Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Yuna: Decorating Our Love

Written by Eliza Cole
Yuna1.jpgMulti-talented new artist Yuna recently released her first single, “Live Your Life,” from her upcoming self-titled album, produced by Grammy award winner Pharrell Williams. Her captivatingly sultry voice and smooth rhythms are reminiscent of bands like Portishead, Massive Attack, and Morcheeba. Aside from writing and singing her own music, Yuna’s talents extend well into the art world, including photography and fashion design. Melding photography into the music video for her cover of Nirvana’s "Come as You Are" is one way Yuna has showcased her multifaceted unique style. The former law student turned songwriter may not have predicted her professional music career. Yet sold out concerts, raving reviews, and award nominations (she was just nominated for a Nickelodean Kid's Choice Award) implore Yuna to face her fate as best new original musician.
Multi-talented new artist Yuna recently released her first single “Live Your Life,” produced by Grammy award winner Pharrell Williams. Her captivatingly sultry voice and smooth rhythms are reminiscent of bands like Portishead, Massive Attack and Morcheeba. Aside from writing and singing her own music, Yuna’s talents extend well into the art world, including photography and fashion design. Melding photography into the music video for her cover of Nirvana’s "Come as You Are" is one way Yuna has showcased her multifaceted unique style. The former law student turned songwriter may not have predicted her professional music career. Yet sold out concerts, raving reviews, and award nominations implore Yuna to face her fate as best new original musician.
 
Eliza: What inspired you to pursue music while in law school, and how did you begin playing and recording?
 
Yuna: I began performing at a lot of gigs during my final year, and I was hanging around musicians a lot at the time. I guess I was exposed to this cool artsy world that I could relate to. I was always in the library with my mates, and all the sudden I'm with a bunch of people jamming and singing together. I just got really inspired by that energy. My band mates were the ones who told me to push my music to the local music industry. I was twenty-two at the time, and finally after building a fan base back home, my music got picked up by the radio and after I graduated. I decided to do the music thing fulltime.
 
Eliza: Was there ever a second thought to becoming a fulltime musician?
 
Yuna: Of course! I mean when you've just graduated from law school, you tend to think about the logic of being a musician. Will it pay my bills? At the time, people were saying I was crazy to pursue music. The music industry wasn't doing really well, and although I was doing so well in law school, I also had a lot of support from fans and people who believed I could do more with my music. I felt like it I'd be crazy not to give it a shot. 
 
Eliza:  How did fashion become such a big part of your life, and what influenced the creation of I Am Jet Fuel?
 
Yuna: I was always into fashion ever since I was a kid. I was collecting magazines, flipping through Vogue, cutting out pictures from magazines and pasting them on my journal . . . and my mom always had cool clothes, skirts and jackets from the 80s, and I'm always wearing them. Two years ago I decided to get a shop set up in my neighborhood where I grew up.
 
Eliza:  What are some of the biggest challenges and biggest highlights of juggling fashion design and songwriting/recording?
 
Yuna:  Time is always a challenge. I wish there was more than twently four hours in a day. I'm also travelling a lot. I live in Los Angeles and also Kuala Lumpur now, and I fly back home  once in a while because I still want to be active in the Malaysian music industry, so right now I'm just multitasking--doing everything at once, wherever and whenever I can!
 
I think the highlight of my career was being able to meet a lot of cool people in Los Angeles and New York. Last year I was over at Russell Simmon's house to perform for an event, and I also got to work with Pharrell in Miami . . . [we] made a couple of records together. I met Jeff Staple from Staple design, and we became really good friends. So yeah, I'm really blessed to be able to meet these people!
 
Eliza:  Is photography something you also intend to seriously pursue like fashion and music?
 
Yuna:  Photography is something that I do a lot when I'm on the move, especially when I'm on tour. I have a Canon 5D Mark II and I take it everywhere with me. I guess my real passion is filming.I'm always 'pretending' that I'm shooting something with my 5D, taking random shots of things that might look cool for a short film. I wish I had the time to really sit down and write a short film! Maybe, in the future . . . 
 
Eliza:  The video of your cover 'Come as You Are' is quite reminiscent of your photography style; did you shoot the video yourself?
 
Yuna:  I did! That was my very first self-shot music video! Ha-ha, not really, like I said I'm always collecting footage on my camera so that was a compilation of Yuna's adventures!  
 
Eliza:  What is your favorite place in the world?
 
Yuna:  It has to be Venice, Italy. I went there last year, and I was blown away. I want to live there.
 
Eliza:   What's next for your art for the future?
 
Yuna: I guess I just want to do really well. Not to say really successful. I mean I love my job, but I just hope I'd grow into a really good musician, a good songwriter, and a good person altogether.
 

 


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