Yuna's High Five
Yuna's High Five - Detail

The global pause caused by the pandemic was a blessing in disguise for superstar Yuna.

Although the pandemic presented challenges for musicians, the situation was beneficial for homegrown songstress-turned-international superstar, Yuna. Finding herself no longer in constant motion helped the musician in re-balancing her priorities and redefined how Yuna wishes to approach her career as a musician going forward. After spending 10 years on the road, particularly in the US where she is based in Los Angeles, Yuna returned home to Kuala Lumpur in March 2020 for 18 months.

Because she had nothing much to do, the alternative R&B artist turned her father’s office into a studio and taught herself how to produce music. “It was like the first few months when I realised that I learnt how to write songs,” Yuna recalls. “I discovered something new about myself, that I can produce. And now I can write, and I don’t have to depend on anyone else for music.

"I was streaming my studio sessions for my fans on Twitch and I kept thinking, ‘How do I want to release this album? Do I want to keep it a secret and two years later we have an album?’ I decided I can’t do that anymore. There’s something very powerful about being an independent artist and knowing I can do this my own way.”

Yuna will release her fifth album, Y5, in the form of four EPs and a final album throughout 2022. The 35-year-old is recording the songs in stages and will be releasing the new music in bite-sized collections, which will allow each track to be memorable in its own right. The first, titled Y1, was released in March and featured three songs: Hello, Pantone 17 13 30, and Cigarette.

The second, Y2, which dropped two months later featured three more songs: Girl U Used to Know, 24hours, and Make a Move. Yuna’s outstanding path from aspiring musician to established artist and producer is evident on Y5, an album that marks the beginning of a new chapter in her career.

“Making this album takes me back to that time when I was an independent artist making music in my bedroom in Malaysia,” Yuna reflects. “To come from Malaysia and be able to build a career out of my music is incredible. I’ve been making music for 15 years, but I’m still learning.

"Now, I want to focus on making things that make me happy, instead of the things that make me stressed out. I want to find that balance. With this new album, I feel reborn as an artist.” Apart from her innovative new release strategy, Yuna has long been a fashion trendsetter, using her influence to talk about biased beauty standards in Asia and making modest attire more stylish.

She has even garnered the attention of luxury fashion house Chanel, which extended an invitation to her to attend the Spring/Summer 2020 runway show at the Grand Palais in Paris. High five, Yuna!

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