Turning 30 is like my wake-up call
US-based Malaysian singer Yuna on her goals for the year, lessons learned from past relationships, and her take on the US presidential race
His knack for making offensive statements and his racist, sexist ways have caused much controversy worldwide since he declared his intention to run for president in June last year.
In a scary, baffling twist, Donald Trump remains the Republican frontrunner in the upcoming US presidential election.
This is the same man who vowed to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to keep immigrants out and urges a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", while voicing his support for a possible move which would require all Muslims in the US to be registered in a database.
As a Muslim living in Los Angeles, Malaysian singer Yuna cannot stand the repulsive comments made by the 69-year-old business mogul, reality TV personality and now politician.
The Kedah-born 29-year-old, whose real name is Yunalis Zarai, told M yesterday during a phone interview from Los Angeles: "To me, he is ridiculous. I don't think America will let him carry on with the way he is going. A huge population in America is made up of legal immigrants who work there for a living or who have lived here for the most part of their lives. This, to me, is not logical.
"His words get coverage in the press and he is gaining attention because America loves entertainment and he is giving it to them. To him, this is a show, a game. It is really dangerous for him to be saying things like that."
Meanwhile, in light of International Women's Day, the singer-songwriter and entrepreneur called Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton one of her female role models.
"She dares to critique and it takes a lot of courage to say that. No one would do what she does and for that, she deserves a standing ovation," said Yuna, who also counts her mother and Australian actress Cate Blanchett as her idols.
Yuna has been based in Los Angeles for the past five years and has been working extremely hard to make a name for herself stateside.
PHOTO: UNIVERSAL MUSIC SINGAPORE
She already has two international albums - Sixth Street EP and Nocturnal were both released in 2013 under David Foster's Verve Music Group - and her third, Chapters, is slated for release on May 20.
On Chapters, she worked with notable names in the US music industry like R&B singers Usher and Jhene Aiko as well as record producer and one-half of legendary hip hop duo Gang Starr, DJ Premier.
There is no time to pause and breathe for the soulful singer, who will kick off her US tour in Washington on April 29.
Yuna goes personal and touches on topics like her roots, romantic relationships and break-ups, unrequited love as well as loss in her latest work.
She said: "The song Places To Go, produced by DJ Premier, came at a time when a lot of things were happening to me last year. My grandpa was dying and I was going through a break-up.
"In my last relationship, I learnt a lot about myself. We were both young and trying to balance our work as well as making this relationship work.
"In my past two relationships, I went quite public with it and I realise that's not for me. Both times, it didn't work out.
"In another song, I talk about how my mum encouraged me and told me to be patient in overcoming adversity."
Perhaps for Yuna, telling her story is part of her journey in discovering herself as she approaches the big 3-0 this year.
She has never felt more comfortable in her own skin as she does now.
"I'm a grown woman now. In the past, I had people tell me what to do or how something should not be done.
"Now I want to step forward with what matters to me and what I want to do. 2016 is the year I go for things I deserve, like the freedom to express myself and music.
"I spent a huge chunk of my 20s going through life under a microscope. Turning 30 this year is like my wake-up call.
"I think I've stopped caring about what people think about me. What's important is I make music and make myself and my parents happy," she said.
2016 is the year I go for things I deserve, like the freedom to express myself and music.
- Malaysian singer Yuna