Introducing Singer, Songwriter, Visual Artist Lyia Meta.
Born in Malaysia and currently based in the country’s capital city, Meta finds her greatest influences in rock and blues, yet she fearlessly defies genre barriers in every project she creates, consistently delivering a refreshing sound that speaks to listeners across generations worldwide.
Meta’s inspiring passion for her craft and her phenomenal ability to effortlessly glide in and out of multiple genres, including metal and country, has led her to win remarkable acclaim around the globe. Upon the release of her debut EP “This is Lyia,” she immediately garnered stunning recognition, receiving six nominations and the award for Best Overall Female Act at the Voice Independent Music Awards (VIMA) in May 2016. Described as "raw," "organic" and "bold," the EP is a striking reflection of her roots in rock, blues, and pop and served as Meta’s springboard into the international circuit.
Following the success of her debut offering, that same year, the enchanting songstress was nominated to the top 5 in the Best New Artist category at the Anugerah Industri Awards (A.I.M), Malaysia’s equivalent of the Grammy ® awards.
Meta’s EP “15013,” released on May 20, 2021, saw the seasoned multi-faceted visionary exploring new sonic territory, resulting in a gorgeous project that blends her earthy blues roots with compelling jazz. Through six breathtaking songs, including the magnificently nostalgic track “Daylight” (finalist at The Rome Music Video Awards 2021 in the Original Song category and Vesuvius International Film Festival in the Best Music Video Clip and Best Music Only categories) she crafts an impactful story born from a tapestry of the most profound emotions and boldly shares her truth with her fans all over the world. The EP achieved praise in Rolling Stone India and continues to receive positive press.
Now in the wake of the success with her last offering, Meta brings you another release with her signature bluesy soulful voice. ‘YOU THINK ABOUT ME’ the EP, comprises of five tracks which she co-wrote and coproduced with producer, songwriter and artist Bob McGilpin from Nashville, Tennessee. Together they crafted songs that brings a touch of old school, blending the elements of R&B, Soul, Blues and Funk, creating a cohesive sound all the way through that draws in the listener.
A truly global artist, Meta regularly brings her enthralling sound through the Kuala Lumpur club circuit with spectacular performances. She has also been officially invited to perform at the 8th edition of The Texas Sounds Music Awards in Jefferson, Texas this October; and she has been invited by Texas Tech University (Jefferson) to conduct a series of seminars on cultural exchange and tourism in Malaysia, through which she will promote cultural understanding and tourism between nations.
Among Meta’s other many notable achievements include The Gold Medal Award for Best Rock Ballad for her song “Slumber,” awarded to her at the Global Music Awards, California (2017) and 2 Silver awards for her EP ‘15013’ (2021), Radio Wigwam’s Best Female Artist award (2017) The Josie Music Awards’ World Music Artist of the Year award (2018) and multi-genre ARTIST OF THE YEAR award (2019). She also achieved Grammy ®️ Award balloting (Craft Committee) for her song “SLUMBER REMIX” in 2019, in 2020 in the Metal Performance category; and once again for 3 categories in 2021 in Traditional Pop Vocal Album, R&B Performance and Best Improvised Jazz Solo categories. She was nominated in 2021 for the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards sharing nominations with her peers such as Carole King, Beyonce, Van Morrison, Hans Zimmerman, Billie Eilish and many more. She has also been nominated in two categories for the 2020 International Portuguese Music Awards and in February of 2022 nominated for the same awards in the Pop Category for Grammy Award balloted song ‘SING A SAD SONG’ from her EP ‘15013’.
Read reviews for her EP ‘15013’ and latest release, EP ‘YOU THINK ABOUT ME’ here: https://linktr.ee/LyiaMeta
Thank you for taking this interview! How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
The last 18 months were difficult as music and the art world came to a grinding halt and uncertainties loomed and abounded, but 2022 definitely brought some amazing developments! Although there have been incremental steps of progress as the situation improved, here in Malaysia, unlike much of the rest of the world, we are still in limbo. 2022 brought the release of my new EP and the start of regular shows as the industry slowly awoke from its slumber.
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
I’ve grown in so many ways, it's difficult to explain how or when. But suffice to say, I have definitely grown more confident in my own skin and adapted to absorb and use everything I learnt to be better at my craft and my art. As a visual artist, I started late and only decided to paint and exhibit after years of denying what was definitely a part of who I was. As a fulltime performer in the Kuala Lumpur live circuit, having done it as far back as I can remember, I had never ever stepped off the stage. But my transformation, the “emancipation” of Lyia Meta, came in the last few years when I realised that being my unapologetically self with respect to my craft, and how I approach each project, was the only way for me to live. It has been truly liberating.
How did you come up with your latest project?
Well, my latest project is actually an extension of sorts from my previous one. Although poles apart in genre and delivery, it was during the conception of the EP ‘15013’ that ‘YOU THINK ABOUT ME’ was born. I didn't know then that the seed was planted! Denise Dimin, my Los Angeles collaborator and the songwriter for the EP ‘15013’, and I were on the hunt for a producer to bring to life the vision I had for the songs she had written. We found Bob McGilpin from Nashville, TN. An absolute charm to work with and a very intuitive producer, he was instrumental in bringing ‘15013’ to life. Spearheaded by me, EP ‘15013’ fused genres as we threw in bits of Jazz, R&B. Neo Soul and Blues. McGilpin made the magic and I gave it voice! We released the album in May of 2021. But during the course of our months of discussions for the album ‘15013’ we discussed other genres, more music, and the kind of stuff I liked. A few months after ‘15013’ was released, McGilpin and I started on a single, but it didn't end there and after months of adding ‘one more song’ to the pile, we finally had five and another EP was born. This time I co-wrote all the songs with McGilpin and just like the previous EP, I coproduced it. On 31st of January, we released ‘YOU THINK ABOUT ME’, a blend of many influences that carries the distinct sounds of R&B, Soul and Funk.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Malacca (Melaka), a historical city in the peninsula of Malaysia. Of local Creole Portuguese descent, I moved to our capital, Kuala Lumpur, to further my education and participate and immerse myself in its live and very vibrant music scene.
Where do you live now?
I live in our capital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a country rich in diversity and culture.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
Because I do not incorporate any cultural influences from traditional music into my music or venture professionally into world music, my locale does not affect my compositions or my approach to songwriting. My influences are rooted in Rock and Blues but I am known as a multi genre artist.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
My dad was a huge influence on me. He was a visual artist and a singer in a band, mostly focusing on the Blues. He was a constant inspiration. However, it was never my intention to make music my life, even when I was expected to because I started singing from a very young age. It was common for me to sing my heart out to immediate family members and friends as well as to anyone who turned up at our home! After school I made a definite decision to NEVER pursue music as a career because I knew it was a tough road to take so I did ANYTHING that would take me as far away from music as a profession. That all changed when I met my partner who was already in the music scene. That was a kind of support that allowed me to shake off any fears or hesitation. Now, being on stage, is the most natural place for me. I often think that maybe it was the stage that chose me, rather than me having chosen it!
How do you want to shape your career?
Shaping my career is a constant evolving process. As an independent artist, I do everything on my own. Mistakes, stumbling and working out kinks along the way but constantly learning and adjusting is normal. Though exhausting, and often pushing me to the brink and the risk of burnout, I find the constant adapting to change and obstacles to be the most revealing of all steps because it allows me to discover myself. It’s also incredibly rewarding because it also allows me the time to grow into my evolving self and excel at being the heart of my career. I set my own pace and create my own space.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
From an artistic sense, I usually go with the flow, but I've recently been fortunate enough to work with collaborators who’ve provided a buffer as well as created the input and provided the creative juices to work with very tight release timelines while I focus on marketing and pushing to have my music heard. It’s all very challenging—so many moving pieces. Creating the music seems to be the most simple and creative part of the whole process. The rest is all business.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
The album was initially going to be named something else but after Bob McGilpin and I worked on the final track, YOU THINK ABOUT ME THE WAY I THINK ABOUT YOU, I made the decision to name the EP, ‘YOU THINK ABOUT ME’. The track itself is a little playful, upbeat and the only track on the EP that's pretty much a ‘sing along’ piece. I love all the music on the EP, but there is something infectious about this track.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
Well, it is hard to let go of anything you create. I think this applies to everything, across the board, and not just music. I still find it hard parting with my canvas art pieces. With my music it gets easier ‘letting go’ because what returns your way is often very surprising, uplifting and encouraging. Everyone who listens to your work takes something away from it. Something they can relate to and call their own. And it never “leaves”. I perform the songs, they’re streamed and downloaded. I still marvel that listeners reach out to say they love my work. I do not set out to create something that people will love. I start with wanting to create something I would love and hope that along the way, it'll create a ripple and reach people who will love it. And because of the “shelf life” of my music, I’m still grateful and surprised when current awards occur for my previous releases.
Do you feel an emotional attachment with your music?
Always! I give everything into each piece. And with the next and the next, I give more. The emotions, nuances that I try to inject into all my pieces are a part of me, forever imprinted in our digital world. And the response from my fans has deepened the bond with each song they want to hear!
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
Well, there are a few more exciting things in the pipeline. I will be starting another collaboration with Denise Dimin soon and I am quite excited for that!!! Our last collaboration, ‘15013’ was quite successful in terms of our collaboration, work ethic and the reception we received for the EP. The EP was on the 64th Grammy Awards®️ first ballot (FYC) and the song SING A SAD SONG from the EP was nominated for the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards 2021. It also picked up a few others along the way as did several other songs from ‘15013’ for performances and videos. I’m quite excited to do another album with Ms. Dimin.
I also have another collaboration with Dimitri Kovachev. I was part of an album he had composed, collaborated with other musicians and released last year titled ‘I’M NOT YOURS’ of which I sang on the title track. The latest track is titled ‘SHE WALK IN BEAUTY’ by Dimitri K. On the side, I've been working on a Metal album for ages. It is my hope that it'll finally be completed at some point but that is all fluid at this point in time.
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
On the home front I perform regularly in the Kuala Lumpur club circuit. These performances have me performing all my original music. I usually get requests for them, so that's good. However, due to the slow awakening of our industry and the transition from pandemic to endemic phase, my shows are less frequent and usually at The Royal Lake Club in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. That's my here and now!
Internationally, I have been invited by Texas Performing Arts Inc to perform at The Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards in October 2022. I'm also a nominee. It will be held from the 13th till the 15th of October at Memorial City Hall Performance Centre in Marshall, Texas. I may be headed to South India to perform later this year and I have a few other projects in the pipeline.
Major achievements - 2021
Featured in Rolling Stone Magazine
Grammy Awards ®️ 1st ballot(fyc) in consideration for The 64th Grammy Awards in three (3) categories (2022)
‘15013’ Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
DAYLIGHT – Best R&B Performance
THIS ONE’S FOR YOU- BEST IMPROVISED JAZZ SOLO
•Invited to perform at the Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards in October of 2021. We were also invited by Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, in association with Texas Tech University, to promote Malaysia as an “attractive destination for American travellers where we were to lead a tourism and cultural presentation at the seminars involving some 500 attendees from various countries during the music festival from Oct 13 to 17, of 2021. Due to my being unable to attend, my performance was submitted as a pre-recorded performance and I subsequently won:
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR(Virtual)
The Annual The Texas Sounds International Country Music Awards is in its 9th year and it has hosted performers from 32 nations.
•Nominated for The Hollywood Music In Media Awards in the Jazz catergory. Other established nominees for the awards were, Beyonce, Billie Eilish, Carol King, Hans Zimmerman, Ariana Grande, Vans Morrsion and many more.
Global Music Awards winner (Malaysia)
Silver- (Female Vocalist)
Silver- Best Album.’15013’.
𝙎𝙄𝙉𝙂𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙋𝙀𝙍𝙁𝙊𝙍𝙈𝘼𝙉𝘾𝙀- 𝘽𝙀𝙎𝙏 𝙑𝙊𝘾𝘼𝙇
𝙎𝙄𝙉𝙂𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙋𝙀𝙍𝙁𝙊𝙍𝙈𝘼𝙉𝘾𝙀- 𝙅𝘼𝙕𝙕
𝙎𝙄𝙉𝙂𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙋𝙀𝙍𝙁𝙊𝙍𝙈𝘼𝙉𝘾𝙀- 𝘽𝙀𝙎𝙏 𝙁𝙀𝙈𝘼𝙇𝙀 𝙎𝙄𝙉𝙂𝙀𝙍
Loud Soul Music Festival- Winner- Best Experimental Video 2021
WE ARE LORDS
Directed by Lyia Meta, Videographer Khahin Meta, Edited by Lyia Meta
ACCORD CINE FEST(Film Festival)
Best Music Video 2021(Jury's Choice)
Directed by Lyia Meta, Videographer Khahin Meta, Edited by Lyia Meta
Voice Independent Music Asia- Best Overall Female Artist 2016
Anugerah Industri Muzik-Top 5 Nomination for BEST NEW Artist 2016