— Yuna Zarai (@yunamusic) July 13, 2019
I’ve never had more time to listen to music than I have while quarantining at home. Now that a lot of my work revolves around my computer and social media, I needed new jams to soothe my ears and my soul as I set to work in a time of uncertainty.
One of my friends responded to my Instagram poll asking for new Asian and Asian American artists, and they had suggested Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna.
I had first heard about the artist when my friend made me a playlist of songs that she liked in 2017, including “Crush.” So Nadejah, if you’re reading this, thanks friend (I still have that playlist). I dove into Yuna’s music then and have been a fan ever since, only recently rediscovering her again and obsessively listening to her latest album, “Rouge,” on repeat.
The album itself was an ambitious project for the singer-songwriter, who arrived in the U.S. at 23, according to her Spotify About page. It was two years in the making and the fourth album she’s written as a “fully realized woman.”
“Red is the color of the woman I am today,” Yuna said to Interview Magazine.
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Here’s a song I wrote a while ago.. Thought the title is appropriate given the current situation? that’s right STAY where u are❤️ Sending you guys love.. Hope you’re finding peace, strength and hope at home at this time. This too shall pass. Please stay safe and stay kind! #stayathome #staystrong #staysafe #newmusicfriday
Yuna originally went to law school in Malaysia and, during that time, found her passion for music when auditioning for Malaysian Idol, she told the magazine.
Her latest album has such soulful, lyrical sounds: Very much R&B.
I heard this the most when listening to “Teenage Heartbreak.” I fell in love with her short staccato, fast and slow breathy voice, especially at the beginning of the song.
“If someone was to tell me back when I was 22 / That a boy was gonna take my heart and break it / I would hand it to you.”
One of my favorite songs she collaborated on was “Does She” along with Korean American Rapper Jay Park. Every line punched, and Park’s velvety smooth vocals mixed well with Yuna’s.
“And I heard you’re tearing pages from my history / Ignoring all the side effects / And I heard you got a new one that looks just like me.”
What struck me most about the album was the last song “Tiada Akhir,” which was not in English. I thought it was a well-thought-out nod to where she came from.
The album overall made for a great work album due to Yuna’s soothing tones. I have to give another shout-out for “Coffee.” I think it’s such a special number and makes me feel like I’m in the basement of a cool, little-known bar instead of sipping coffee at my kitchen table at home. I think this song truly encompasses the depth of Yuna’s voice and her talent as a songwriter.
“In high definition I’m dreaming of you / With my disposition I’m losing my cool / With my everything I’d give anything to be with you.”
3 Songs To Add to Your Playlist:
1. Blank Marquee
3. Lullabies- Adventure Club Remix
Kimberly Nguyen is the associate digital editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.