你或許在上月的Clockenflap見過她,或許在各大串流媒體上聽過她的熱播金曲Crush,時尚的頭巾造型、鮮明的輪廓與治癒的嗓音叫人難忘,她剛剛完成了第一回亞洲巡迴演出,最近更是與Beyoncé、Rihanna、John Legend等登上Billboard 2016年十大R&B專輯榜。今期,Hf遇上來自馬來西亞的八十後唱作歌手Yuna,一位自信、美麗的現代穆斯林女性。

HOKK fabrica:Hf | Yuna:Y

HF:Tell us more about your latest album, Chapters.

Y:Chapters is based on my personal experiences. I wrote the album after I ended a really serious relationship but I didn’t want to make it a ‘breakup album’. I wanted it to be an empowering album – I went through the storm, I got out, I made it through. The album is about finding my strength as a woman, finding my womanhood and embracing it. I’m not 21 anymore, you know, I’m not young, I’m not like bright-eyed and innocent and fragile. I’m stronger, I’m wiser, I’m more mature now. The way I see love now is different from when I saw it back then. And I learnt so much about myself. I wanted people to be able to relate to that. A lot of girls who are going through heartbreaks or rough situations, I want them to know that they are not alone even in those times.

中:Chapters 源自我的個人經歷。我是在結束一段認真的關係之後寫的,但我不想它成為一張「分手專輯」。我想它是一張賦權的專輯──我遇上風浪,我從風浪中走出來。這張專輯是關於作為一個女人怎樣尋找力量,怎樣擁抱自己的處境。我不再是21歲的幼嫩和無知,現在的我變得更強、更聰明、更成熟。我今天的愛情觀已經跟昨天不同。我在過程中學到很多關於自己的事,我希望專輯能夠引起人們的共鳴,讓那些正在經歷分手或艱難時刻的女生知道,她們並不是孤獨的。

Album Chapters by Yuna
Photo courtesy of Yuna

HF:Is there a specific time period where the stories in this album happened?
Y:I wrote most of the songs within the last two years or so. The song, ‘Places to Go’, for example, is about being away from my family. I want to go to all these different places but at the end of the day I just wanted to come home.
中:大部分歌都是我在過去兩年寫的。以Places to Go為例,它就是一首關於離開家人的歌。我有很多地方想去,但到最後發現原來我最渴望的就是回家。

HF:You now live in L.A.. Do you miss home often?
Y:I do! But that’s the thing, right? I try to come home as much as I can, like once every two months. Because I’m constantly working, I’m always away from my family. So when I’m not working, I just prefer to not do anything, stay at home and hang out with my family.

HF:Chapters embodies your personal stories and experiences that happened since you first released music ten years ago. Looking back, how would you describe this journey? From a young law student playing her guitar to an international sensation, how has this journey transformed you as a modern woman, in particular a modern, Malaysian Muslim woman musician?

Y:Music has always been a part of me. I was raised Malaysian Muslim, so that’s part of me as well. I remember when I was 20, the age I started wearing the scarf and practicing modesty. That was the same year I discovered that I could write music. I love both. I discovered both things at once and I don’t want to sacrifice one thing for the other. I think that was when my journey began.

Y:Growing was just a natural thing. I know what I wanted, what I’m not comfortable with. I made it clear that I’m a Muslim and I’m not going to wear short dresses and stuff like that. Can you imagine if without that limit, probably there would be a lot of people from the music industry who would try to change me and turn me into something else, which is not something that I would want. The Muslim image itself helped me and shaped me into a better person – I don’t party, I stay away from the negative stuff because that’s who I am. When you talk about music, people are like sex, drugs and stuff like that. But that’s nothing like my life. I managed to lead a healthy lifestyle and also be a person that maybe kids can look up to – ‘Oh, maybe I don’t need to be all that. Maybe I can be just like Yuna, just do my music and still not get lost in the music industry.’

Yuna Malaysian singer
Photos by Mii N/HOKK fabrica

Y:So the journey has been very interesting for me. I learnt a lot about myself and other people. Going to different places in the world, I met so many different kinds of people and I learnt how to handle and talk to them, when to say no, and when to say yes. It’s good, you know, it’s a career path I did not expect to take. It’s also like a path I did not expect that taught me so much about myself.

HF:When you first entered the industry, was it very difficult to be yourself? Or was it the opposite, since you’d already know what you’re doing?
Y:Yeah, exactly. There was no crazy pressure because people already know they are not going to be able to change me into their ways. I was not shy about stating my opinion. I was not shy about saying no if I didn’t wanted to do it. Maybe I would get looks – for example, if a magazine reach out to me and say, ‘We’re going to restyle you, can you wear this dress, can you not wear this turtle neck?’ I’m like, ‘No I’m not going to do it’. People are like, ‘Wait, are you saying no to me?’ Because I have my own thing going on. I’m not desperate for attention. Yes, I think it’s been an easy journey so far. I’ve always been comfortable with who I am, and what I say, and who I work with.

yuna malaysian singer quote
Collage by Yuki L/HOKK fabrica
Photo by Mii N/HOKK fabrica

HF:Muslims women has long been stereotyped by the media as very conservative females. From your perspective as a modern Malaysian Muslim women, is there a lot of prejudice against Muslim women today?
Y:Yea definitely. It’s really weird because people see Muslim women as this kind of ‘oppressed women’. In Southeast Asia, women in Malaysia, Indonesia, we go to school, we wear colours. People who hear this are just blown away, which is interesting to see how a lot of people are so ignorant and they don’t know what’s going on with the world. People think that we are forced to be modest but it’s solely our choice – we just want to wear modest clothes. Maybe for some girls, we are not comfortable with showing too much skin and that’s okay! I’m just so done with people telling us what to wear. Muslim women in Malaysia are not oppressed but that’s how the media portray us. They take an extremely Islamic country and set that as an example of a Muslim country, which is not true.

Y:On the other hand, there’s this other side of stereotyping coming from a very conservative point of view where they see me as very ‘liberal’. So this is kinda weird. In the Western world, I’m seen as ‘oppressed’ and ‘conservative’, which is not true. From the Eastern point of view, they see me as she’s ‘very liberal’ – she’s out there singing, she wears this style of hijabs. But this does not represent what I’m all about. I’m more than that. For ten years or so, I have to find this weird balance. If I don’t fit in anywhere, I’ll just be in my little space, and just keep on doing what I’m doing. So yeah, I think I’ve found that comfortable zone to live in and still be able to do my work.中:另一方面,我們會面對來自保守派的偏見,他們認為我很「開方」,這讓我感到奇怪。在西方國家眼中,我是「保守」、「被壓迫」的;在東方國家眼中,會唱歌、穿這種風格的頭巾的我屬於十分「開放」。但這並不完全代表我,我是超越這一切的呢。十多年來,我在這兩者之中尋找平衡。當我在兩者之間都找不到自己的位置,我唯有繼續在自己建立的細小空間發展,繼續做我相信的事情。是的,我想我現在發現了一個令我生活得舒服,能夠繼續做我喜歡的事情的空間。

HF:‘Crush’, featuring Usher, is definitely your greatest hit so far but is it your favourite song?
Y:It is! I think the reason why it’s working so well is because it’s very simple and beautiful, and people can remember and relate to it immediately. It’s that moment of you having a crush on someone from having a conversation, not entirely knowing what they’re all about. With me and Usher, we managed to turn that into a really positive thing in the music video. We sent out a really positive message about getting to know people, regardless of their skin-colour and their background.

yuna crush usher
Yuna在置地文華東方酒店MO Bar UNPLUGGED音樂會演唱
Photo courtesy of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

HF:You’re also a fashion designer. Has fashion always been your interest? How do you find time to manage your fashion business while pursuing your music career?
Y:Haha, there is no time! That’s the thing. It’s so difficult to do everything on your own. Now that I’m getting busier, it’s easier for me to collaborate with people. If designers want to collaborate with me, let’s do it. I did my first collaboration with a local Malaysian designer, Hatta Dolmat, and the line is called HattaYuna, a beautiful floral printed collection. Two days ago, I launched a printed scarf line, YunaForLosraVelda, with another local scarf designer called LosraVelda. This was also a very interesting collaboration.
中:哈哈,時間是不夠用的呢!這就是我現在面對的處境,現在很難自己一個完成所有事情。當我越來越忙碌,與設計師合作便是其中一個較為可行的方法。我十分歡迎設計師找我合作。早前我與馬來西亞本地設計師 Hatta Dolmat合作推出第一個主打漂亮印花的聯乘系列HattaYuna。兩天之前,我與另一個本地頭巾品牌LosraVelda推出印花頭巾系列YunaForLosraVelda,這又是一個十分有趣的合作。

Y:So yeah, I love fashion. I love collaborating with other people because I can learn a lot from them and from trying something new and exciting. 2016 is just the year I decided to do a bunch of collaborations with people and see what happens.

HF:It’s great that you’re also bringing these labels to the world, too.
Y:Yeah! They’re excited as well. These are the people I love working with. They are so passionate.

HF:Do you have any mottos or quotes that you live by?
Y:‘Undersell and overperform’. For me this is a good attitude to have. You’re not just out there being loud. Quality can only been seen if you’re actually doing the work. I’m not perfect but I try to give people the best thing they’ve ever seen. That’s my motto in work and life.
中:「Undersell and overperform」,這是一個我很喜歡的態度。你不只是在外面大吵大鬧。唯有真正下苦功,你才能看得見質素。我並不完美,但我會盡力做到最好,令人們另眼相看。這就是我工作和生活的座右銘。

Yuna Malaysian singer
跟Yuna的相遇,是短短的半小時。一整天接受訪問的她無暇吃飯,桌子上的Nasi Goreng早已放涼了。她大概習慣了這樣的生活,沒有絲毫抱怨,毫無明星架子,有的只是說不盡的經歷。每當談到音樂和家鄉馬來西亞她都會特別起勁,雙眼發亮,Yuna告訴我完了這趟亞洲之旅她終於可以回家休息一段短時間。之後,還有很多地方等著她去,還有很多事情等著她做,還有很多故事等著她去寫。



16 December 2016, 12:00 AM

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