By: Olivia J. B. Baxter
Yuna invited Philadelphia into her life when she performed an acoustic set at the City Winery on Friday, January 24th.
The songstress sat centered orbs of red and welcomed the audience as she thanked them for making the effort to be with her on that Friday evening. She shared how much she loves to hang at home and cracked a joke about how if she was asked to consider coming to a [Yuna] show she’d have to really consider if it was worth leaving the house. While many can relate (#IntrovertLife) Yuna is certainly worth stepping outside to see and support.
Yuna’s songs are ballads of life- experiences with identity, loss, love, and creation. Listening to any Yuna song it’s easy to recognize her willingness to share herself through vulnerable expressions of awareness, reflection, and actualization.
Being a Philly native who has lived in nearly every sector of the city and our burbs, I saw true Philly spirit in attendance at the packed venue this night —if Philadelphian’s consider you worthy of using the time in our lives to see you perform and you open yourself up to us you will have our undivided attention.
With a full house, you could hear a pin drop between songs as the room sat and listened to Yuna share details about her life from what her inspirations were for her to move to LA, how her experience being in America as a Malaysian-Muslim-woman-artist has strengthened her appreciation for her family, friends, fans, culture, and faith. And, she effortlessly turns these candid conversations with the audience into introductions for the next song to be performed.
Yuna alternated between performing songs from several of her ep’s, including Chapters and her first album Decorate. She delicately delivered empowering messages for the audience to embrace who they are and stand in their truths as she shared what life is like just existing as she is in an era where people can often be more critical than constructive, specifically online before she jumped into playing “Likes” a song off her most recently debuted album, Rouge. Yuna talked a lot about how she acknowledges what, who and where contributes to her assured and evolving identity and reminded everyone about the power of community and connectivity with the song “Forevermore” and she honored the love she shares with her husband performing “Best Love” which brought couples and their limbs appropriately closer in the intimately close quarters of the venue.
Yuna delighted guests with her mellifluous voice this night. Every note she sang in a studio that was mastered onto each of her euphonious ep’s was heard live and delivered purely on this evening. Audience members commented on how they felt as If they were to close their eyes, they wouldn’t be able to discern whether they were hearing her sing live or listening to one of her songs on their phone’s playlist.
“Keep being you, Yuna! Keep being you!” someone gently shouts from the center of the venue, she smiles and the rest of the audience begins to deliver more praise and accolades— It is certainly fitting to return to her the same messages of power and appreciation that she continues to deliver to others through her music and performances.