Yunalis Zarai aka Yuna started out writing poetries when she was only 14 years old. When she turned 19, she began writing songs.
Her music is a mixture of what she grew up with, the people around her, and the music that they play. This includes a lot of folk rock, acoustic, and alternative elements from her inspirations such as The Cardigans, Fiona Apple, No Doubt, Garbage, Alanis Morrissette, Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, and Silverchair, just to name a few.
Her meteoric rise to success in the local independent scene is largely thanks to the strong following she gained through her Myspace. Since then, the Malaysian darling has played in tonnes of shows and is now storming through the nation with her debut EP.
More recently, it was announced that she’s in the running to bag the “Best Asia Act” award for the MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) 2012. Following which, she announced her Yuna Homecoming Tour at a press conference here in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, where we spoke to her:
Hi Yuna! First and foremost, congratulations on being nominated for this year’s MTV EMAs. What was your initial reaction when you found out?
“I actually just found out two days ago and at first, I was shocked. I’m familiar with the MTV Awards but I was a little bit shocked because I was nominated alongside K-Pop stars such as Super Junior I mean, it was flattering. They have such a huge following! I feel like I’m not there yet and that I have more things to offer. I still have a long way to go. But it’s a cool thing that I was nominated.”
Maybe a Grammy, huh? We’re so proud of you though, Yuna! You’ve set the bar for Malaysian artistes once again. We’ll definitely get our MTV EMAs 2012 votes in.
Meanwhile, you’ve just announced the details for the Yuna Homecoming Concert. Will this be your biggest concert ever?
“This will be, yeah, probably my biggest aside from Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP). But that’s indoors so..the Yuna Homecoming Concert is like my own project and thankfully, I get to work with wonderful people like Talent Harvest, Canon, and Olay. It’s easier for us to do something that we’ve always wanted to do, which is a big concert.”
We take it the Yuna Homecoming Concert would be a chance for your fans to really come out and connect with you?
“Exactly! You know, I haven’t been performing for a long time as in, a proper set. I’ve never done a proper one and a half hours’ set. In one and a half hours, I can do 20 songs! So this time around it’s going to be a proper concert. I have high hopes for it and I’m really excited.”
Tell us more about the venues (Penang and Sarawak) that you’ve chosen to play in for your concert tour.
“The difference between performing in DFP and the Yuna Homecoming Concert venues are..with DFP, we have to respect their code of elegance because of the slightly more mature audience that it’s catered for whereas for these venues in Penang and Sarawak, we have the freedom to be as creative as we want. This is like my baby. It’s also made for the younger crowd such as students – I can’t wait to meet them!”
What do you think would be your biggest challenge though now that you will have the stage to yourself considering the fact that this is going to be your own show?
“I know, right? I think my biggest challenge would be trying to keep the crowd hyped up. The crowd that I usually play to is quiet and shy so, yes, getting the crowd hyped up would be a challenge. But you know, I’m still the same Yuna that everyone knows. I have to say that I will be a little bit nervous because this is my homecoming after performing overseas for so long – I’ll be performing to people who knew me first before everyone else did, you know what I mean? I’m excited about coming home to perform but I’m also nervous.”
Isn’t she such a darling? Have we reiterated that already? Oh, and as promised, here’s a special message from the sweet Malaysian singer-songwriter herself to Hype Malaysia readers and followers:
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Thank you so much for speaking to us, Yuna. It was so good seeing you again. Gotta love her!