[Interview] nanawoakari – My Starting Point ナナヲアカリ [Anime Festival Asia Singapore][AFASG2022]
nanawoakari, with her addictive funny voice and character, have made her a popular and beloved icon of her generation, known for her discommunicative behaviour, comicality, and clunky character called “no good angel”. Her collaborations with up-and-coming VOCALOID producers have also captivated her fans.
Your 5th Single, Ren’ai nou / Higasa (恋愛脳 / 陽傘), included 2 different ballads, where ‘Higasa’ (陽傘) is more soft and quieter while ‘Nidome no Hanabi’ (二度目の花火) is more rock-like. Could you please tell us more about the songs and their inspiration?
‘Higasa’ (陽傘) is based on painful memories of my teenage years, when I didn’t want to grow up just yet, but felt a sense of uneasiness because everyone else around me seemed to be making progress. It conveys a feeling that’s very characteristic of adolescence. At the same time, I felt like I had to keep moving forward and learn and realise important things, so while the song is about a difficult period of time, it also conveys the sense of relief that comes after that. ‘Nidome no Hanabi’ (二度目の花火) is about summer love, and we released it in summer in hopes that it would resonate with people who were falling in love during the summer. I wanted to convey the bittersweet feeling of having things you want to say but not being able to, so I sang it in the style of a rock-like ballad but also with a tinge of pain/sadness.
Having sang ‘Discommunication Alien’ (ディスコミュ星人) prior to your debut, how do you feel about re-recording and re-releasing the song (‘Discommunication Alien’ (ディスコミュ星人) 2022 Ver.)?
Because it’s a song from before my debut, listening to it [the original version] now, I feel that my voice/singing style back then was less mature, but in a good way. I didn’t know singing techniques back then, so I sang the song just based on how I felt. When it came time to put the song on my album, I had already debuted, so I felt conflicted about whether it would be alright to just use the original version as it was. Ultimately, I decided to re-record it because it’s a very important song to me, and I thought it would be good if my listeners could enjoy both the original, less experienced version of my singing and my current singing, and perhaps also see the differences and growth between the two versions.
What are some fun moments and challenges you faced when collaborating with other artists?
I’ve found that different artistes have their own quirks when singing and express themselves very differently. I often work with artistes of the opposite gender as well, so we have different vocal ranges that we are comfortable in as well. Figuring out how to bridge these differences while staying true to myself and without being overly influenced by them can be both interesting and difficult, so it’s a good balance of fun and challenging.
Which of your songs would you say has had the most influence on or do you relate the most to?
I would say it’s ‘I Want to be Happy’ (ハッピーになりたい). It doesn’t take a lot to make me feel happy, but that feeling of happiness often doesn’t last because I’m the type of person whose mood is easily influenced by small things that may be upsetting. I also used to not have confidence in myself and I came from a place of thinking that I didn’t really have any abilities to speak of. I wanted to be happy but the notion of happiness seemed so vague to me as well. This song (‘I Want to be Happy’) was created during that period of feeling troubled, but it also marks the time when I started to figure out what I wanted in life, so I feel like this song was really my starting point as nanawoakari (ナナヲ アカリ).
How did you develop your passion for VOCALOID / Anime?
I started getting into Vocaloid music after listening to the song ‘Tokyo Teddy Bear’ (東京テディベア) by Neru. As for anime, I’ve loved watching anime such as ‘Ojamajyo Doremi’ (おジャ魔女どれみ) and ‘Digimon’ ever since I was little
As this is your first time performing overseas, how are you feeling about your first live performance tonight in Singapore?
Performing overseas is completely uncharted territory for me, so this will also be my first time performing in Singapore and at this location. Singapore has been lovely so far, based on my experiences yesterday and today. I have no idea how tonight’s live performance will go, and how the audience will receive my performance, but I’m curious and excited to find out. I hope I will be able to deliver an enjoyable performance to those attending the live concert.
What are some things you’ve enjoyed in Singapore so far, or things you’re interested to try?
What I love the most is that there is so much greenery in this city. It’s really clean and comfortable here as well. I’ve also enjoyed a variety of spicy food, which is something I really like. I haven’t done much sightseeing so I haven’t been to the busy and popular places like Chinatown, but I’d like to visit those places next time and do some shopping too!
In 2017, nanawoakari was cast as the character Mash Kyrielight in a stage play adaption of the mobile game Fate/Grand Order., attracting a great deal of attention.
In 2018, she made her major debut from Sony Music Associated Records with “One Room Sugar Life”, the theme song for the TV Anime “Happy Sugar Life”.
In 2020, she released “Turing Love feat. Sou,” the ED theme song for the anime “Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It,” which became a social media sensation. The Music Video MV has over 70 million views and is still popular for its covers. LISTEN TO nanawoakari
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“One Room Sugar Life” (OP theme song for TV Anime “Happy Sugar Life”)
“Yesman is Dead” (Drama “Death Flagged” theme Song)
“Turing Love feat. Sou” (TV Anime “Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It”)
“Higher’s High” (TV Anime “Warlords of Sigrdrifa” OP theme song)
“Raika” (ED theme song for TV Anime “The Idaten Deities Know Only Peace”.)
“Maho” (Collaboration song for the Manga “Loving Tamada at Lv999!”)
“Aigaaruyoudenaiyoudearu” OP theme song for “Sommelier Oshako 2!2”
“Love Brian” ED theme song for TV Anime “Engage Kiss”
40 million views.” The song has become a huge hit in the online community, with numerous singers and Vtubers covering the song.
Instant Heaven feat. Eve(2018)
27 million views. A duet song in collaboration with popular singer Eve, the song sings about the desire for approval on social networking services in a comical way, and has been spread mainly among teenagers.
One Room Sugar Life(2018)
7.5 million views. Major debut song featured as the theme song for the anime “Happy Sugar Life”, hit over 10,000 copies, and a collaboration with vocaloid P Naytan Seinin solidified its popularity.
Turing Love feat. Sou(2020)
70 million views. the ED theme song for the anime “Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove It”. The dance choreography went viral on TikTok, sweeping the music charts and becoming her biggest hit.
Kanzen Houki Sengen (2020)
12.9 million views. The song has become a new live standard as the quintessential song of Nanawoakari’s “Dame Rock” style. The music video by Tera Terada and Noi Kanu has also become a hot topic, with an increasing number of derivative works on TikTok.
Sony Japan: nanawoakari (artist), O Keijin (Sony rep / artist liaison)
Special Thanks to Interpreter: Rachael Ho
J-Experience Team: Piasu & Nick