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mui zyu

Get To Know

Who are you, and what do you do? 

I'm not totally sure, but sometimes, I’m mui zyu. When I am, I get to wander around ideas and make sounds, then turn them into things that help me make sense of the world. 

What motivates your creativity? 

Searching for some escape is a go-to... but also trying to find ways to recreate those feelings I felt listening to music as a kid. Some of those will have come from hearing unique melodies in soundtracks for films or games, or just sitting with my mum in the car while she sang along with super sweet Cantonese pop melodies - there's so many of these memories that I feel like I’m always chasing. 

What is happening in your world right now? What are you most excited about? 

Well... my new record is coming out soon, so I'm really excited to say goodbye to these songs, and to do my first ever headline tour this autumn. This record is about looking outward, whereas the previous album focused inward, and exploring my identity as a queer British/Hong Kong woman. 

What issue in the music industry bothers you? What do you think deserves more discussion? 

From my limited understanding, the music industry is a dangerous place made of fire and brimstone and is something we should all avoid. I don’t know heaps about the music industry, but I intentionally and unintentionally exist outside it for number of reasons. However, it would obviously be great for more voices to be on the [mainstream] decision-making “thrones” to demonstrate and encourage more people from a broad range of backgrounds to pursue music. East and South Asian people and many marginalised groups are so underrepresented in this industry - it is changing I think, but very slowly. I want to see change obviously, but as an anti-capitalist, it needs to be thoughtful change; it can’t just be a case of swapping out people who continue to operate in the same misogynistic patriarchal industry, focusing solely on numbers. 

If somebody has never heard your music before, what song should they start with and why? 

I'm grateful to anyone who can spare a moment to listen to my music! 'The Rules of What an Earthling Can Be' on my new record is my current favourite to play live; it's a big slow crunchy meatball of a song with sugar on top. It also covers a lot of the album's wider themes; the many pressures on women, how they are expected to fit into society and are often shamed for finding alternative paths. In Chinese culture especially, if don’t find marriage or love you are considered ‘sheng nu’, or 'leftover women'. It's about the rule books many of us feel forced to exist inside, a totally heteronormative system…but where is the room for queerness?! So yeah, maybe listen to that first! 

Lastly, what fun fact do you think people would be surprised to know about you? 

I collect my cat's whiskers when they fall off and I keep them in a little box. One day I will return them to her, probably on one of her birthdays. 

Mui Zyu’s new album nothing or something to die for is out on May 24th.

Words by mui zyu
Photography by Celia Tang
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