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Yuna is not your typical pop singer/songwriter. With her smokey voice, humble demeanor and intensely personal lyrics, she is a unique and refreshing new artist amid a sea of pop princesses and rappers.

Multiple publications have labeled the 24-year-old Malaysian as the artist you must know, she’s performed at South By Southwest, sold out her first ever show in New York City this year and even won Best English Song at the 2009 AIM Awards, Malaysia’s national music award show. 

Growing up in a Muslim household, Yuna listening to all kinds of pop and rock music and while at law school, she picked up her first guitar and began to write her own music. Now the United States will finally be able to listen to Yuna’s world renowned debut EP, “Decorate” when it drops today on iTunes.

Yuna is also working on a full length debut to be released later this year. GlobalGrind had the opportunity to spend time with Yuna, talk to her about her influences, writing in her native language and her favorite rappers. Yuna also gave us an exclusive performance of her beautiful song, “Someone Out Of Town” and you can watch the video right now below. 

GG:How do you write your songs?

Y: Sometimes I have a melody in my head, sometimes it’s just a verse. I read lines from a book or movies that I watch and grab a few quotes and start writing on paper. From there, I record a really rough version and work on the song. It usually takes me five-10 min to finish a song.

GG: What artists do you listen to?

Y: I listen to a little bit of everything but i really like Feist, Lykke Li, Coldplay, and some of the old stuff like Bob Dylan. My dad used to play a lot of Led Zeppelin. 

GG: You play piano and guitar, do you have any influences there?

Y: One of the reasons I picked up the guitar is because I saw a video of Feist performing in Paris. And for the piano, I listen to a lot of Fiona Apple and Tori Amos.

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GG: If you had a chance to perform a duo with a rapper who would it be?

Y: Lupe Fiasco is kinda cool, I like him a lot. 

GG: What inspired you to cover Kanye West’s song “Paranoid?”

Y: I knew some of the lyrics, and we wanted to do something fun and mess around. 

GG: Do you like singing in English?

Y: Yes, I love it. I love writing in Malay, but the language is very tricky.

GG: How do you think music fans in the U.S. will receive you?

Y: I’m not sure because it’s something new to me. When I first stated in Malaysia, having a Muslim Malay girl singing and holding a guitar was new to everyone. Even Muslims there had issues with it, they found it weird. I’m guessing it will be the same thing here, but people here are more open to new cultures and new things. I have a lot to offer musically, and I’m just an average girl that loves music.

GG: Has dealing with that mentally prepared you for anything you would deal with here?

Y: Yes.

GG: What has been the most surreal moment from when you were first discovered to now?

Y: Meeting Russell Simmons! It’s crazy because I really wanted this. Even in my first hours of writing music, I always thought it would be amazing if people in New York could relate to this song, and i have that now. Being signed to Fader was also surreal. I used to read “Fader” all the time at home, we would go to newspaper shops and buy old copies. I started writing music five years ago, and now five years later I’m here, it’s a really nice feeling.

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Yuna wows GlobalGrind with her smokey voice, personal lyrics and sweet and humble demeanor.

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Yuna wows GlobalGrind with her smokey voice, personal lyrics and sweet and humble demeanor.

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