Despite having to spend a big part of her music career in the United States, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna still takes time to return to Southeast Asia.
Recently, the 31-year-old performed at a private event in Singapore on Wednesday (15 Nov), where she also shared insights to keeping her single “Crush” a secret. The popular song, which has garnered 41 million streams on Spotify since it was released in February 2016, also features American R&B star Usher.
Standing before an audience at the Capitol Theatre, Yuna reminisced about the time she discovered that Usher had agreed to sing her song. She was surprised that a star of such a calibre had agreed to lend his voice to her track.
“He didn’t even change the lyrics,” said Yuna, clad in a blue suit. As she had to keep the project a secret before its official release, Yuna had nobody to share her excitement with – and then she thought of her grandmother.
“Oh my god, Grandma! Usher is singing my song!” she recalled of her conversation. Unfortunately, her grandmother had no clue who Usher was, but remained supportive and said, “That’s nice, that’s really nice.”
But that wasn’t even her favourite part about keeping the song a secret – revealing “Crush” to her friends was.
Yuna explained how she had first let her friends listen to her song without telling them who the featured artist was. “They listened and asked, ‘Who is this guy?’,” said Yuna. “And then they named all the Malaysian singers.”
Her friends from college and high school couldn’t believe it when Yuna finally revealed to them that it was Usher singing her song. The 39-year-old American music producer is also known for discovering stars such as Justin Bieber and Chris Brown.
The event, organised by local members’ club Straits Clan, was titled “It Began As A Conversation” and consisted of talks by speakers Lee Poh Wah, CEO of Lien Foundation,; Roger Egan, co-founder and CEO of RedMart; David Lim, Everest expedition leader; and Tracie Pang, co-founder of Pangdemonium Theatre Company.
The event was opened by the Straits Clan’s co-founder Aun Koh and closed with an acoustic performance by Yuna. The singer continued to chat in front of the audience between songs. One of the topics involved how she resists having “fan-girl” moments when meeting stars in Hollywood.
“I don’t have time to panic or be a fan-girl, I just have to pretend I don’t care. I’ve mastered that art of not caring,” she said. “Oh Ryan Gosling? Okay,” she said, mock-waving him off with one hand.
The event was attended by celebrities such as singer Aarika Lee, TV host Anita Kapoor and cast member of upcoming film “Crazy Rich Asians” such as Janice Koh and Fiona Xie.
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