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Malaysian Artist Lyia Meta Brings Lilting Jazz/Blues on Her New EP ‘15013’

A seasoned singer-songwriter has been part of club residencies for decades, exploring everything from pop to metal with different collaborators

Anurag Tagat Jun 28, 2021

Malaysian singer-songwriter and artist Lyia Meta. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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Having spent years at several residencies in clubs, hotels and restaurants, Malaysian multi-genre artist Lyia Meta didn’t really have the luxury to slow down and record her material. Performing at events mainly in Kuala Lumpur as well as across the Malay peninsula, Meta and husband Zack Meta (of Indian origin, which the singer cites as her connection to the country) always knew how to read the crowd in a room.

When she finally found the right producer in Anthony Noel Yap from Big A Productions, Meta was sure she would be just as much explorative of her sound as she was for over a decade on stage. “I trained myself to perform for different patrons with different genres. Knowing the preferences of each guest or patron without having the need to actually meet them, that is a skill,” she says.

The artist released her song “Save Me” in 2015 with Zack and Yap taking on production and recording duties. Meta was also finally finding a long-awaited outlet for “things that weighed on my mind.” She adds, “I write about what I feel about people, life, my experiences and our circumstances.” That’s why she’s not one to be bound by any particular style of songwriting, even releasing metal songs “Deserving of Love” in 2019 and “We Are Lords” in 2020.

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As Meta describes it, she was drawn to heavy music because it served her angst and “darker emotions.” There’s even an entire metal record coming up. She adds, “With my songwriting, I have found that writing about the softer side of my emotions isn’t something I find the need to express. It’s always been the darker, deeper and ‘what we wouldn’t want said,’ that I gravitate towards.”

Watch the video for “This One’s For You” below.

It wasn’t just metal, of course. Meta says she grew up in a family which spun everything from classic rock to reggae, blues, country, pop, Motown, R&B and more. “I have never felt that any one particular genre was better than the next.  My personal influences and preferences have always been rooted in rock and blues, but I like all kinds of music,” the singer adds.

Her latest EP 15013 is, however, a wholeheartedly jazz and blues record, co-created with composer and lyricist Denise Dimin in Los Angeles and Nashville-based seasoned producer Bob McGilpin. Meta adds, “Bob also played all the instruments on all the tracks.” Journeying through introspective experiences, Meta says that the EP took its title from the time difference Kuala Lumpur, Nashville and L.A., even though the singer notes that the hours didn’t really feel like a separator.

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In addition to the metal songs which are being demoed, Dimin, McGilpin and Meta are discussing working as a trio in the coming year. The singer has also got her eye on India, though gigs have remained elusive so far. Meta recalls she was offered a show in Chennai and in Kerala but had to turn it down due to obligations elsewhere, while a gig in Mumbai nearly materialized was hindered by logistical issues. Although Zack has performed in India in Kovalam, Meta is familiar with the independent music circuit here. “I have a few indie artist friends from India who I remain in contact with. I look forward to sharing the stage with some of them in the future. Tomorrow is another day,” she says.

Watch the video for “Daylight” below. Stream the EP here.

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