Interview: Malaysian singer plays role in fighting violence against women

2013-03-08 21:52:15 GMT2013-03-09 05:52:15(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Stephanie Parker

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Lyricists from all over the world were recruited by UN Women to place a call to action to eliminate violence against women and girls through the One Woman song, a melody that exudes a message of unity and inspiration.

The song is "the perfect way to inspire a lot of people," Yuna, a singer/songwriter from Malaysia that is featured on the track, said in a recent interview with Xinhua. Yuna is a nickname for Yunalis Zarai, who has been part of the music scene since she was 19 years old. The genre of music she sings is categorized as acoustic, pop and alternative.

The artist herself is on the track with 24 others from around the world.

The singer finished a tour across the United States last year and she considers this experience with UN Women wonderful.

"I was told that this was the first theme song for UN Women and it is just really exciting to part of that," she said.

"To be a part of something that is real and gives an awareness to everybody out there, to the whole world saying that we should care for one another and take care of one another. I am just really happy to be a part of it," she added.

Through the team of musicians for this project, the artist said she had an opportunity to work with one of her idols, Anoushka Shankar, a singer from India.

During the interview, Yuna sang the chorus "we are one woman you cry and I hear you, we are one woman your dreams are mine too and we shall shine," which resonates with listeners and signals a need for global cohesion between all women and girls to be embraced.

To carry out the dreams, she said, urgent action is needed to create a global shift in thinking about gender equality.

With regard to the lyrics, Yuna said, "It is kind of a story, it is a theme song. It is about empowering women."

"I never had the chance and I have always wanted to," she said, adding that when she listened to the final version of the song, " It sound really amazing. I am really excited."

The song, first performed in 2011 at UN headquarters in New York, was released on Friday to mark the International Women's Day.

"A lot of people have access to it and a lot of people can relate to it because you feel something when you listen" and "it is the perfect way to inspire a lot of people," she said.

The emotionally charged lyrics create a relatable experience between the artists and the audience.

For example, a line in the song reads, "she reaches out and she teaches others how too," she said. "This is important and a little like singing about myself."

"I feel like, I have been through a lot as a woman, now that I am 27 years old, I am a woman, having a fan base, being a public figure in Malaysia."

To the artist, the lyrics are imperative for all people to hear, especially females in war-torn countries. "I can not imagine, even imagine what it is like. You are a mother and you have children and you are in a state at war."

"I have not gone through something horrible in my home country, " she said. "For me doing this with UN Women is a first step and I am excited and I am closer to helping women not only at war but dealing with poverty and abuse."

With music, she said, "I think it's important for me to inspire a lot of girls, but I would like to say that I would love to teach them about love and not to hate people who are different from us."

"For me, that has always been my message when I talk to my fans or when I tweet" because "when I found music, it was something really beautiful to me," she said. "To be able to write music and be able to create something. It is something really empowering."

"I feel like, wow, I am actually good at something and that is the kind of thing I want to teach others, to really find out who they are and to be confident and always stay positive and do not care about what people say about you," she said.

"Just feel comfortable in your own skin and confident in your own craft," the singer added.

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