarded by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for her exceptional achievements in arts.

In December 2014, Yuna released the song "Broke Her" as a single. It features a sample of Drake's 0 to 100.

In 31 January 2015, Yuna performed in the closing ceremony of 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Artistry

Musical style

Yuna once described her music as "a cross between Mary Poppins and Coldplay". She explains about this characterization of her musical style, "I can’t believe people still hold onto that! It was a quote that I had on, like, my MySpace music page seven years ago. But yeah, what I meant to say is I like to incorporate a lot of different genres in my music, and, you know, having a sense of honesty and sincerity in the lyrics as well. But I’m still pop at the same time."

Influences

Yuna has cited Coldplay, Bob Dylan, and Feist as influences, having been introduced to them by her father. Growing up in Malaysia, she listened to a lot of The Cardigans and Fiona AppleGarbage.

Awards

Anugerah Industri Muzik (The Music Industry Awards)

Anugerah Industri Muzik (or AIM) (literal English translation: The Music Industry Awards), is an annual event similar to Grammy Awards which recognises Malaysia's finest artists. Yuna has received nine awards (including the special Kembara Award in 2011).

The year indicates the ceremony year, awarding the previous years' works.

Anugerah Industri Muzik Malaysia (AIM)
Year Category Nominated Work(s) Album Result Ref.
2010 (AIM17) Best New Artist     Won  
Best Pop Song Dan Sebenarnya
(Yuna / Yuna)
Yuna (EP) Won
Best Song (Song of the Year) Won
Best Local English Song Deeper Conversation
(Yuna / Yuna)
Won
Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female) Dan Sebenarnya
(Yuna / Yuna)
Nominated
2011 (AIM18) Best Album Cover   Decorate Nominated  
Best Pop Song Penakut
(Yuna / Yuna)
Nominated
Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female) Won
Gelora Jiwa   Nominated
Kembara Award    
Special Award
2012 (AIM19) Best Pop Song Terukir di Bintang
(Yuna / Yuna)
Terukir Di Bintang Nominated  
Best Local English Song Memo
(Yuna / Yuna)
Nominated
Photo of You
(Yuna / Yuna)
Nominated
Best Album Cover   Nominated
Best Musical Arrangement in a Song Terukir di Bintang
(Arranger: AG Coco)
Nominated
Best Music Video Sparkle
(Dir: Quek Shio Chuan)
Won
2013 (AIM20) Best Duo / Collaboration Vocal Performance in a Song You're So Fine (duet with Guba)
(Gabriel Robert / Gabriel Robert & Yuna)
Hilang Nominated  
Best Local English Song Nominated
Best Pop Song Lelaki
(Yuna / Yuna)
  Won
Best Song (Song of the Year) Lelaki
(Yuna / Yuna)
  Won
Best Music Video Dwihati (duet with Aizat Amdan)
(Dir: Syahir Ismail & Ili Amdan)
  Nominated
2014 (AIM21) Best Music Video Falling
(Dir: Yuna & Zul Luey)
  Won  

Anugerah Planet Muzik (The Music Planet Awards)

Anugerah Planet Muzik (or APM) (literal English translation: The Music Planet Awards), is an annual event participated by three different countries – IndonesiaMalaysia andSingapore. Each year, one of the three countries will host the event where all artistes from the three participating countries would gather to compete in two main categories – Best Achievement (judged by professional judges from all three countries) and Most Popular (voted by voters from all participating countries through Short Message Service (SMS) and forms in magazines). Yuna has received nine nominations.

Anugerah Planet Muzik
Year Category Nominated Work(s) Album Result
2008 (APM 8) Best Vocal Performance in a Song (New Female Artiste) Dan Sebenarnya Yuna (EP) Nominated
2009 (APM 9) Malaysia's Most Popular Artiste     Nominated
2011 (APM 11) Regional Most Popular Artiste     Nominated
2012 (APM 12) Best Female Artiste     Nominated
Best Song Terukir Di Bintang Terukir Di Bintang Nominated
Most Popular Regional Artiste     Nominated
New Media Icon     Nominated
2013 (APM 13) Most Popular Regional Song Terukir Di Bintang Terukir Di Bintang Nominated
Most Popular Regional Artiste     Nominated
2014 (APM 14) APM Most Popular Artiste     Nominated
Best Duo/Group Dwihati (shared with Aizat Amdan)   Nominated

Anugerah Juara Lagu (The Champion Song Awards)

Anugerah Juara Lagu (or AJL) (literal English translation: The Champion Song Awards), is a yearly event which recognises the musical composition of a song based on the collaborations of three parties – the lyricist, the composer (s) and the artiste. Its weekly programme will gather singles and song nominations from various artistes where they will compete until their songs are shortlisted as finalists before ultimately being nominated to be judged by professional judges. From 1986 until 1991, finalists were chosen based on monthly winners, and from 1992 until 2008, songs were separated into three main categories – Ballad, Irama Malaysia and Ethnic Creative Song and also Pop Rock. However, from 2009 onwards, the award show was revamped and all 12 finalists were made to compete against each other regardless of category. Throughout Yuna's four years of participating, five of her songs had qualified for nomination in the show. In 2012, she won the award show's highest title, the Champion of Champions with Terukir di Bintang, her seventh Malay language song.

Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL)
Year Song Album Composer Lyricist Category Result
2009 (AJL 24) Dan Sebenarnya Yuna – EP Yuna Yuna Open Won
(1st Runner-Up)
2010 (AJL 25) Cinta Sempurna Decorate Yuna Yuna Open Nominated
2011 (AJL26) Gadis Semasa Yuna Yuna Open Nominated
Penakut Yuna Yuna Open Nominated
2012 (AJL 27) Terukir di Bintang Terukir Di Bintang Yuna Yuna Open Won
( CHAMPION )
2014 (AJL 29) Lelaki   Yuna Yuna Open Nominated

Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (Berita Harian's Most Popular Star Awards)

Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (or ABPBH) (literal English translation: Berita Harian's Most Popular Star Awards), is an award ceremony that recognises the most popular artistes of the year. The award is a yearly ceremony organised by one of Malaysia's newspapers, Berita Harian with results entirely based on votes cast by readers. Yuna has received five nominations and won three awards.

Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (ABPBH)
Year Category Results
2009 (ABPBH 23) Popular New Artist (Female) Won
Popular Female Singer Nominated
2010 (ABPBH 24) Popular Female Singer Won
2011 (ABPBH 25) Popular Female Singer Won
2012 (ABPBH 26) Popular Female Singer Nominated
2013 (ABPBH 27) Popular Female Singer Nominated

SHOUT! Awards

The Shout! Awards is an entertainment award show created to celebrate the Malaysian entertainment scene which is said has rapidly developed. The award recognises people ofmusictelevisionfilm and radio industry as well as the entertainment industry as a whole. Yuna has received thirteen nominations and won five awards including the award show highest honour, The Ultimate Shout! Award.

Shout! Awards
Year Category Nominated Work(s) Result Ref.
2010 Break Out Award (Best New Act)   Won  
Popstar Award   Won
Mobile Artiste of the Year Dan Sebenarnya (WkndSessions) Nominated
Ultimate Shout! Award   Won
2012 Popstar Award   Won  
Power Vocal Awards   Nominated
Music Video Awards Terukir di Bintang Nominated
Fresh TV Series Awards Bintang Di Langit Nominated
Wired Celebrity Awards   Won
2013 Music Video Award Dwihati (shared with Aizat Amdan) Nominated  
Popstar Award   Nominated
(shared with Aizat Amdan) Nominated
Wired Celebrity Awards   Nominated
Others
Other Awards
Year Award Category Nominated Work(s) Album Result
2008 VIMA Music Awards Best Pop Vocalist     Won
2009 AVIMA Awards Best Song To Play At Camp Fire and To Do Away With Monday Morning Blues Deeper Conversation Decorate (EP) Nominated
Best Overall Female Vocalist     Nominated
Junksounds Awards Best Acoustic Act     Nominated
Song of the Year Backpacking Around Europe Yuna (EP) Nominated
2011 MACP Awards Most Performed Malay Song Dan Sebenarnya Yuna (EP) Won
MTV Iggy Best New Band in the World     Nominated
2012 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards Favourite Asian Act}[30]     Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Asian Act[31]     Nominated
Newbie Awards Best New Female Artist     Nominated
PPMH Awards Stylo Artist Award     Nominated
Promising Artist Award     Won
2013 Bella Awards Bella Creative Award     Nominated
2014 World Music Awards Worlds Best Song Lelaki, lights & camera   Nominated
Rescue Nocturnal Nominated
Worlds Best Album   Nocturnal Nominated
Worlds Best Video Lelaki   Nominated
Home   Nominated
Worlds Best Female Artist     Nominated
Worlds Best Live Act     Nominated
Worlds Best Entertainer of the Year     Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Southeast Asia Act Come Back Nocturnal Nominated

Personal life

Yuna co-owns a women's clothes boutique, IAMJETFUELshop, in Subang JayaSelangor.

In popular culture

Yuna covered "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles for the 2012 film, Savages. The song was featured during the ending credits."Tourist" was featured as part of the soundtrack in season 1 of a US TV series, Arrow. Her song "Favourite Thing" was featured in another US TV series, Pretty Little Liars. She was featured in the Malaysian version of KakaoTalk advertisement, released in Malay, English, and Chinese language. She also recorded a song in collaboration with Adam Young of Owl City called "Shine Your Way" for the soundtrack of the animated film The Croods. The film was released by DreamWorks Animation in March 2013. A remix version of her song "Live Your Life" by MeLo-Xappeared on the in-game radio station WorldWide FM in the video game Grand Theft Auto V. Another Yuna song "Lullabies" was also featured in the twenty-second episode, the season finale of the fifth season and also the series finale of 90210, the reboot of "Beverly Hills, 90210". Yuna also had her song "Lights and Camera" featured on an episode of the third season of the US reality show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta. She will perform A Whole New World from the 1992 Disney film Aladdin, as a Deluxe Edition bonus track for the upcoming album We Love Disney (2015 compilation album).

Discography

Malaysian discography

·       2008: Yuna

·       2010: Decorate

·       2012: Terukir Di Bintang

·       2015: Material

International discography

·       2011: Decorate

·       2012: Yuna

·       2013: Sixth Street

·       2013: Nocturnal

Yuna & Quincy Jones

 

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