at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Zee Avi


Apps-Google-Music-Metro-iconSong: Just You and Me by Zee Avi (2009) from her self-titled album Zee Avi. Visitors can listen to the Featured Song by clicking the play button above.

Zee Avi (born Izyan Alirahman, also known as KokoKaina),PBK is a Malaysian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and ukulele player. She hails from the oil-rich town of Miri, located in Sarawak, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. She moved to Kuala Lumpur at 12 and at 17, she taught herself to play the guitar.

Avi’s self-titled debut album was released on 19 May 2009. The album was co-produced by Brushfire Records and Ian Montone’s Monotone Records. On the day of the release, YouTube featured her on the front page in Spotlight: Music Tuesday. A day after that, she performed to a full house at the famed Roxy Theater in West Hollywood. The album went on to become the ninth best album of 2009 according to the Associated Press. She made her US television debut on 18 June 2009, performing her debut single “Bitter Heart” live on Last Call With Carson Daly.

Her second album Ghostbird was released on 23 August 2011. “The Book of Morris Johnson” was the first single off her sophomore effort. Ghostbird topped the US Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart and spawned hits like “Swell Window” and “Concrete Wall” after both songs were featured in Season 5 of the hit television series Gossip Girl.[12] Avi has the distinction of being the first Malaysian singer to have albums on the US Billboard Hot 200 Albums chart and top a Billboard chart (Heatseekers Album).

She toured the United States with Pete Yorn from June to August 2009, the final leg being at the Music Box, Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood, California on 27 August 2009. She opened for the multi-talented Jack Johnson during his concert at the Greek Theater, UC Berkeley on 6 October 2010, and had the honor of collaborating with Johnson on a live mash-up of their respective hits “Just You And Me” and “Breakdown.” She also opened for Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and feminist icon Ani DiFranco at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on 21 October 2011 to mark the 20th anniversary of World Cafe.

Avi has performed sets at some of the most celebrated music tours and festivals, namely SXSW in Austin, Texas (March 2009), Bonnaroo in Tennessee (June 2009), San Francisco’s Outside Lands (August 2009), Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia (April 2010), Lilith Fair in Ohio, New Jersey and Massachusetts (July 2010), Mountain Jam in New York (May–June 2012) and Rainforest World Music Festival in Kuching, Sarawak (July 2012).

She toured Asia in November 2011, performing in Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Bali, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Miri. This was followed by a US East Coast Tour in February 2012, with gigs in New York, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Maryland and North Carolina. In September 2012, she performed in six cities during her California Tour.

In December 2012, Avi was conferred the state order and medal of Pegawai Bintang Kenyalang (Officer of the Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak) for her service to the state of Sarawak by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Head of State). The award is the Fifth Rank of the Darjah Yang Amat Mulia Bintang Kenyalang Sarawak (Most Illustrious Order of the Star of Hornbill Sarawak). –

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