Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Yuna, a songstress from Malaysia.
Yuna is already a successful singer in Malaysia, but she only recently began making inroads into the North American and European music scenes. Judging by a badass performance at the Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, her Pharrell-produced single “Live Your Life,” and scheduled performances at Lollapalooza in August, Yuna is set to conquer North America.
Origins: Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
Full name: Yunalis Zarai
Known for: Yuna’s dazzling live performances and beautiful headscarves set her apart.
Used in a sentence: “Although Yuna describes her music as a mix between Mary Poppins and Coldplay, her sound has an unmistakably soulful quality that makes you want to sip a latte at the corner coffee shop.”
File next to: Bon Iver, Corinne Bailey Rae
Download now: “Live Your Life”
Eight-year-old Yuna fell in love with music after listening to No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album. Even though her family told her to focus on music, she decided to pursue a career as a lawyer. It wasn’t until her final year of law school that she got into the music scene. Her favourite song off her newest self-titled album is “Lullabies.”
pre-2008: Yuna rose quickly in the Malaysian music scene after posting songs on MySpace. She released a self-titled EP in 2008, which quickly became popular in Malaysia.
2010: Released her debut album Decorate in Malaysia.
2011: Released an EP titled Decorate in the US . Yuna, who had previously been an independent artist was signed to New York label FADER.
2012: released Terukir Di Bintang. That same year she released her debut American album, Yuna. She performed the single “Live Your Life” on CONAN and Last Call with Carson Daly. Starting June 12, Yuna embarked on her first American tour with UK band Graffiti6.
In “Live Your Life,” Yuna makes the case for having confidence in your talents and dreams.
Find your light/Don’t hide from what you are/And rise before you fall/And hope for something more/Live if you really want to/All my life I’ve been looking for something amazing/It’s almost like I’ve been stargazing/The sky is right above me/We were meant for something bigger than this/Don’t ever try to dismiss yourself cause you don’t have to