Like lullabies you are, forever in my heart – Yuna ‘Nocturnal’ Live Concert

Yunalis Mat Zara’ai, or Yuna, as she is more simply known, is a Malaysian songbird that has been making international waves within the music industry. Known for melodies like Lullabies, Mountains and Live Your Life (produced by Grammy Award-winning musician Pharrell Williams himself), Yuna’s popularity has been on the rise in recent years.

Prior to her one-night showing in Singapore last Monday (24 Feb 2014), the songstress had been busy wrapping up promotional efforts for her newest album, ‘Nocturnal’, in the States. Belting a series of English and Malay songs to a strong crowd at the Esplanade Concert Hall, it’s easy to see why the sassy lass packs such strong musical appeal. Fast(er) tracks like I Wanna Go, Terukir Di Bintang (Written in the Stars), and Falling are catchy and easy on the ears – and boy, do they make you wanna dance!

But it was her slower songs that truly struck a chord with me.

As soon as she began strumming the first few chords on her guitar and belting out the words to the self-penned number Decorate, for instance, I could feel myself fighting the urge to bawl like a baby (to very little success, quite naturally). But that’s the pure magic that is Yuna. Her words – her heartfelt words – coupled with her strong, sultry voice, are reason enough for you to let your guard down and travel deep within; to that private place where you lose yourself and connect with her words.

“I’m all black and white inside | Monotonous from left to right | I decorate my house with things you love | Just in case you show up | In case you show up.”

And connect, I did. Besides, isn’t the sorrow felt from lost or unrequited love universal? Throw in a kaleidoscope of background lights in hues of blueyellowgreenandpurple, and what you end up with is a cathartic (albeit somewhat surreal) experience of the entire concert.  

Yuna in her element at the Singapore leg of her Nocturnal 
album tour

In between her songs, Yuna, in her endearingly awkward yet coy manner, succeeds in rousing an encouraging response from the crowd. “Singapore... Singapura,” she chimed. “Are you guys having fun tonight?”

The two-hour long showing (inclusive of a 20-minute intermission and an encore repertoire of three songs) ended on a literal high, with Yuna inviting her fans to stand up and groove along with her to the tunes of Rescue. And groove we did, for who needs to be asked twice to join in on the fun? Especially not when the invitation comes from the songstress herself.

And as if the concert wasn’t highlight enough, I then had the opportunity to meet with Yuna at a post-concert meet-and-greet session, albeit briefly. (A tad too briefly to be honest. In groups of ten, we were quickly ushered to a private corner outside the concert hall where we got to snap a group photo – professional photographer, no personal cameras allowed – with her. But I can let this one slip, by virtue of the fact that Yuna was still recovering from a bout of jet-lag brought about by her recent travel to the US.)

Nonetheless, in remaining true to her affable self, Yuna greeted her fans with a wide, warm smile and a firm handshake.  “Thank you for coming tonight,” she says with sincere gratitude in her eyes.

From clockwise: Some of Yuna's most ardent fans at the meet-and-greet session; Yuna with local actress and singer Norfasarie; & Writer (extreme right)'s group shot with the Malaysian songstress (photo credits: Universal Music Singapore)

It’s exactly due to this down-to-earth demeanour that I reckon Yuna to be so successful amongst music listeners both young and old. For no matter how fast the camera snaps or how brightly the stage-lights shine upon her, she still remains true to her humble self.

And that is my Favourite Thing.