Yuna rehearsing at the 24th annual Juara Lagu.
|Birth name||Yunalis Mat Zara'ai|
14 November 1986 |
Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia
|Origin||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|Genres||Adult alternative, acoustic, folk rock, R&B, indie pop|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, ukulele|
|Labels||Yuna Room Records (2008–present)
Indie-Pop Music (2011–present)
Fader Label (2011–2012)
Verve Records (2013–present)
Early life and education
Yunalis Mat Zara'ai was born on 14 November 1986 in Alor Setar, Kedah, Malaysia to parents from Perak. Her father, Dato' Mat Zara'ai is the current legal advisor of Pahang and her mother is a high school teacher.
Yuna attended SMK USJ 4 Subang Jaya, Selangor, where she completed her secondary education. After this, Yuna attended Universiti Teknologi MARA in Shah Alam, where she studied law at its Faculty of Law. In 2009, she graduated with a Bachelor of Legal Studies (Hons.) degree.
During her tertiary studies, Yuna was involved in the music scene. Yuna was once an independent Malaysian singer-songwriter. She began writing her own songs when she was 14 years old, and her first performance of her own songs was at the age of 19, after she learned how to play guitar. She has performed in numerous acoustic shows and events in many parts of Malaysia since 2006. The same year, 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.
Yuna was eventually discovered in the US by the Indie-Pop record label and management company. They flew out to Malaysia to convince her to sign with them and then proceeded to get her a deal with Fader Label, a record label based in New York, in February 2011. She released her debut US EP, Decorate, in the United States in March the same year.
One of the first few people who expressed interest in her music was Farhan Fadzlishah aka Pa'an (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 (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. The track was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Pharrell Williams. MTV Iggy described the track as, "polished until it gleams but instead of burying Yuna, it lifts her up. The track has hints that a diva is waiting to shine." On 16 February 2012, the official music video for "Live Your Life" was released.
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. Accolades from fans and critics alike, such as Billboard, NPR, Elle, NY Times, Vibe Claire and National Geographic, who raves that her sound is “as fresh, honest and deeply personal as anything by Bon Iver or tUnEyArDs," have been rolling in.
She performed "Live Your Life" on late-night TV shows Conan and Last Call with Carson Daly. She was featured on the CBS Evening News in a featured profile piece and toured with Graffiti6 with stops at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. She also contributed to the Savages soundtrack on the track, Here Comes the Sun.
Yuna's meteoric rise in the Malaysian indie music scene is largely due to the strong following she gained via Myspace. Having played at many gigs since the release of her Demo, EP and then two local albums, she is now focusing on promoting and performing music on her debut US Album. Yuna also will be a part of Lollapalooza 2012 line up.
In 2008, she released her self-titled EP which become a massive hit in Malaysia most notably the single 'Deeper Conversation'.
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 new single "Live Your Life", which is produced by Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D.
Yuna recently signed with Verve Music Group. Multiple Grammy-winning producer David Foster, who heads the creative operations of Verve, tweeted: "I'm really excited about the next hot artist to join Verve Music. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for Yuna in 2013".
Charted in Heatseekers Album on Billboard "Live Your Life".
In 31 January 2015, Yuna performed in the closing ceremony of 2015 AFC Asian Cup.
Yuna once described her music as "a cross between Mary Poppins and Coldplay". She explains about this characterization of her musical style, "I can’t believe people still hold onto that! It was a quote that I had on, like, my MySpace music page seven years ago. But yeah, what I meant to say is I like to incorporate a lot of different genres in my music, and, you know, having a sense of honesty and sincerity in the lyrics as well. But I’m still pop at the same time."
- Anugerah Industri Muzik (The Music Industry Awards)
Anugerah Industri Muzik (or AIM) (literal English translation: The Music Industry Awards), is an annual event similar to Grammy Awards which recognises Malaysia's finest artists. Yuna has received nine awards (including the special Kembara Award in 2011).
The year indicates the ceremony year, awarding the previous years' works.
|Anugerah Industri Muzik Malaysia (AIM)|
|2010 (AIM17)||Best New Artist||Won|||
|Best Pop Song||Dan Sebenarnya
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Song (Song of the Year)||Won|
|Best Local English Song||Deeper Conversation
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female)||Dan Sebenarnya
(Yuna / Yuna)
|2011 (AIM18)||Best Album Cover||Decorate||Nominated|||
|Best Pop Song||Penakut
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Vocal Performance in a Song (Female)||Won|
|2012 (AIM19)||Best Pop Song||Terukir di Bintang
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Terukir Di Bintang||Nominated|||
|Best Local English Song||Memo
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Photo of You
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Album Cover||Nominated|
|Best Musical Arrangement in a Song||Terukir di Bintang
(Arranger: AG Coco)
|Best Music Video||Sparkle
(Dir: Quek Shio Chuan)
|2013 (AIM20)||Best Duo / Collaboration Vocal Performance in a Song||You're So Fine (duet with Guba)
(Gabriel Robert / Gabriel Robert & Yuna)
|Best Local English Song||Nominated|
|Best Pop Song||Lelaki
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Song (Song of the Year)||Lelaki
(Yuna / Yuna)
|Best Music Video||Dwihati (duet with Aizat Amdan)
(Dir: Syahir Ismail & Ili Amdan)
|2014 (AIM21)||Best Music Video||Falling
(Dir: Yuna & Zul Luey)
- Anugerah Planet Muzik (The Music Planet Awards)
Anugerah Planet Muzik (or APM) (literal English translation: The Music Planet Awards), is an annual event participated by three different countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Each year, one of the three countries will host the event where all artistes from the three participating countries would gather to compete in two main categories – Best Achievement (judged by professional judges from all three countries) and Most Popular (voted by voters from all participating countries through Short Message Service (SMS) and forms in magazines). Yuna has received nine nominations.
|Anugerah Planet Muzik|
|2008 (APM 8)||Best Vocal Performance in a Song (New Female Artiste)||Dan Sebenarnya||Yuna (EP)||Nominated|
|2009 (APM 9)||Malaysia's Most Popular Artiste||Nominated|
|2011 (APM 11)||Regional Most Popular Artiste||Nominated|
|2012 (APM 12)||Best Female Artiste||Nominated|
|Best Song||Terukir Di Bintang||Terukir Di Bintang||Nominated|
|Most Popular Regional Artiste||Nominated|
|New Media Icon||Nominated|
|2013 (APM 13)||Most Popular Regional Song||Terukir Di Bintang||Terukir Di Bintang||Nominated|
|Most Popular Regional Artiste||Nominated|
|2014 (APM 14)||APM Most Popular Artiste||Nominated|
|Best Duo/Group||Dwihati (shared with Aizat Amdan)||Nominated|
- Anugerah Juara Lagu (The Champion Song Awards)
Anugerah Juara Lagu (or AJL) (literal English translation: The Champion Song Awards), is a yearly event which recognises the musical composition of a song based on the collaborations of three parties – the lyricist, the composer (s) and the artiste. Its weekly programme will gather singles and song nominations from various artistes where they will compete until their songs are shortlisted as finalists before ultimately being nominated to be judged by professional judges. From 1986 until 1991, finalists were chosen based on monthly winners, and from 1992 until 2008, songs were separated into three main categories – Ballad, Irama Malaysia and Ethnic Creative Song and also Pop Rock. However, from 2009 onwards, the award show was revamped and all 12 finalists were made to compete against each other regardless of category. Throughout Yuna's four years of participating, five of her songs had qualified for nomination in the show. In 2012, she won the award show's highest title, the Champion of Champions with Terukir di Bintang, her seventh Malay language song.
|Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL)|
|2009 (AJL 24)||Dan Sebenarnya||Yuna – EP||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Won
|2010 (AJL 25)||Cinta Sempurna||Decorate||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Nominated|
|2011 (AJL26)||Gadis Semasa||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Nominated|
|2012 (AJL 27)||Terukir di Bintang||Terukir Di Bintang||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Won
( CHAMPION )
|2014 (AJL 29)||Lelaki||Yuna||Yuna||Open||Nominated|
- Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (Berita Harian's Most Popular Star Awards)
Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (or ABPBH) (literal English translation: Berita Harian's Most Popular Star Awards), is an award ceremony that recognises the most popular artistes of the year. The award is a yearly ceremony organised by one of Malaysia's newspapers, Berita Harian with results entirely based on votes cast by readers. Yuna has received five nominations and won three awards.
|Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian (ABPBH)|
|2009 (ABPBH 23)||Popular New Artist (Female)||Won|
|Popular Female Singer||Nominated|
|2010 (ABPBH 24)||Popular Female Singer||Won|
|2011 (ABPBH 25)||Popular Female Singer||Won|
|2012 (ABPBH 26)||Popular Female Singer||Nominated|
|2013 (ABPBH 27)||Popular Female Singer||Nominated|
- SHOUT! Awards
The Shout! Awards is an entertainment award show created to celebrate the Malaysian entertainment scene which is said has rapidly developed. The award recognises people of music, television, film and radio industry as well as the entertainment industry as a whole. Yuna has received thirteen nominations and won five awards including the award show highest honour, The Ultimate Shout! Award.
|2010||Break Out Award (Best New Act)||Won|||
|Mobile Artiste of the Year||Dan Sebenarnya (WkndSessions)||Nominated|
|Ultimate Shout! Award||Won|
|Power Vocal Awards||Nominated|
|Music Video Awards||Terukir di Bintang||Nominated|
|Fresh TV Series Awards||Bintang Di Langit||Nominated|
|Wired Celebrity Awards||Won|
|2013||Music Video Award||Dwihati (shared with Aizat Amdan)||Nominated||–|
|(shared with Aizat Amdan)||Nominated|
|Wired Celebrity Awards||Nominated|
|2008||VIMA Music Awards||Best Pop Vocalist||Won|
|2009||AVIMA Awards||Best Song To Play At Camp Fire and To Do Away With Monday Morning Blues||Deeper Conversation||Decorate (EP)||Nominated|
|Best Overall Female Vocalist||Nominated|
|Junksounds Awards||Best Acoustic Act||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||Backpacking Around Europe||Yuna (EP)||Nominated|
|2011||MACP Awards||Most Performed Malay Song||Dan Sebenarnya||Yuna (EP)||Won|
|MTV Iggy||Best New Band in the World||Nominated|
|2012||Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards||Favourite Asian Act}||Nominated|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Asian Act||Nominated|
|Newbie Awards||Best New Female Artist||Nominated|
|PPMH Awards||Stylo Artist Award||Nominated|
|Promising Artist Award||Won|
|2013||Bella Awards||Bella Creative Award||Nominated|
|2014||World Music Awards||Worlds Best Song||Lelaki, lights & camera||Nominated|
|Worlds Best Album||Nocturnal||Nominated|
|Worlds Best Video||Lelaki||Nominated|
|Worlds Best Female Artist||Nominated|
|Worlds Best Live Act||Nominated|
|Worlds Best Entertainer of the Year||Nominated|
|MTV Europe Music Awards||Best Southeast Asia Act||Come Back||Nocturnal||Nominated|
She was once romantically linked with the Malaysian TV host Qi Qushairi Razali, but the relationship ended in early 2012 when it proved too difficult to balance their relationship whilst Qi lives in Malaysia. She also dated Model and Photographer Julian Schratter in 2013.
In popular culture
||This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2014)|
Yuna covered "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles for the 2012 film, Savages. The song was featured during the ending credits."Tourist" was featured as part of the soundtrack in season 1 of a US TV series, Arrow. Her song "Favourite Thing" was featured in another US TV series, Pretty Little Liars. She was featured in the Malaysian version of KakaoTalk advertisement, released in Malay, English, and Chinese language. She also recorded a song in collaboration with Adam Young of Owl City called "Shine Your Way" for the soundtrack of the animated film The Croods. The film was released by DreamWorks Animation in March 2013. A remix version of her song "Live Your Life" by MeLo-X appeared on the in-game radio station WorldWide FM in the video game Grand Theft Auto 5. Another Yuna song "Lullabies" was also featured in the twenty-second episode, the season finale of the fifth season and also the series finale of 90210, the reboot of "Beverly Hills, 90210". Yuna also had her song "Lights and Camera" featured on an episode of the third season of the US reality show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.
- "Yuna Zarai". AllMusic. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- "EXCO of Pahang". Pahang.gov.my. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
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- "Yuna joins The Fader Label". 2 February 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "FADER Label: Yuna’s Decorate EP". 16 March 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- Beverly Bryan (24 January 2012). "Live Your Life by Yuna". Mtv Iggy. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "Someone Out of Town by Yuna Music on SoundCloud – Create, record and share your sounds for free". Soundcloud.com. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "BEST NEW BAND 2011". Mtv Iggy. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
- "It's Official: David Foster Named Chairman of Verve Music Group". Billboard. 15 December 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- Yuna. Bilboard.
- "Pandelela, Yuna Win Youth Icon Award". Malaysian Digest. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "LISTEN TO YUNA’S “BROKE HER,” WHICH FLIPS THE SAMPLE FROM DRAKE’S “0–100″". 3 December 2014. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
- Charlene Joseph (15 July 2009). "Yuna reveals her dark side". Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- Ray Rahman (24 October 2013). "Let the buzz begin: Singer-songwriter Yuna on her new album 'Nocturnal'". Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- Tara Aquino (8 June 2012) Interview: Yuna Talks Her U.S. Tour and Working with Pharrell Williams. Complex
- "About RIM". Rim.org.my. 24 October 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- Suraya al-Attas (13 December 1993). "Countdown to local Grammys". New Straits Times. p. 27. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
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- "Yuna sweeps three awards at AIM". New Straits Times. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
- Jenilyn Alexia (19 November 2012). "English song the biggest winner of the night". The Malay Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- Bibi Nurshuhada Ramli (15 December 2013). "Hafiz, Yuna big winners of AIM20". New Straits Times. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Dennis Chua (9 January 2013). "Aizat rules with Yuna’s song". New Straits Times. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- "Siti Nurhaliza makes it No. 7.". New Straits Times. 5 April 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
- Dennis Chua (4 August 2011). "Newcomers win big at ABPBH". New Straits Times Press. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- Dennis Chua (9 April 2012). "Aaron, Maya voted the most popular". New Straits Times. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Shouts of joy". The Sun. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- "Yuna shines at Shout!". New Straits Times. 25 November 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
- "Asian Acts Wonder Girls, Agnes Monica, Charice, & Yuna Rock The U.S. [VIDEOS]". RyanSeacrest.com. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Yuna nominated for MTV Europe Music Awards". New Straits Times. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
- "Yuna Zarai Brings Her Sound and Style to the U.S.". Marie Claire. 11 May 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- "Yuna gets inspired by spider". The Daily Chilli. 1 February 2011.
- Bibi Nurshuhada Ramli (30 September 2012). "SHOWBIZ: Yuna’s Homecoming". New Straits Times. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- "Arrow Music | Season 1". CWTV. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
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