When asked to describe the new and emerging Malaysian singer, Yunalis Zarai, or her stage name Yuna, the word “unique” should come up. Everything about Yuna, who hails from one of Malaysia’s federal capital, Kuala Lumpur, is simply unique. From her music to her journey to where she is right now is just unique. Her hit single, produced by Pharrell, “Live Your Life,” and the rest of her songs on her first album, “Yuna,” is the type of music you can’t categorize or label it a genre. Even Yuna, herself, can’t seem to classify it, let alone describe it. However, that’s the beauty of Yuna and her music. As she claimed during our interview, her voice is the only component in all of her songs that holds them together – the rest is just a little bit of everything: everything from Malaysia to America. Her soft, folk-like voice with a twist from her Malaysian accent that sings songs that were inspired from her travels is another element that makes Yuna unique and is what made Pharrell want to jump in the studio with her and her recording label, Fader. In a society where its pop culture is a pool of artists with a pattern of similar types of music and personas, Yuna isn’t afraid to be herself – especially when it comes to her music.
Having an updated vlog on YouTube is another way that Yuna shows to her fans who she really is and how genuine her music is. She claims that she doesn’t need to put up an act around her fans and she most definitely prides herself in not being a gimmick in current day’s pop culture. This is why she is not afraid to reveal that she has learned and grown from working with Pharrell and that her knowledge in music has expanded since her music days in law school. That’s right, Yuna was once a law school student and once had dreams of becoming a lawyer. However, she discovered her talent in songwriting and music during her final year in law school when she began to hang out with independent musicians and decided to chase after a career in music. Letting her strong intrigue in their mere independence in music guide her, she soon began to teach herself how to play the guitar, write songs, and produce them. Her unique style in music and her voice is just what this society needs: genuine, real music with no outrageous costumes, smoke machines, and flashy lights. Continue reading for the full interview and for her music!
It was just last month when Ford Models declared Filipina Danica Magpantay its new face. But even a month before the competition, Malaysia had already been narrowing down its search to find the top contender to participate in the 30th anniversary of New York’s Ford Supermodel of the World 2011 competition this August.
Malaysia’s 12 finalists, ranging from ages 16 to 23, are of diverse origins including Bajau, Malay, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Kelabit, English and Punjabi. And for most of the girls, this is their first modeling industry foray.
It’s no surprise that the religion of Islam tends to make some Americans a bit testy. After the name “Osama Bin-Laden” started making news hour rounds, the name “Muhammad” immediately lost all rights to dinner table conversation, except in reference to boxing movies with Will Smith (or attacks on Danish cartoonists).
Then there’s Young Imam, the Malaysian reality show. Think American Idol minus Sex And The City 2. Ten young, good-looking men compete for the favor of a judge, who eliminates one contestant every week. Sounds familiar, except the contestants are all devout Muslims, and the judge is a former grand mufti of the Malaysian national mosque. And the grand prize? A free trip to Mecca, a scholarship to al-Madinah University of religious studies in Saudi Arabia, and a job as one of the country’s premiere religious leaders. That’s Imam for you.
Calling this an unusual perception of Islamic culture would be sort of like calling Caddy Shack a different take on golf culture. Islam is the second mostpracticed religion in the world, and yet in America our views are shaped by the actions of a relatively small number of extremists. Young Imam gives us a version of Islam that is decidedly moderate — and, as it turns out, crowd-pleasing. After three weeks, the show’s Facebook page has garnered plenty of fans; among them are a good number of mother-in-laws trying to marry off their daughters to the show’s rising studs.