Muslim Singer Yuna Talks To Us About Breaking The Glass Ceiling

Singer Yuna Photo Credit: Aimanness Harun

In our love of fashionable and incredibly talented women, who better to reach out to for an interview than Malaysian musician Yuna. Aside from her impeccable taste in wardrobe pieces, Yuna is also known for launching several incredibly popular English-language albums and for collaborating with artists like Jhene Aiko and Usher. To give you a little more insight as to who she is, here is Global Glam Magazine’s interview with the lovely Yuna:


GG: How would you describe yourself using only five words?

Yuna: Focused, outgoing, quiet, patient, thoughtful!

GG: How would you describe your emotional state right now, and the current state of your career?


Yuna: I’m really happy! I feel very blessed to be where I am right now, a little tired, but very content with my life and my career.


GG: In Malaysia you graduated from Law School, what inspired you to take the leap to become a professional musician?


Yuna: Music! I just love music and I knew from the beginning that I was meant to do something with my love for music. So after graduating, I decided to focus fully on my music career, write music, work with producers, releasing albums…move to the US!


GG: What was it like collaborating with some American artists like Usher (“Crush”) and Jhene Aiko (“Used To Love You”)?


Yuna: Amazing. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to work with them, it brings a breath of fresh air into my projects, like, imagine those two songs without them? They brought colors into the two songs.


GG: Specifically about the music video for “Crush”, what were some of the inspirations for the video?


Yuna: Usher and I wanted to show diversity in love and relationships…like we may come from different walks of life, but it’s very easy to fall in love, even when you don’t understand each other.


GG: Who are some people who inspire you musically?


Yuna: Lauryn Hill, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin.


GG: Where do you find inspiration for your music and lyrics?


Yuna: Mostly from conversations with people. I feel like people like to share their stories with me, and sometimes I just write based on how they feel…I write about myself too, but somehow I’m able to feel strongly about other people’s stories too.


 GG: Since the start of your career to your most current album Chapters, how has your sound and style changed as an artist?


Yuna: I think I grew up. I was a kid when I started out, and now I’m 30, I can’t be a kid forever and do the same type of music you know. I feel like I am at a point in my life now where I’m very comfortable with myself – the way I sound on records, and my style… I’m finally 100% confident with my identity.


GG: You have a wonderfully elegant and individual personal style, how do you derive inspiration for your wardrobe and make-up looks?


Yuna: I don’t know! My mom I guess! She’s very stylish! And Audrey Hepburn.


GG: How would you describe your attitude towards fashion and personal style?


Yuna: Just be you. That’s the most important thing. Trends they come and go, but like, I’ve been wearing denim overalls since I was 2. You know? Like find what you like, and grow with it.


GG: There are very few people of Asian descent and even fewer Muslim women who are known in the American music industry…


Yuna: .. but there are thousands of them from where I come from and they are MAD talented!


GG: How does it feel to be as widely known as you are in the American music industry?
Do you think we’re heading towards an era more inclusive of diversity in the music industry? Why or why not?


Yuna: Of course we are. We are in the social media era, you’re able to have access to everything now…ever wondered how Malaysian music sounds like? Just type in Malaysian music. It’s inevitable…I was very lucky to be one of the first few who broke into the music scene here doing English music and I’m so blessed to have a fanbase out here who accepts me for who I am.


Credit: Aimanness Harun
GG: What do you think are some misconceptions the public has regarding Muslim women with music and fashion? Can you elaborate?


Yuna: I think a lot of people still think we’re oppressed, we’re not. With Instagram and the internet, you can see it now that a lot of Muslim women are not afraid to speak up and just be themselves – with or without their scarves.


GG: Where do you see your career taking you next?


Yuna: I don’t know! It’s exciting. I love trying new things, so we’ll see! The sky is the limit. As long as I still get to make music, and perform, and be happy and I get to see my family as much as I do now…I’m ready to take on anything.


GG: How do you see the state of the music industry shifting in the next few years?


Yuna: I don’t know! I think more artists from the south east Asia are coming up… we’ve seen the K-pop artists making their names.. I think its time for the south east asians to take on the world!


GG: What do you want people to remember about you and your music?


Yuna: That it makes them feel they can go back to that one moment when the really let their heart feel something.



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