For Malaysian-born singer-songwriter Zee Avi, music and art is a way of healing. When the then 21-year-old musician began posting videos to YouTube singing with her ukulele back in 2007, she went viral.
Avi’s natural jazz and indie-pop musical stylings have set her apart over the years. Sometimes mysterious, other times incredibly soothing and unpredictable, Avi’s music is a melting pot of traditional jazz standards meet island pop. When the singer came back to the live stage after more than five years on Monday night in Los Angeles’ intimate Moroccan Lounge, Avi was nothing but smiles and “good vibrations.”
“Whenever people ask me how I’m doing,” Avi said, “I say, ‘Woke up breathing today, can’t complain!'”
Avi played songs old and new which longtime family, friends and the Malaysian consulate warmly welcomed. Songs like “Honey Bee” and “Kantoi,” which blend the Malay and English language, put the crowd into a trance, while hits like “Concrete Wall” and “Just You And Me” are classic indie-pop anthems that made your head want to bop.
This year, Avi has plans to release a new album (her last original album Ghostbird came in 2011). She debuted a few of those songs Monday night, calling them “words of wisdom collected over my journey.”
“I didn’t want to be rushed to write a third album,” Avi explained. “I wanted to experience the words and live through the stories to deliver it authentically.”
Before closing with her new song “Okay,” she said: “To aspiring songwriters out there, may you live your stories and live through your obstacles through grace and humility ’cause God knows we need that right now.”
Keep up with Zee Avi at zeeavi.com and watch her live performance of “Concrete Wall” and “Okay” below.