Crossroads are inevitable. Those pinnacle moments when it comes time to continue on with more of the same or to opt out, throwing caution to the wind, in order to end up somewhere amongst a more sporadic variable. The decision usually takes less brains and more gut. But Yuna gambled with both.

For the Malaysian-born, LA-based singer-songwriter, these past two years were personally and creatively grueling and riddled with heartbreak. But her recent breakthrough occurred once the 29-year-old artist decided to distance herself from the comforting folk and acoustic world she has been celebrated for since gaining notoriety for her softer self-titled debut album in 2012, instead choosing to risk all she had built by creating and growing within a more R&B and hip-hop-based sound on her third international studio album, Chapters, which she delivered this spring.

It's been five months since the release of her intrepid project - a culmination of risk and release. With her headphones on and Solange's harmonies ringing in her eardrum, Yuna stares out her tour bus window, on a lengthy mission from one city to the next to perform her most recent work. And she's happy with the choices that brought her here.

You're on the tour bus right now. What do you see?

I'm heading to Birmingham. We have a show there tomorrow so it's a six hour drive.

What do you usually do during long drives like that?

I just listen to music or edit some photos and videos on my computer. Or, eat. I like to munch on something.

What's been in your headphones lately?

Right now, I'm listening to Solange's new album, A Seat at the Table. It's really good. And also, we were just in New Orleans and she's from there and I couldn't stop humming her songs while I was walking around. I was channelling my inner Solange. I love her.

How is the whole tour going, in general? I know things are different this time around because of your transition into a more R&B and hip-hop vibe, so how has the tour and fan-base evolved with your sound?

It's going really well. All the songs that I'm performing, they're not intense. They're really fun to play. I love playing them, because I feel more connected to the album. It's kind of funny, because when you're a touring artist,or specifically with me, I forget my own lyrics. With this album, it's easy to get into it and I memorize everything. And it's probably because I've been listening to my own album a lot. I enjoy performing the songs to different crowds every night. And you always have to keep things fresh and get excited about performing, because that's the time that that audience gets to listen to it.

What has been the biggest payoff of taking those risks and making music away from your folk and acoustic roots and more towards the R&B and hip-hop realm?

I think I've finally found my niche and my sound. And once you've found that, it's easier to manoeuvre your music career. But when it comes to your music, you have to know what you want to do and stick to your gut. You have to be confident. With leaving the more acoustic and folk world that I've been doing for six years, when I started out playing music in Malaysia, and going into this, it seemed pretty natural. When I moved to LA, everyone I made music with just had that natural flair. That natural R&B flair. I don't know how I got into that world, but I love it. I enjoy making music with R&B producers and hip-hop producers and they're so cool. I love trying to find a creative way to make it different. I have amazing producers who are willing to do the same while keeping my brand. It's fun. It's fresh. And I needed this for a very long time. I needed to do something new and something more exciting. And everyone is enjoying it. I feel like my fans are enjoying the new sound. It's really cool, because just from one song I did with Usher, I got so many people tuning in and so many new fans. It feels nice. Imagine if I didn't take these steps and just kept on doing the same things I usually do. I would never get these people to listen to my music. And they all come to my shows and find out what I'm all about and I really appreciate that about them.

It took things to a whole new level for you. The next step that was always supposed to happen.

Yeah. With the R&B world, it's easy to reach out to a bigger audience, because everyone loves the smooth sound. I love Sade, I love Aaliyah, I love Lauryn Hill. So it's something that I knew for a long time. It's been in me for a long time. I just didn't know how to put it on paper. I didn't know how to portray it and translate it into music. Now that I can, it's a lot of fun.

I was reading that you wrote around 80 songs for the album and you felt like they came across as a little vague or basic so you took time to gather yourself and cool off before figuring out how to bring the best of yourself out. What did that process look like for you of finding the best of yourself?

When I start writing, it's like brain farts. It's everything that you think about. It takes a lot of editing. You write all these songs and then you edit out these things. Maybe the lyrics could be simpler. Maybe the lyrics could have a deeper meaning. It's always trying to work on the messages in the song. I try and find balance in both. I had a conversation with Usher once and he said he had like 300 songs for his album. Bigger artists have writers and some of them even write their own songs as well. He had 300 songs and I only had less than 100 so that was crazy to me. What am I going to do with the rest? I only have to pick thirteen. But the thirteen songs that I picked for Chapters were really just the best ones that make sense for the project and the theme that I was going for. I feel like an artist should know what they want to tell the world and how they're going to tell them. It's nice for me, because it's mine.

You've also been killing it in the fashion world, as well as in your music. So how do you feel like you've been taking the sort of risks this year with your fashion endeavours as you have with the transitions within your new music?

I think I'm more open now to photoshoots. I feel like this year, I just launched my clothing line HATTAYUNA with my best friend Hatta, who is a super-talented Malaysian designer. And we came up with this really brave collection of floral prints. It's doing really well. Other than that, I'm doing a collaboration with Listen Up clothing and they focus more on charities. It's a charity-based clothing line where you donate 50% of profit to charities and that was really cool. I just want to keep on being busy in the fashion world and see where it goes. I'm really happy that I get to do that. Photoshoots for magazines are fun too. I'm not a model but a lot of fashion designers like to work with me and I love all that. So I'm always open to new ideas and concepts.

You've shared that the last few years were difficult for you but this year, it felt like everything was coming to fruition and paying off from your music to fashion to collaborations. So what lessons have you learnt about your purpose in these artistic mediums that have given you the inspiration to take it to the next level with your next projects?

I feel like I'm always progressing, whether that's with music or with work. I do a lot of things other than music. Back in Malaysia, I was working with a lot of brands, so I know a lot about branding. It's kind of funny, I feel like in the future, I might have a place in the advertising world. If this music thing doesn't work out, I can work at an advertising agency. I just like to be creative. I like to make people excited about stuff. But music is my number one passion. I'm going to constantly be working with a number of artists. After working with Usher and working with Jhene Aiko, I would love to work with a lot of others like rappers or other singers or producers. I'm working with Tokimonsta right now and she's amazing. She's super talented. The sky is the limit. I just want to keep on moving and see what happens in 2017. This year has been really great.