Yuna

Roughly a year ago, someone sent me link to a YouTube video of a cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” Ugh. Another Nirvana cover? Seriously? Can’t we just leave the Kurt’s music alone? And yet for some reason, against my better judgement — or simply due to boredom…it’s hard to tell whether this was a principled stance or not at this point — I was introduced to Yuna.

Yuna Zarai is a Los Angeles-based pop musician originally from Malaysia. She gained a lot of her international popularity and acclaim via Myspace back in 2006 and has continued pecking at mainstream success since then. For reasons beyond my understanding, however, that large scale popularity has eluded her, which is a shame because she’s incredibly talented. That Nirvana cover was interesting, but it was really just an introduction to her own music. It was the Decorate EP that really made me a fan. The song “Coffee” in particular.

That song is old now (at least as far as the Internet’s concept of “old” goes), but it’s still one of my favorite songs of the last ten years. She’s got a jazzy quality here. There’s a moment in this song when her voice fades into the soft, undulating vibrato of the keyboard that gives me chills every time. Her voice is wonderful. It’s like honey and pepper at the same time.

The rest of Decorate leans more towards the guitar-driven sound of a typical pop musician. Think along the lines of Corinne Bailey Rae, or Sia, or maybe even Lianne La Havas, and you’ll get the idea.

Yuna’s latest EP, Sixth Street, came out earlier this year and…I’m okay with it. I think she’s at her best with less production, but it’s still good. Since her last album, she’s made inroads with a bunch of notable names, too. The track “Live Your Life” was produced by Pharell, and Mike Einziger of Incubus has worked with her as well. Personally, though, and maybe this is just the raver in me, her best collaborations have been with Adventure Club. Yeah, it’s dubstep, so if you object on principle…well, you’re probably an EDM elitist. Adventure Club is probably the most musical brostep outfit out there, and Yuna makes a surprisingly good vocalist.

Ellie Golding fans in particular would do well to listen up right about now.

All this to say that I’m really excited for Yuna and especially happy to see her earn attention in recent days. She has a another full-length EP, Nocturnal, due out on October 29th, so be sure to check that out.

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Yuna