No one is feeding their fans as well as Yuna. The Malaysian R&B artist is one of today’s greatest talents, captivating audiences with her glistening vocals, groovy melodies, and authentic songwriting.
Yuna has been putting out albums for over a decade, creating successful hits like “Crush” and “Lullabies.” She’s also collaborated with some of the world’s biggest stars, including the likes of Tyler, the Creator, G-Eazy, Usher, and Pharrell Williams. Now, after going independent and learning how to self-produce her own music, Yuna has blessed the year of 2022 by providing the world with a jaw-dropping number of new projects.
Releasing a whopping total of four EPs within this calendar year alone, Yuna is now planning on putting all of the pieces together to form one collective album: Y5, releasing November 11. Her latest EP, Y4, just released earlier this month and contains some of her best work yet with songs like “Make Believe” and “Fool 4 U.” The project is an incredible addition to her discography that is sure to be beloved by fans and newcomers alike.
Pop Crave chatted with Yuna about her new EP, Y4, learning how to self-produce during the pandemic, directing her music videos with her husband, and finding out what’s next for her musical journey. Keep reading for the full interview!
Hi Yuna, congratulations on the release of your new EP, Y4! I just listened to all three tracks, and each one is amazing! How are you feeling now that your new songs have been released into the world?
Relieved, actually! Every time I put out one of these EPs, it’s always like, “Oh, okay, it’s done!” You know how cats have, like, five kittens? Sometimes I would wait for my cat to give birth. It’s one, then two, and then the third one, and then the fourth one, and then I’m like, “Okay, so when is the fifth one coming out?!” It’s kind of the same. It’s like, “Okay, is it done?” I’m really happy that we’re almost at the end of the line. Y5 will be out in November, and then that’s gonna be the full album. I’m curious to see how everything will come together and how it’s gonna sound with all of the Ys coming together.
With Y4, I feel like this is probably my favorite out of the other ones that I put out. Then again, I don’t know. I love all of them, but I just feel like this one is very beautiful. It’s very cozy.
The EP features three songs: “Make Believe,” “Fool 4 U,” and “Relax Your Mind.” From these three songs, what are some favorite lyrics of yours that you enjoyed writing?
From these three songs, I don’t know! I think all of them. I just remembered the reason why Y4 is probably my favorite – because lyrically, I feel like all three of them are very strong. I have to say with “Make Believe,” the whole concept behind the song is that I tied up how sometimes people see faith or religion. There’s one line where I said, “Emotion is bad religion,” because sometimes we follow our emotions like crazy. That’s like our life compass, and it’s sometimes not necessarily a good thing. If you just believe in your emotions 100%, and then you get your heart broken or whatever, you go through something that’s heartbreaking. You just become this lost person. I think that’s my favorite line.
What inspired the decision to release your upcoming album, Y5, in tiny bite-sized collections with four EPs? I kind of love the idea!
I always loved the concept of EPs because it’s so digestible. As a listener myself, I love it when someone puts out an EP because it just gives a feeling of the project being so chill, you know? It’s like a mixtape almost, so I wanted to just try it. I’ve been putting out albums for like 10 years, right? The album cycle is something that I’m so used to, and I just kind of got bored of it. I got bored of writing something, finishing the song, and then not being able to release it until nine months later or two years later. Doing this, I’m able to just write something fresh. Three weeks after that, it’s out for the world to listen to. I just wanted to try something new for myself, and I wanted to be inspired by all of these songs that I’ve put out. Working with someone new, someone exciting, working with new producers, and trying out something new. With the rollout plans, they’re all new and something that I’ve never done before. It’s tiring. It’s a lot of work, but so far I’ve been having so much fun from the music and the visuals.
Also, I guess another thing is that looking at my audience and the fans, it’s kind of nice to be able to give them something – for them to just commit to the three songs only. Like, “Okay, I just need 10 minutes of your time!” You don’t need to sit down and listen to every single song on the album, you know what I mean? As an artist and as a songwriter, I feel like sometimes I can be quite bossy. They’re like, “Yo, listen to every single song! Listen to all the 12 songs!” I guess with people, I know their attention span. For us, too, we’re so used to moving on to the next thing and scrolling down. It’s really fast.
Your fans are never hungry either! You’re spacing it out so that they always have something to eat!
Every two months, they can look forward to something new. I love doing this. I wish I can continue doing it like that. I think just for this project thing, I want to do it. It’s a lot of work.
Not only has Y4 released, but your music video for “Fool 4 U” has also dropped! How would you explain the concept of the music video, and what was the process of shooting the music video like?
It’s a lot of fun! My husband and I, we shoot all the music videos for all the Ys. So far, it’s been really amazing. For Y4, we actually went back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That’s where we’re from. We hit up all of our friends and were just like, “Hey, you guys want to shoot a fun music video?” It’s not really a huge budget music video or anything like that. We just kind of wanted to do something very simple and moody. It’s like a tribute to all the ‘90s music videos where everything is shot on film. We actually shot the music video on a digital Bolex camera so that it gave a film feel. It’s not an actual Bolex, but I really liked how it looked. We shot it at our friend’s house, we shot it in my pool… It was very chill and we had a lot of fun! I really like how it came out.
Your latest musical projects have all been self-produced and independently released. You even turned your dad’s office into a music studio during the pandemic! Very impressive stuff! How has the overall process been of learning how to self-produce?
During the pandemic, I learned how to produce, but I feel like it’s still not to a point where it’s good enough to be an actual record. I still prefer having people who are great at producing making my music. I love the DIY vibe and love doing things myself. At the same time, I really need someone who has the expertise to do the song and play music, play the guitar, and play the bass because I’m a huge fan of those things. I’m a huge fan of live instruments and live music. Moving forward with the self-producing, it really helps me to build something from scratch – something that I can imagine if there’s a sound in my head. It’s like, “Oh, there’s this low oboe note or long flute note in my head. I can’t get it out!” I can just look for it, put it into the song, and then show it to someone. This other person is going to be able to make it sound 10 times better. It’s definitely changed the way I make music. It’s no longer having to depend fully on someone to come up with a structure of a song. I come in and write, and I can now go back to when I used to write songs in my bedroom with my guitar. I can go back to that and just be with my ideas, be with my thoughts, and write something from scratch.
Your new album, Y5, releases later this year on November 11! What can Yuna fans look forward to from the album’s release, and what’s next for Yuna as a whole?
Um, wow. I think… Wow, what’s next for Yuna? I just want to go back to touring. I love going on tours. I love traveling. Especially going to Europe, that’s like my favorite place to tour. I just keep on making music. During the pandemic, actually, I learned how to self-produce and the importance of putting out music every quarter of the year, so I really enjoyed doing that. I really enjoy giving something new to the fans. I really want to keep that momentum going. Keep on making music, keep on creating, working with producers, and see what happens.
Yuna’s new EP, Y4, is out now.