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Yuna For WeTheUrban Magazine

19 September 2012, 12.15 | Posted in Magazines, interviews | No comments »

Yuna 1 Yuna For WeTheUrban Magazine

Much-loved Yuna,who was part of  our collaboration with Adidas on the White Space Project,  is featured in the fifth issue of WeTheUrban. Shot by Aram Bedrossian, we’re pleased to share with you the first  images of the lovely songstress as well as the exclusive WeTheUrban interview on the next page.

- How long have you been composing and writing music?
I’ve been writing songs for like five years. When I first started playing music back
where I’m from in Malaysia, it was just sort of a small town singer/songwriter type
thing. I started out performing in small cafe’s and after a lot of that, my songs got
picked up by the radio and a lot of people started to hear what I was doing. Then
about two years ago, a couple of people from the states heard my music and brought
me up here and I started working with a lot of different producers and now I’m here
[laughs]!
- Congratulations on the release of your self titled album! Is it surreal having a true
US full album out?
Thank you! Yes, it’s crazy. I’ve been working on this like crazy for the past two years
(when I first came up here) and I didn’t really know too much about the music
industry. Of course I knew a little bit about it being a musician and all, but to actually
be in it is crazy. I’m just so happy to be apart of it! The album is out now and I’m
happy so many people can listen and hear what I’m all about.
- What’s different about your music and the process of making it now as opposed to
when you were based in Malaysia?
It’s crazy. Back in Malaysia, I used to do everything by myself. I would just write
and compose all of my own music without the help of anyone else. That all changed
when I first came out here tot the states. I instantly started working with so many
cool writers and producers. It’s so refreshing to work with someone other than
yourself [laughs] and just somehow integrate two incredible ideas together to make
beautiful songs.
- How has it been working with The FADER?
The FADER has been really supportive! I couldn’t have thought of anyone more
perfect to jump start my career. They were the first people to sign me and it’s such
a blessing to work with them. They’re super supportive and really believed in me
and my music and that I could really do something, you know? Coming out here
and working with them and having them help me out with my music and being
supported like that is just a true blessing. It was so cool that I could just work on my
music and not worry about anything else.
- Tell me a little bit about meeting and working with Pharrell? Were you starstruck?
It was crazy! I’m a huge fan of Pharell so it was really surreal to be in the studio with
someone you’ve looked up to for so long and someone who’s basically an icon, you
know? He made me feel super comfortable working with him – there wasn’t any
intimidation with him, it was like just working with an old friend. He’s a funny guy
and really cool too and it was just one of those things where you look up to someone
and wonder what they’re really like, and it was so refreshing knowing that he was
just how I imagined him to be. So that was just an overall amazing experience.
- Can you tell me a little bit more about the background of “Live Your Life”
I remember one morning one the second or third day of working with him, I walked
into the studio and he was already working on something. Pharrell being Pharrell
means he’s always super early [laughs]. He was working on this beat and asked me
if I liked it and I was like, yeah it’s really groovy, but I never pictured myself singing
on that beat because I come from a very jazzy and acoustic background and he’s
Pharell, so it’s more Hip-Hop. To have him have that kind of confidence in me to sing
the song was an honor so I just tried it and we basically built the song together. In
an hour or two, I had written something really positive and it came out great. It was
such a blessing and so surreal working with Pharell in that moment, you know? – I’m
just some kid from Malaysia [laughs]. The song is just a positive message for people
out there to just live your life and follow your dreams and if you work hard enough,
you’ll make it one day. I was just kind of like writing and vibing off of that moment
in the studio with him.
- How do your parents feel about your success?
They’re so excited! More excited than I am! I don’t really have anyone in my
family, musically, to refer to that I got my music bone from. So I learned how to
play everything myself by ear. My mom and dad know nothing about the music
industry, but they’ve always been super supportive of me and are really happy that
everything is coming together. They know that I’ve wanted this for a very long time,
so they’ve been amazing through this process.
- Four years ago, did you ever imagine your life taking the direction its in right now?
I never thought! Music was kind of like a hobby to me and not something I thought
I was honestly gonna take seriously as a full career. It was sort of like a small side
thing I was doing. I was in my final year of Law School and I was just getting paid to
do tiny shows and it was just sort of a fun side thing to do. I think the turning point
was when my manager from Indie Pop brought me to LA to just solely work on my
music and it was like, wow… this could actually be a real thing. But before that, never
in a million years did I think I would be in New York or LA performing and putting
actual album out – like a real real album out on iTunes and whatnot. It’s just crazy
and I’m so grateful and I know I’ve worked really hard. I guess working hard pays
off, right?
- As a kid growing up in Malaysia, what did you want to be when you grew up?
You know, I grew up dancing and singing and whatnot and obviously, like a lot of
other kids, as some point I wanted to really be a singer. I also thought about being
a fashion designer, but you know, a lot of those dreams were just dreams. I wanted
to be a Lawyer like a lot of people in my family were too. There were a lot of things I
wanted to be, but music alone has always been my true passion. I did a lot of things
like sports and stuff, but music has really had my heart all along.
So what’s next for you?
More albums, please! [laughs]. I feel like this isn’t enough and I have so much more
to share with the world. The response that I’m getting with this album is amazing
and overwhelming and I’m just excited to keep creating and starting my tour in
June!

- How long have you been composing and writing music?

I’ve been writing songs for like five years. When I first started playing music back where I’m from in Malaysia, it was just sort of a small town singer/songwriter type thing. I started out performing in small cafe’s and after a lot of that, my songs got picked up by the radio and a lot of people started to hear what I was doing. Then about two years ago, a couple of people from the states heard my music and brought me up here and I started working with a lot of different producers and now I’m here [laughs]!

- Congratulations on the release of your self titled album! Is it surreal having a true US full album out?

Thank you! Yes, it’s crazy. I’ve been working on this like crazy for the past two years (when I first came up here) and I didn’t really know too much about the music industry. Of course I knew a little bit about it being a musician and all, but to actually be in it is crazy. I’m just so happy to be apart of it! The album is out now and I’m happy so many people can listen and hear what I’m all about.

- What’s different about your music and the process of making it now as opposed to when you were based in Malaysia?

It’s crazy. Back in Malaysia, I used to do everything by myself. I would just write and compose all of my own music without the help of anyone else. That all changed when I first came out here tot the states. I instantly started working with so many cool writers and producers. It’s so refreshing to work with someone other than yourself [laughs] and just somehow integrate two incredible ideas together to make beautiful songs.

- How has it been working with The FADER?

The FADER has been really supportive! I couldn’t have thought of anyone more perfect to jump start my career. They were the first people to sign me and it’s such a blessing to work with them. They’re super supportive and really believed in me and my music and that I could really do something, you know? Coming out here and working with them and having them help me out with my music and being supported like that is just a true blessing. It was so cool that I could just work on my music and not worry about anything else.

- Tell me a little bit about meeting and working with Pharrell? Were you starstruck?

It was crazy! I’m a huge fan of Pharell so it was really surreal to be in the studio with someone you’ve looked up to for so long and someone who’s basically an icon, you know? He made me feel super comfortable working with him – there wasn’t any intimidation with him, it was like just working with an old friend. He’s a funny guy and really cool too and it was just one of those things where you look up to someone and wonder what they’re really like, and it was so refreshing knowing that he was just how I imagined him to be. So that was just an overall amazing experience.

- Can you tell me a little bit more about the background of “Live Your Life”

I remember one morning one the second or third day of working with him, I walked into the studio and he was already working on something. Pharrell being Pharrell means he’s always super early [laughs]. He was working on this beat and asked me if I liked it and I was like, yeah it’s really groovy, but I never pictured myself singing on that beat because I come from a very jazzy and acoustic background and he’s Pharell, so it’s more Hip-Hop. To have him have that kind of confidence in me to sing the song was an honor so I just tried it and we basically built the song together. In an hour or two, I had written something really positive and it came out great. It was such a blessing and so surreal working with Pharell in that moment, you know? – I’m just some kid from Malaysia [laughs]. The song is just a positive message for people out there to just live your life and follow your dreams and if you work hard enough, you’ll make it one day. I was just kind of like writing and vibing off of that moment in the studio with him.

- How do your parents feel about your success?

They’re so excited! More excited than I am! I don’t really have anyone in my family, musically, to refer to that I got my music bone from. So I learned how to play everything myself by ear. My mom and dad know nothing about the music industry, but they’ve always been super supportive of me and are really happy that everything is coming together. They know that I’ve wanted this for a very long time, so they’ve been amazing through this process.

- Four years ago, did you ever imagine your life taking the direction its in right now?

I never thought! Music was kind of like a hobby to me and not something I thought I was honestly gonna take seriously as a full career. It was sort of like a small side thing I was doing. I was in my final year of Law School and I was just getting paid to do tiny shows and it was just sort of a fun side thing to do. I think the turning point was when my manager from Indie Pop brought me to LA to just solely work on my music and it was like, wow… this could actually be a real thing. But before that, never in a million years did I think I would be in New York or LA performing and putting actual album out – like a real real album out on iTunes and whatnot. It’s just crazy and I’m so grateful and I know I’ve worked really hard. I guess working hard pays off, right?

- As a kid growing up in Malaysia, what did you want to be when you grew up?

You know, I grew up dancing and singing and whatnot and obviously, like a lot of other kids, as some point I wanted to really be a singer. I also thought about being a fashion designer, but you know, a lot of those dreams were just dreams. I wanted to be a Lawyer like a lot of people in my family were too. There were a lot of things I wanted to be, but music alone has always been my true passion. I did a lot of things like sports and stuff, but music has really had my heart all along.

- So what’s next for you?

More albums, please! [laughs]. I feel like this isn’t enough and I have so much more to share with the world. The response that I’m getting with this album is amazing and overwhelming and I’m just excited to keep creating and starting my tour in June!

Interview by Willie Greene


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