Blood type: A
still doll song sample
Suna no oshiro
Shinshoku Dolce (2-18-2009)
1. sweet ticket
2. Shinku no Feetarizuma
4. still doll (album ver.)
6. Ennui Kibun!
7. Suna no Oshiro
8. Monochrome Flame
10. Kuroi Torikago
11. skip turn step
12. Shiroi Kokoro
13. sweet dreams
Where to Buy
Order from Maru Music.
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Kanon Wakeshima Interview
Beautiful voice. Elegant fashion. Cello playing from the heart. That can only be the one and only Kanon Wakeshima, one of Japan's newest rising stars. Since the release of her début album, "Shinshoku Dolce," in February of 2009 Wakeshima has been busy making her international presence known with performances at the Japan Expo in Paris and Baltimore's Otakun. Her songs still doll and Suna no Oshiro were featured in the anime series "Vampire Knight."
With upcoming concerts set for Tokyo its time to take a listen to the masterful interplay of cello and voice from someone who is carving out a style of music all her own.On July 27, 2009 Kanon Wakeshima was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Kanon Wakeshima.
Let's start with the February release of your debut album, "Shinshoku Dolce," in both Europe and Japan. Can you tell us how you felt that week?
I never thought that I could release my CD internationally, so I was surprised and at the same time also very happy that many people came to see my show even though it was my first overseas performance.
How would you describe the album's musical style?
Mixture of classical, strings, and Electronica music.
How long had you been working on the songs?
It varies on each song, but it took about a year to finish the whole album.
Who worked on the album with you?
Mr. Mana produced the album.
There is a charming interaction between your voice and the cello in songs like Shinshoku Dolce and still doll. Do you consider yourself to be a cello player first, or a singer?
I started to play the cello first, so I'm a cellist first as a career. But I feel like I need much more practice in both as a cellist, and as a singer.
The video for the still doll features you reaching for a wedding dress with a chain on your leg. Can you tell us the story behind the video?
It might look like a wedding dress, but it's actually not. The concept of this video is about a girl who is confined in a little room remembering how free she was at one time.
How comfortable are you in front of a camera and crew?
I'm pretty comfortable. I usually don't get that nervous.
Your song skip turn step has an almost "jump rope beat" to it. Can you tell us more about the song?
I like how you expressed it as "jump rope"! Even though jump ropes don't appear in the lyrics (laughs). The theme of this song is adolescence, and it's about playing on the rooftop under the sunny rain. It's based on my own experience.
Can you tell us what types of things inspires your songwriting?
I get a lot of inspiration from books I grew up reading: The Grimm Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen, Mother Goose... I like how these stories are very cute/sweet but also have a scary element to them.
Do you have a favorite song on the album to play live?
I have special feelings towards each of these songs, so it's very difficult to choose one.
On July 4-5 you performed in Paris at this year's Japan Expo. What were your expectations of the event going in?
I was worried if people would come out for the show, but I was happy to see many people coming out!
What lasting memory will you take away from the experience?
It was just a great experience to perform in such a big venue in Paris. Since I performed at the fashion show, it was interesting to not only perform inside the usual square stage, but on the runway as well.
Do you enjoy traveling, or are you a stay-at-home person?
I like staying at home. I enjoy traveling as well, but I'm not a big fan of airplanes...
In July you also performed at Baltimore's Otakon. Can you tell us about it?
Before coming to Baltimore, I was afraid if I had any fans here in America or not, but I was so happy to see so many of them. I got to meet many of the high quality cosplayers during the singing session, and it was just fun watching them. I was also invited to a tea party, and everyone there was surprisingly shy, and I thought that was very cute! They were all very elegant too.
What about the US surprised you the most?
The food portions are all so big! (lol) I also saw a Pyramid Head just walking down the street! That was a surprise!
Was Baltimore anything like you were expecting?
I had an image of Baltimore being surrounded with nature, but there were more buildings in the city than I was thinking, and all of them were beautiful.
Your album debuted in the US on June 30. How do you feel about your music getting out there to an international audience?
Just like when I released my album in Europe, I was surprised and honored to be able to release the album even in America.
Let's get to know a little more about your past. Can you tell us about the hometown you grew up in?
A peaceful place surrounded by nature.
How did your relationship with the cello get started?
It was actually my parents. They decided to teach their kid (whether it was a girl or a boy) the cello even before I was born.
Were cello lessons something you always loved or were they something you felt you had to do?
I actually thought about quitting the cello many times, but I had such a great teacher who not only taught me about the cello, but about life in general. There were times when I've fought with music and almost hated music, but it was my teacher that made me continue playing to this day.
Have you had one particular cello that has a special meaning to you?
Each cello is very important for me. The current brown cello is the first one I've ever bought. Before that I was using rental cellos. I used to play the smaller cello, because the "regular" cellos are too big for kids. As we grow older, the cello gets bigger, and the smaller ones gets passed to the younger kids. That's why I've been treating each one of them very importantly.
You've said that you used to be a bit "hana yori dango" (dumplings before flowers) while growing up. Looking back now, what advice would you give yourself when you were still a kid?
You should study a little bit more. (lol)
Who have been your greatest musical inspirations?
A Japanese jazz singer called Mayumi Kojima. I was very inspired when I heard her music for the first time. Emily Simon (from France) and Lady Gaga are also some of my favorite artists too.
When and why did you decide to make music your career?
Music is something that I've been around since I was 3, so it was very natural for me to continue and pursue that.
What did your family think about your decision?
My parents weren't surprised even after my debut. They've been always supportive with my decisions since I was little.
Did you ever feel you had to choose between being a singer or cello player?
I never did.
As if music weren't enough, you are also a skillful artist. Can you tell us how you first got into drawing?
Because there was a paper in front me. (laughs) I just naturally began drawing when I was little.
How different of a feeling do you get from drawing versus playing the cello or singing?
Drawing is just really a hobby for me. It's like self-satisfaction. Music is really a part of my expression, so it can be very tough sometimes. But perhaps I'm doing it because I want someone to listen to it.
Did your Paris or Baltimore trips inspire any drawings?
For some reason, it made me want to draw a crab. (laughs)
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I have my own concert coming up on August 9th in Tokyo, and I'm also working on my new song, so I hope to get that out this fall.
Do you have a final message to all your fans?Otakon was really fun! If I ever get a chance to perform overseas again, I would love to go anywhere, so I hope to see you then!
For more info checkout Kanon Wakeshima's official site and MySpace page. Leave your comments about this interview and read what others had to say at the following link: Interview Comments