YouTube is undoubtedly a powerful tool for emerging musicians. A barista by day and a songstress by night, Lunadira first started posting her song covers to her YouTube channel in 2007.
From Blink-182’s “All The Small Things” to Lorde “The Love Club” to Radiohead’s “Creep”, she put her own unique spin on songs and successfully developed an audience of thousands that helped launch her music career.
Drawing inspiration from her own relationships and stories by friends, Lunadira began recounting tales of unrequited love through her self-penned songs. Together with her main collaborator Harith Jamil on production duty, she eventually made her first foray into R&B with “Forever’s Not Our Thing”, her first single in 2017.
In an industry over-saturated with throwaway pop songs, you could say that Lunadira’s sound is a breath of fresh air.
With the recent release of “Stuck with You”, her new single from her forthcoming EP, we spoke to the home-grown singer about her sound, her songwriting process, her future plans and what her fans can expect from her performance at Good Vibes Festival 2018.
You used the term “sad and groovy” to describe your sound. Do you think that this is a label that will stick, or are you thinking of experimenting with new sounds?
Lunadira: It’s interesting you should ask that because I’ve always identified myself within songs that are sad and groovy, but I also believe that music and the human experience are both parallels of each other. I’d love to explore new sounds as I experience life first hand, so I’m actually hoping to change my sound in the future! It’s something I always look forward to whenever I’m in the studio, like “hmmmm how do I feel today? What’s new about me and how can I translate that into a sound?”
You have been writing songs for 8 years now. Tell us what your songwriting process is like.
L: It started off with writing short poems in my diary, and it slowly transcended into paragraphs on paragraphs of me lamenting about my relationships with people. It was a very toxic time in my life, but the silver lining of it all is that I got to learn from those experiences and am able to recount those experiences through writing songs about them! The process varies from time to time, but I always have my Notes app on my phone on standby whenever I need it.
Although it’s usually when I’m alone in my bed at night, under the covers, over thinking things and the only way I can let go of those thoughts is if I write about them. It’s either that or when I’m in the studio, vibing really well with the tracks that my producer Harith came up with. The latter is almost always instantaneous, which I prefer.
The “Stuck with You” music video is so aesthetically pleasing – it reminds us of Kali Uchi’s music videos! When it comes to producing music videos, how big of an influence do you have in the creative direction?
L: I’ve always been obsessed about creating music videos in my head as a kid. I’d spend hours just listening to the songs on my iPod, visualising a scenario, second by second.
I had a sit down with Amani (Director) and Lizzie (Prop Master and Art Director) about this idea I had and even laid down a minute by minute of how I envisioned the music video to be. It was all laid down on an amateurish Powerpoint presentation and they understood my vision right away. It helped that these two women know me personally and I’m thankful to have had them on the team to execute my vision.
Are there any particular artists you intend in collaborating with for your upcoming project?
L: I have a list of names in mind, but I’d have to have to be given the green light before anything is solidified. Don’t wanna jinx this one, now do we?
You are the second artist chosen by Jin Hackman to be a part of his project, “This Way Up”. How does it feel being in the studio with him?
L: Ugh it’s TORTURE. He locks me up in the studio for DAYS ON END until each track is done. I’m just kidding! He’s actually very very accommodating to his artists and wants our own voice and vision to be heard and seen. It’s amazing seeing someone in the industry believe so much in upcoming artists. He makes it a point to seek out new talent that needs to be given a chance to be heard. My heart warms a little thinking about it. Very very cool guy. Genuine too. Anyone who gets the chance to work with him is lucky because it’s an honour to work with him (Can you unlock the studio now Jin? I wanna go home and eat and shower and sleep).
Are there any future plans – music or otherwise – currently in the works?
L: There are a few!! Nothing written in stone yet but all very very exciting projects. Keep your eyes and ears open. I’m still trying to decide what to name my EP though….
What can we expect to see (and hear) from your set at Good Vibes Festival 2018?
L: Colours! New songs! And a FUN time! See you guys there!
Good Vibes Festival 2018 will take place on 21st and 22nd July at The Ranch, Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands. The festival is open to those aged 18 and above. Early Bird passes are going for RM 330, Phase 1 passes for RM 360, Phase 2 passes for RM 380, and Phase 3 passes for RM 400. All passes will include entry to both days. Find out the full line-up and ticketing info here.
*Interview by Adrina Hoi.