Malaysian-born singer Yuna started her musical career writing songs as a creative outlet at the tender age of 14, playing gigs at jazz clubs around her native Kuala Lumpur. But the young artist has since traveled far away from home – setting up camp in LA, collaborating with heavy-hitting stars like Usher, and now nominated for an Oscar for her song “On Ghost Ridge” from the documentary 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice.
She first found her focus working with the likes of hip-hop producer Robin Hannibal and rediscovering her love for early ‘00s R&B, yielding the critically acclaimed album Chapters that has propelled Yuna to travel the world, including a stop at W Bali’s Sound Suite to catch up with music curator Damian Saint.
Since moving to the States, however, the artist has not lost sight of where she came from: “Just because I live in America doesn’t mean that I’m going to be a bubblegum pop artist. I’m still going to be Yuna.”
Listen up to another episode of Sounding Off as Yuna gets intimate about her humble beginnings, her contemporary influences (Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Usher and TLC, to name a few) and what it’s like to be a role model to aspiring artists in her hometown of Kuala Lumpur.