Article from the Sun daily by Jessica Chua (posted on 4 Nov 2015)
ONE of Josh Kua's earliest memories in violin training involves the Suzuki method – which has nothing to do with the famed motorcycle company, if you're wondering.
"It is a learning method to practise good posture, how to listen and play by ear. I started with an empty cereal box with a ruler taped to it, and a wooden spoon for the bow, to master holding a violin," explained Kua, who grew up in Australia and started training at the age of four.
Most people may assume that trained instrumentalists would further their education in music, but in fear of losing his passion during the studying process, Kua decided against the popular belief. Instead, he obtained double degrees in law and commerce.
His career path took a huge turn when he went on his first mini tour in the Philippines during his third year in university. Since then, his music has gone on to reach audiences around Asia, including Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and currently, China.
Speaking of his personal style, the 26-year-old shared that "less is more. I like lyrical music. It is like my singing voice, except I don't sing. I gravitate towards acoustic music, acoustic pop or alternative rock because that is the kind of music I grew up with."
Have you always been confident about your musical talents?
I didn't foresee a career coming out of it. It was something that I did just for fun, but I guess I knew that I was better than average. One of my strengths is improvisation. I usually have a rough plan of what I'm going to do when I perform, but no two performances are ever the same.
Does being a musician give you a different outlook on life?
I would say I'm extremely lucky to be able to travel for my work. It has changed my way of thinking because I've been exposed to different cultures and environments. I think when you are stuck in one place your whole life, your mind gets used to thinking in a certain way. So I've been very lucky to travel and work, and open my mind to different ways of life and thinking.
How would you define music?
Music is definitely a universal language which I experienced while travelling to different countries. It is a way for me to express to the world and for us to understand each other. I find it very fulfilling when I perform and people get touched by the sentiment that I was conveying through my music. It doesn't matter if they interpreted it differently, in fact it makes it better because I have spoken to them in a way that I never thought I would.
What do you want people to hear or see through your music?
I want them to see me. It is important for me to be authentic in my performances; maybe that's why I am more inclined towards stripped-down kind of music.I never like to focus too much on image and I don't like gimmicks. So I like to show who I am – less is more.
If you could impart one lesson to your peers, what would you say?
Practice makes perfect. Whether or not you were born with a gift, anything can be earned as long as you put in effort and work hard for it. Nothing comes easy. So if you're discouraged and you feel like you're not getting anywhere with whatever it may be, just put in work and be smart. Get to know the right people, make them believe in you, and just do your best.
Article from the Sun daily by Joyce Ang (posted on 24th Nov 2015)
IF there was music coming out of a window from the wee small hours to the break of dawn, it would most likely be Christian Palencia's, who's now known (aptly) as The Last One Awake.
Previously going by the stage name ChristianBPalencia, the 21-year-old has been leaving his footprints in the local music scene, having performed at numerous public and intimate venues, including the 2013 TedxYouth@KL event.
Apart from his presence in the Malaysian scene, Palencia has also been spending a substantial amount of time in Tasmania, Australia. In fact, in recent months, he has been working on a new album there for the next phase of his musical career, which is going to sound different from his previous works.
"The Last One Awake's songs are folk-like, but the lyrics don't exactly go along with new-age folk, so I call it 'storytelling music', but people have also been calling my music 'midnight music'. I have no idea why, but I thought that it's quite cool and catchy, so I guess the genre would be storyteller midnight music," Palencia explained.
Why do you go by The Last One Awake now?
I tested the waters with The Last One Awake as my photography handle for about a year, and thought that I would really like to be known by that name for the rest of my career.
Musically, I want to provide clarity and happiness to people, specifically to people feeling like they're the last ones awake at the tender hours of midnight. I want to portray that person. Also, because there are a lot of people who feel that way, I want to use The Last One Awake's music as a way to reach out to them and form a community – so they know that they are not alone –, slowly changing the world one smile at a time.
Tell us about your upcoming album.
The album is structured in a way that it is sort of like a rite of passage for late teens and young adults. It goes from searching for home in a person and when the person leaves, you search for home in places, but ultimately, you realise that home has always been in yourself. At the end of the album, it is about how after all these, you have to go back to the place where you started to fulfill the rite of passage, so the whole process is a bit of a loop.
I've also written about how reality is not what you perceive; how lying to children is the worst thing you can ever do; and about people that usually go unnoticed.
When and how did music become part of your life?
My first performance was when I was four: in front of 150 people at a concert, and I sang Backstreet Boys' Everybody (Backstreet's Back); it was very nervewracking. I performed and everybody loved it, so I thought "Okay, I want to do this for the rest of my life."
Were there times when you wanted to give up on that dream?
No, I decided when I was 17 that this is it. I've studied and worked on a bunch of things, including graphic design, production and writing. I did almost everything that I wanted to try, but I always knew that music is what I wanted to do and I'm not going to throw it away.
What would you like to achieve before you turn 30?
I want to be the best singer-songwriter in the world! I would also like to do a video with Ed Sheeran or Passenger, and be featured on The Mahogany Sessions.
In a parallel world, what do you think you'd be?
I would want to be a WWE wrestler, but unfortunately I'm too small and scrawny for that. Oh well, music it is – best singersongwriter in the world!
Article from the Sun daily by Pam Kaur (posted on 5th Nov 2015)
HER name is Amira Sachie Amar Kenji Abdullah and when she sings, you will be well pleased.
Inspired by her mother who used to sing as hobby, Sachie developed a deep sense of passion for music as a child, and she couldn't picture herself doing anything else. At 18, she decided to pursue her dream with the stage name Sachié Amira, backed by many life's struggles that taught her to never give up in anything.
Sachie is a budding young talent who has no qualms taking on the challenge of singing different music genres. The singer-songwriter of Japanese, Korean, Indonesian and Malaysian descent doesn't limit herself because she believes in continuous learning to hone her skills.
Sachie, which means happiness, was christened by her Japanese father. The name couldn't be more fitting as this bubbly 23-year-old has so much zest for life!
Who are your biggest encouragers?
They are none other my family – my mother, father and grandmother.
Where do you draw inspirations to write songs?
I'm inspired by many different experiences in life. Some of the experiences I incorporate into my songs are based on relationships, public affairs such as political issues, which I share in a metaphor of love. My creative outlet is my room. I like to collect my thoughts in my room because it is where I most feel myself.
Who are some of the local artistes you have sung with?
I've yet to sing alongside a local artiste but I've been blessed to be able to do the opening show for Girls' Generation. Aside from that, I've sung backups for Ning Baizura and Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.
Given the chance, who would you do a duet with, and why?
Undoubtedly, it would be Beyoncé. I am a big fan of Beyoncé because I am inspired by how she manages her life and juggles her many roles as a woman. I'm also captivated by her strong vocals. To me, Beyoncé is perfect.
What are some of your views about today's music industry here in Malaysia?
I am really proud of it. The growth is constant I'm proud to see that there are many new elements to music, even though a lot of it are filtered. The local musicians are changing the course of our industry.There are many talented people here.
What are your hopes for the industry?
I hope that there would be more freedom and support. Local talents lack respect here. We are undervalued because of the mindset that foreign artistes are better than us, when actually we are quite good ourselves.
Could you share with us the dreams that you wish to achieve through music?
I wish to be recognised and respected here in Malaysia, to begin with. I do hope that I'd also be an internationally recognised artiste, and go on a world tour spreading love through my music.
More than a Youtuber
Article from the Sun daily by Jessica Chua (posted on 1st Oct 2015)
IF you're a YouTube junkie, you may have come across this bubbly girl by the name of Jenn Chia. Her YouTube stint began in 2009 when she posted a video of herself singing and playing on the piano a song that she wrote.
Her YouTube channel "So I'm Jenn" has since grown into an archive of self-written songs, covers, skits and vlogs. Chia makes music from time to time by herself if not with her band KissKillMary.
Nonetheless, she prefers presenting her musical projects in front of a live audience, and focuses on creating entertaining skits for YouTube.
"I'm very passionate when it comes to creating ideas and more importantly, I'm very inspired by people. I like to connect with people in any way possible, especially through ideas.
"A lot of things that I talk about are very inspired by people's antics," said the 24-year-old.
This passion and interest gave Jenn the courage to quit her job and concentrate on YouTube full-time as a content creator.
Recently, she ventured into TV hosting after being recruited as the newest face of The 8TV Quickie.
What do you love about YouTube?
The way it connects people. If you have a voice for something, and you want to do YouTube, just put it out. You may get only five views but those five views are a big deal. You never know who'd be watching.
It was through my videos that I met Mark O'Dea which then led to 8TV.
Where do you find the strength, focus and balance in wearing so many hats?
There are days when I ask myself, "What are you doing?" It is very easy to feel demotivated. The characterdefining moment is how you bounce back from that. So for me, I always look in the mirror whenever I feel doubtful, and I think about the ultimate goal.
I try to get myself involved in everything and meet different people because you never know what can happen. And that kind of ignites something from within. I also learn to balance everything by taking some time off for short trips every now and then.
What is your recipe for creativity?
Don't limit yourself. When you have an idea for something, develop it a little bit more. Don't give yourself excuses about why the idea shouldn't be happening. When you do that, it curbs your creativity.
As a content creator, you've got to be able to envision ideas and have the audacity to execute them.
What message do you hope to speak through your work?
I want it to relate. I want people to know that they're not alone. For example, I'm an insecure person and I know that I'm not alone. I think having insecurities doesn't mean that you will fail in life.
It is how you work on your insecurities and find value in yourself. So my work is all about being with you and showing you that we can connect with the same
How do you deal with criticisms and haters?
I talk to people whose opinions I respect. Then I ask myself if I'm happy being who I am and doing what I do. I take a moment and accept the fact that there are people who hate you, and people who love and support you.
The moment you accept that and move on, that's when you can be yourself. I watch Gordon Ramsay a lot. When they have problems in the kitchen, Chef Ramsay always says, "Bounce back up!"
That shows how you handle problems. You bounce back up.
What is your personal advice to aspiring YouTubers and content creators?
Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?"
That's something that I always ask myself. Be thick-skinned and just do it. I'm still alive, passionate and capable. So I'm just going to put myself out there.
At the end of the day, you want to satisfy yourself.
World class entertainer
Yunalis Mat Zara'ai was born on 14 November 1986 in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia 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 Jaya, Selangor, 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.
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'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 31 January 2015, Yuna performed in the closing ceremony of 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
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."
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)|
|2010 (AIM17)||Best New Artist||Won|
|Best Pop Song||Dan Sebenarnya
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Song (Song of the Year)||Won|
|Best Local English Song||Deeper Conversation
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female)||Dan Sebenarnya
(Yuna / Yuna)
|2011 (AIM18)||Best Album Cover||Decorate||Nominated|
|Best Pop Song||Penakut
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female)||Won|
|2012 (AIM19)||Best Pop Song||Terukir di Bintang
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Terukir Di Bintang||Nominated|
|Best Local English Song||Memo
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Photo of You
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Album Cover||Nominated|
|Best Musical Arrangement in a Song||Terukir di Bintang
(Arranger: AG Coco)
|Best Music Video||Sparkle
(Dir: Quek Shio Chuan)
|2013 (AIM20)||Best Duo / Collaboration Vocal Performance in a Song||You're So Fine (duet with Guba)
(Gabriel Robert / Gabriel Robert & Yuna)
|Best Local English Song||Nominated|
|Best Pop Song||Lelaki
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Song (Song of the Year)||Lelaki
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Music Video||Dwihati (duet with Aizat Amdan)
(Dir: Syahir Ismail & Ili Amdan)
|2014 (AIM21)||Best Music Video||Falling
(Dir: Yuna & Zul Luey)
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 – Indonesia, Malaysia 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|
|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)|
|2009 (AJL 24)||Dan Sebenarnya||Yuna – EP||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Won
|2010 (AJL 25)||Cinta Sempurna||Decorate||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Nominated|
|2011 (AJL26)||Gadis Semasa||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)|
|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|
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 ofmusic, television, film 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.
|2010||Break Out Award (Best New Act)||Won|
|Mobile Artiste of the Year||Dan Sebenarnya (WkndSessions)||Nominated|
|Ultimate Shout! 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|
|(shared with Aizat Amdan)||Nominated|
|Wired Celebrity Awards||Nominated|
|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}||Nominated|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Asian Act||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|
|Worlds Best Album||Nocturnal||Nominated|
|Worlds Best Video||Lelaki||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|
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).
· 2008: Yuna
· 2010: Decorate
· 2012: Terukir Di Bintang
· 2015: Material
· 2011: Decorate
· 2012: Yuna
· 2013: Sixth Street
· 2013: Nocturnal