Collaborating with the likes of Usher and Pharrell Williams, Malaysian-Muslim singer songwriter and businesswoman Yuna is the new definition of soul music.
Teaching herself guitar through YouTube video’s and writing songs by the age of 14, Yunalis Mat Zara’ai (aka. Yuna) originally set up a Myspace page to get her voice heard and that she did gaining over 1 million hits.
Receiving positive reception in her Malaysian hometown where she has recieved four Malaysian Music awards, including Best New Album and Best Song for ‘Das Sebenarnya’.
In 2012, she joined forces with Pharrell Williams to create the uplifting track ‘Live Your Life’ and later that year shared the stage with Florence & the Machine, Jack White and Childish Gambino at Lollapalooza.
Just last year she released ‘Chapters’ which features a collection of 13 soulful tracks including a collaboration with Usher on the track ‘Crush’.
The album was received favourably with Billboard placing it 7th on its Critics Picks for Best R&B Album last year.
The album’s inspiration evolved from the crumbling of a real life relationship which is pleasingly contrasted with Yuna’s perfectly calm, free-floating soprano voice.
With her Muslim background, upon becoming a singer she told Billboard how she struggled to “let her hair out and be beautiful” , instead often hiding her image and letting her music speak for itself.
When asked about whether she feels if America is ‘home’ particularly with anti-Immigration, anti-Muslim memo waived by Trump she said she wasn’t too worried.
“I think you can soften people’s hearts, even if they have a lot of hate. Music can do that, if it’s beautiful and honest. If I can do that, soften just one person’s heart, I consider myself successful already”, she said.
Listen to ‘Chapters’ below: