© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Zee Avi: Jazz, Americana And Island Pop

Take one part Billie Holiday, two parts Doris Day, toss in a little island indie-pop and you get Zee Avi, a 23-year-old singer-songwriter from Malaysia, who's just released her eponymous debut album. Avi was discovered in 2007, after the YouTube videos she posted of herself singing with her ukulele went viral. Avi recently talked to NPR's Guy Raz about her musical influences and budding career.

Avi grew up in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, which she describes as a "huge melting pot of cultures." The singer is multilingual and often incorporates different languages into her music — as in her song "Kantoi," which means "busted" in Malay.

Though Avi lived in Kuala Lumpur for most of her life, she was exposed to jazz and classic Americana at an early age.

"My parents were teenagers back in the '70s, so they would play all those songs," she says. "Consciously, jazz has been close to my heart, and I've always had this special place in there for oldies and classics." Raz likens her sound to an "updated jazz recording from the '40s."

Avi also has a distinct musical trademark. Her music possesses a mischievous quality, both in her lyrics and in her style of performance.

"I'm just playful in my nature," she says. "I write whatever comes naturally to me — all the songs you hear on there are projections of how I am."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Guy Raz
Guy Raz is the host, co-creator, and editorial director of three NPR programs, including two of its most popular ones: TED Radio Hour and How I Built This. Both shows are heard by more than 14 million people each month around the world. He is also the creator and co-host of NPR's first-ever podcast for kids, Wow In The World.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.