Yuna whose real name is Yunalis binti Mat Zara’ai is a Malaysian singer-songwriter and businesswoman born on 14th November 1986 in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia. Her most popular song is ‘Crush’ which features Usher.
Her father, The Hon. Justice Dato’ Mat Zara’ai bin Alias is formerly the Pahang State Legal Advisor and is currently a Judicial Commissioner at the High Court of Johor Bahru and her mother is a retired high school chemistry teacher.
Yuna Education Background
Yuna attended SMK USJ 4 Subang Jaya, Selangor for her secondary education. In 2009 she graduated with a Bachelor of Legal Studies (Hons.) degree from the Universiti Teknologi MARA in Shah Alam.
Yuna Career/ Yuna Singer
At the age of 14 she began writing her own songs and at the age of 19 she first performed her own song, after she learned how to play guitar.
Since 2006 she has performed in numerous acoustic shows and events in many parts of Malaysia. She auditioned for the first season of One in a Million, making it to the top 40 round before she got cut from the competition in 2006.
In 2008 she released her self-titled EP which become a massive hit in Malaysia most notably the single “Deeper Conversation”.Yuna’s initial exposure came through the viral success of her music uploaded to
Myspace, which received over one million plays.
Yuna was discovered by the Indie-Pop record label and management company. In February 2011 she got a deal with Fader Label, a record label based in New York. In March 2011 she released her debut US EP,
Decorate, in the United States.
One of the first few people who expressed interest in her music was Farhan Fadzlishah aka Pa’an of Telephony Delivery, who later became her supporting guitarist. Along the way, Efry Arwis (Lightcraft) helped her with the bass while Adib Azfar handled the drums. Adil Ali (of Seven Collar T-shirt) replaced Adib Azfar after the latter quit to concentrate on his drumming role in Oh Chentaku. Yuna performs with her band when she is not active in acoustic gigs.
On 24 January 2012, her single “Live Your Life” debuted on iTunes.On 24 April 2012, Yuna’s US debut self-titled album was released. Debuting at No.23 on the Pop chart and No.86 on the Top 100 Albums on iTunes, Yuna was also No.23 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart.
Yuna was the first runner-up of MTV Iggy’s Best New Bands in the World. She performed at the historic MTV Studios in Times Square, New York singing “Decorate”, “Come As You Are”, “Lullabies” which is produced by Chris Braide and her single “Live Your Life”.
In 2012, Yuna was recognised with a National Youth Icon Award, awarded by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for her exceptional achievements in arts.
In 2013 she was signed with Verve Music Group. On 29th 2013 Yuna released her second international album, Nocturnal, by Verve Records.In December 2014, Yuna released the song “Broke Her” as a single. It features a sample of Drake’s 0 to 100.
On January 31, 2015, Yuna performed in the closing ceremony of 2015 AFC Asian Cup. She has been appointed as Malaysia’s tourism adviser to boost tourist arrivals in the country alongside with Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza and Datuk Jimmy Choo Yeang Keat on June of the same year.
On May 20, 2016, Yuna released her latest album Chapters through Verve Records. The album features the collaboration from Usher, Jhené Aiko and DJ Premier. As of December 2016, the album had been selected by Billboard in 7th place of its 2016 Critics’ Picks for Best R&B Album.
Yuna co-owns a women’s clothes boutique, IAMJETFUEL, in Subang Jaya, Selangor. In 2014, she re-opened the shop with a new name, ‘November Culture’, which is also situated in Subang Jaya with a worldwide online presence. 14Nov by Yuna Zarai (brand name) are clothes and scarves that are designed by Yuna herself. She started introducing this brand in the US by promoting it in fashion shows (Fashion Fighting Famine or #FFFShow) in California. Besides that, she also opened a pop store in New York as well as Los Angeles. Recently, she has launched her new collaboration with Malaysian designer, Hatta Dolmat.
On May 1, 2018, Yuna announced on her Instagram account that the November Culture boutique, has officially ceased operations as she can’t cover expenses due to financial problems.
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- 2016: Chapters
- 2013: Nocturnal
- 2010: Decorate
- 2012: Yuna
- 2012: Yuna Terukir Di Bintang
- 2013: Yuna Nocturnal (Deluxe Edition) (Deluxe Edition)
- 2013: Yuna Sixth Street EP
- 2015: Yuna Material
- Shine Your Way
- Used to Love You
- Live Your Life
- I Wanna Go
- Best Love
- Fading Flower
- All I Do
- Someone Out of Town
- Lights And Camera
- Favourite Thing
- A Whole New World
- Terukir di Bintang
- Bad Idea
- Cinta Sempurna
- Loud Noises
- Best of Me
- See You Go
- Remember My Name
- Random Awesome
- Super Something / Dan Sebenarnya
- Fears and Frustrations
- Gadis Semasa
Yuna began dating Adam Sinclair, a Malaysian director, in 2015. They met on the set of a television commercial in 2013. On 6th August 2017 they got engaged at her family home in Shah Alam. On 26th January they got married at special ceremony in Puncak Rimba, Bentong, Pahang.
She has a networth of $1.5 million
Yuna always covers her head with head scarves or hijabs, she says that she says she believes in being modest and that is why she covers up.
“I believe in modesty, so I cover myself.It’s gaining a lot of popularity with hijabi fashion bloggers. I’m no different from those girls, except I make music.”
Yuna didn’t grow up wearing a hijab, she describes her native country as “more on the liberal side” and estimates about half the Muslim women in Malaysia sport them by choice—she made the decision to do so around a decade ago, and now keeps hundreds of styles in her daily rotation.
“It became a part of me immediately, when I put it on, I feel more confident. A lot of people think it’s a symbol of oppression. But it’s very liberating, actually.”
Part of the empowerment is in the way a head scarf shifts focus toward a woman’s facial features, Yuna explains. “You’re protecting your identity as a woman. You’re protecting your magic, you know?” Yet she refuses to judge anyone for doing otherwise: “On the other end of the spectrum there are women who believe in showing your body, and that’s fine, too,” she says. “It’s an interesting time to see people embracing differences.”
“You know what’s weird? A lot of Southeast Asian girls think that being fair-skinned is beautiful. So they always try to use whitening products. I was never considered beautiful back home. When I got here [to L.A.], a lot of people were so intrigued by my features. I think that’s what I realized—in America, being colorful is beautiful. I always try to tell that to the younger girls back home in Malaysia. I recently tweeted about this—I’m tan, too, you can be on my team.”
Yuna is of muslim religion and despite her career picking in America she still follows her religion beliefs
‘When I first started playing music, I was already covered … wearing headscarves. And, like, normally, people would expect you to change, toss this part of your life away so that you could be a pop star. But I just wanted to make music, not really be a “pop star” pop star. And there’s always people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with what I’m doing right now. But … I’m really happy with where I am right now, you know. I’m a Muslim. I don’t try to hide it. I’m also a girl who loves music. And I don’t try to hide that as well.’
On life as a Muslim “pop star”
When I first started playing music, I was already covered … wearing headscarves. And, like, normally, people would expect you to change, toss this part of your life away so that you could be a pop star. But I just wanted to make music, not really be a “pop star” pop star. And there’s always people who wouldn’t necessarily agree with what I’m doing right now. But … I’m really happy with where I am right now, you know. I’m a Muslim. I don’t try to hide it. I’m also a girl who loves music. And I don’t try to hide that as well.
On the risk of reaching to the U.S.
I was doing quite well in Malaysia. … Everyone was so excited about my music, and they started accepting me as an artist. And coming out here was like taking a risk. But it’s something that I really wanted to do for a very long time. Like, I need to do something with my English music. … Coming out here kind of enabled me to experiment with a lot of different music, and I really wanted to come up with music that the whole world could relate to.
On writing songs in English instead of Malay
I kind of always struggled writing in Malay, because Malay is such a beautiful language. And it gets really hard, you know, if you want to make it into a song. It’s kind of tricky. You have to make it sound beautiful, use the right words. And with English, you can be direct, like writing a letter to someone.
On “stay true to yourself,” the message behind her song “Lights and Camera”
Being in the spotlight, you know, you tend to kind of forget who you are. And being an artist … it could be a very superficial job. It could be very pretentious as well. People just … see the surface of it, and not really getting into, like, who this person really is. And … they don’t know what’s going on with this person. As that person, sometimes you kind of lose track of who you are. And usually everything is moving so fast, and, you know, you kind of get lost in everything. So I just wanted to write a strong song about knowing who you are and being yourself no matter what.