Yuna Shares Her Songwriting Process, Life As A Muslim Singer In The States


Last week we presented part one of our interview up-and-comer Malaysian singer Yuna. Here’s part two of our conversation with the emerging singer/songwriter.

What are the differences between American and Malaysian crowds?
I guess it’s the way they perceive things? For example, the things they listen to in a song or what aspect of a live performance that they focus on. It’s not a bad thing at all, just differences in culture. Since day one I’ve always had great responses from the crowd anywhere I go to perform so for that, I am so thankful.

How does the song writing process work for you? What are your inspirations? Do you lock yourself in the house to finish your songwriting?

I can be inspired by anything, at any time of the day. Sometimes it’s what I heard from someone in the morning or at night when it comes  to me, I’ll just pick up my guitar and start writing. I don’t have a particular ‘ritual’ to prepare myself to write songs. Anything works for me, really.

What is your favorite song to perform live? Why?
Well I guess it would be my Malay song, “Gadis Semasa”. It’s an edgy song about female-empowerment that does not sound overbearing both in song and context. It’s also my favorite song to play on guitar.

I bet you must be tired of this question but I gotta ask still: How have the reactions been with listeners in the States with you being a fully covered Muslim girl performing and writing pop songs in America? Is it difficult to keep up with your faith while making music?
Honestly it’s been fantastic. I’ve had so much support from the people I met here and even more so back home in Malaysia with regards to that respect. I am glad that I am well-received here because of my music and what you see me wear every day does not affect that. Of course there are tough times I had to face for the first few months I am here but again, I have a very strong support system back home and they make sure I don’t forget that. Nothing beats having a family fully supporting you in achieving what you want even when they’re thousands of miles away.


If you could recommend one band/musician/artist from your country Malaysia, who would it be and why?
It’s not fair for me to pick one because there’s so many talented bands/artist back in Malaysia! But if I really had to pick one, I’d say Hujan. They’re a bunch of energetic, shape-shifting rock ‘n rollers that the people here in the States would definitely enjoy seeing live.

You’re currently based in L.A., and you travel back and forth between LA and Kuala Lumpur, I bet you must already be an expert in packing. Mind sharing some packing tips?
Bit by bit, haha. I don’t pack that much I guess because I still have most of my stuff back in KL so travelling back home would be quite a breeze for me. But travelling back to L.A. on other hand, my mother helps me a lot with packing because I’m a very last-minute person at that haha. Thank you, mom!


What are your favorite places to eat, to catch live performances and relax in the City of Angels?
Downtown L.A.! Hands down!

If you could open for any international artist/band, who would it be and why?
Wow, there are so many to choose from! I used to mimic Gwen Stefani, picked up a tennis racquet and pretending I was the singer/guitarist in No Doubt. Opening for them would be awesome! But with an actual guitar this time!

You’re an active Twitter user. What’s the most interesting Twitter mention you’ve received?
I can’t recall a particular one but –this might sound cliché- it’s always the mentions that say how they can relate with my songs. I’m just a girl that compiles her experiences in three or four minutes at a time. To have people relate to that, it’s very rewarding.

Yuna’s self-titled U.S. album is out now on iTunes. If you find comfort in her numbers, send her a tweet or two at @yunamusic. She’s one Twitter freak. Checkout her website for details.

Latest posts by Nazirah Ashari (see all)