It is something of a shock that Yuna Zarai is not yet a household name in the US. I'd garner a guess that there are more non-Muslims that know of this indie pop crooner than do Muslims -- which is intriguing when you consider the fact that Yuna wears an Islamic headwrap at concerts and press appearances. Yuna is truly something else!
The 26-year-old Malaysian beauty's music draws you in with ease using her soothing voice characterized by stability and lightness. On camera and in concerts onlookers witness Yuna's mellow and sophisticated personality which only adds to the sincerity in her songs and song lyrics.
Read the full interview to learn of Yuna's career and family plans and all that went in to her latest album 'Nocturnal' due out in stores October 29th.
Welcome to the USA! Your move from Malaysia to the US was a big deal, how are you adjusting to life in America?
It was a little bit difficult for me in the beginning being away from my family and friends, but I actually appreciate having some room to myself to be creative and I met a lot of wonderful people out here who are so inspiring. The working environment here is great. People are so passionate and focused. It's good.
How does it feel to be a hijabi (covered) performance artist and so successful? I mean, working with Pharrell, singing on the soundtrack to The Croods, signing with Verve, whoa!
I don't think I'm successful yet, I still have a long way to go. But yeah I feel like any other musician I guess, I feel blessed to be able to work with a lot of talented people and on a lot of different projects. It's been going really great for me Alhamdulillah.
These days are you still writing most, if not all, of your own songs?
Not lately! Been so busy with shows and promo stuff for the new album. But I was writing a lot earlier this year which was perfect because I went straight into recording after that.
Do you write songs for other artists?
I mainly write for myself but sometimes some of the stuff I wrote didn't make it on the album, I like to share them with other artistes to see if they would like to have one song on their album. Maybe in the future, that's the plan. I'm not trying to be a performer forever, at some point I'd like to have a normal life, have a family, work from home, not being on tour. So writing would be a great career path for me in the future.
Who would you most like to duet with, living or dead?
Who are some of your life and music inspirations?
I love Norah Jones and Adele. I like watching their music career grow, and they're so successful and they make great music. But they're so simple and so chill.
My friends and family and I want to bestow you a title, would it be alright to call you 'America's Malaysian Sweetheart?' in press and in daily conversation?
Haha I'm very humbled by this! Thank you!
No, thank YOU! Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In a park somewhere with my husband and kids painting!
Tell us about your latest album 'Nocturnal' and where metro-Detroiters can purchase it?
Nocturnal is such a special project to me. I feel like in this album I really did give it my all, no holding back. I wanted to be creative, I wanted to be happy, I wanted to be sad, I wanted to be angry, I wanted to be brave. And its all in it and you can feel it. It will be out October 29th and you get it almost anywhere!
I'll definitely be getting the album for myself and one additional as a gift. We want to thank Yuna so much for agreeing to this interview when she is incredibly busy with prepping for her new album release. DME readers are forever fans of America's Malaysian Sweetheart: Yuna