Sunday flashback! I have to rewind to the early days of shooting with my pocket sized camera, oh how I loved that mini camera. I would spend my Sundays buying vintage clothes and jewelry at the Rose Bowl flea market and also to get photos of the most fashionably trendy people shopping. Those days have now turned from no longer shopping on Sundays at flea markets but to shooting music artist and many other creatives as a profession. However, what a perfect Sunday it was this past week, I was able to catch up and grab a bite with Malaysian singer Yuna .We met at her favorite local restaurant “Yukos Kitchen” where she ordered the Unagi rice bowl with an iced coffee while I always order my favorite spicy beef udon soup. If you’ve never been to Yuko kitchen, you must go! It is definitely a must try, it honestly feels like a home cooked meal every time! We were able to finally catch up since her month long US tour which just ended literally a week ago here in new home Los Angeles. She is thrilled, she is excited and most of all grateful to have put out another amazing album. Not only is this her 3RD album she’s dropped but this is like her baby!! This girl has worked hard! Not only was this album much different from the other albums she’s put out but it was pulling a lot from her heart which was something she wanted to share with the world. I asked her a few simple questions just to really get a true sense of what, “Chapters” was all about….
1) Would you consider this your best album you've put out? And if so, why?
Definitely. I think I took my time to really get in touch with my emotions. I was going through a lot when I was working on this album but I knew I had to filter out some unnecessary thoughts in my head and really know what I want to say in my songs. I got the opportunity to work with some of my favorite producers too and they really helped me a lot in creating a direction or a story for this album.
2) Would you consider this album to be a bit more on the contemporary R&B side?
Yes! I think I’ve always meddled with the idea of just putting out an urban contemporary album.. and I just went for it. I had a lot of support from my friends as well saying I should definitely do an R&B album.
3) Which are your three most favorite songs on the album? And why?
I think Mannequin, Lanes and All I do. I realized that these were all the songs that i had the lyrics and melodies in my head like.. months before i really worked on them with my producers. They would lay out the music and ill be like "oh I actually have the perfect lyric for this!" Its more honest and more destined I think because it wasn’t something I wrote to fit the music.. they were waiting for that perfect melody.
4) It seems that sex and sexuality is sometimes taken out of context in Hollywood and music industry, how do you keep it real and sexy still being a Muslim woman? And define what sexy is to you? Sexy is confidence to me. Being a woman is all about protecting your 'magic'. The industry (at least in the pop music industry) is so adamant about creating this image or this fantasy of an innocent young girl turned into a sex symbol and you see it everywhere- but there’s always just classy and sexy women in music to me like Alicia Keys who has been in the R&B world for so long and remains beautiful and classy. Adele, Norah Jones.. who wouldn’t use sex appeal to sell their music. Just stories and their talent. You gotta know yourself and know what you want to contribute to world besides your talent and music- and keeping in mind what ALL the women in the world believes in or cares about. Not just in the western world.
5) What would you tell someone who is following their dreams as an artist to do or keep doing?
If this is really what you want- you really need to have a great attitude. Respectful. Humble. And you gotta work really hard. You gotta be aware of the people around you too.. mix around with genuinely nice and positive people. The industry has the ability to take away that magic from you and temp you with all these other stuff that could lead you astray and could result in.. you know.. failure or worse, just losing your mind.. but if you’re determined and focused on the end goal I think you'll be fine.
After listening through the entire album, my mouth dropped. Every lyric, every was on point. She brought something so new and so refreshing to the contemporary R&B world that I feel everyone needs to grab this gem. My favorite 5 songs would definitely be
1) Used to Love you (feat. Jhene Aiko)
2) Your Love
5) Unrequited Love
This album has been on repeat since the day its dropped and I cant seem to put it down. Once you get a hold of her album, I would love to know what your favorite 5 songs are. Enjoy!!