Yuya Matsushita Interview
"Music is everything to me. Without music, I wouldn't be here in America now, and I would have been a completely different person. It made me who I am today." -- Yuya Matsushita
If success breeds success, the multi-talented Yuya Matsushita seems headed to the top. With a growing acting career in Japanese dramas such as "Quartet" on his resume and songs like foolish, foolish, Trust Me, Bird, Mr. Broken Heart you might think you've seen all his skills... until you see what an amazing dancer he is as well.
Hailing from Kobe, Japan, Yuya just made his debut performance in the US as the MusicFest Guest of Honor at FanimeCon 2011. His new single "Bird / 4 Seasons" and album "I Am Me" have also been released to the US via iTunes.On May 30, 2011 Yuya Matsushita was kind enough to give an interview to Andrew from J-Pop World. All photos courtesy of Yuya Matsushita and Epic Records with credits to Hideki Otsuka.
Welcome to FanimeCon. Your songs like Trust Me, Bird and Mr. Broken Heart have made you a major name among fans of anime and Japanese movies. Can you tell us about one of your older favorite songs that new American fans might not be as familiar with?
I have a strong feeling with my debut single "foolish foolish". This song was given to me when I was 15, so I sang this song the most out of all the songs I have. It really represents me. 99% of the time I sing this song on my live performances.
Bird is one of our favorite songs of yours. Can you tell us something about it we might not know?
Bird was only released in Japan last summer, but this song actually existed even before my debut too.
We're looking forward to seeing you in the TV series "Quartet". Can you tell us more about the show and your role in it?
"Quartet" is originally a novel series written by Arimasa Oosawa. The TV series is a bit different to the original novel, but the story is about all these characters from different nationalities coexisting in Japan and many incidents starts to occur. My character is called Takeru, and I'm one of the ones who tries to solve these incidents. Takeru's parents were killed in the past, and one day he gets requested from the secret police organization and starts to get involved with all these incidents. I think the people in America could enjoy it too.
How would you compare the energy you use working on music versus working on your acting?
I separate myself as a singer/dancer, and as an actor. I think of it as a completely different thing, and it's actually easier to think that way. I don't want to compromise on my acting just because I original come from a musical background. I try my best to perform 100% on both my music and acting.
We loved the PV for Paradise. We have to ask... are you sure you're not related to Michael Jackson?
Michael Jackson was indeed my biggest influence. I grew up listening to a lot of American music, but Michael has always been my top favorite.
Like so many people around the world, we saw the strength of the Japanese spirit after the Tsunami and Fukushima nuclear tragedy. Can you tell us your thoughts about it all?
It was very shocking. I was at home in Tokyo when it happened, and it shook really strong even in Tokyo. I've actually experienced the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995 when I was four years old, so this was my second experience. I was very little at the time but I remember collecting water since everything shut down, so I know how difficult it is. I can only do little to help the people in the Tohoku area, but I hope to give back and help through my music.
What do you think the long term affect for the Japanese people and the Japanese music and entertainment industry will be?
Well I'm not really in the position to answer that, but I think Japanese music is still behind compare to the rest of the world, especially in R&B. I'd like to spread my music around the world.
Can we get a sneak peek into the next project you are working on?
I've been shooting for a TV drama that will start in the summer. After that, I'll go on a solo tour including 7 different cities in Japan, as well as another single release around the same time. But I'd like to come back to America in the near future!
So what do you think of the people who have come to see you at FanimeCon? Why do you think Japanese music and anime have such a universal appeal?
I think that's because it's simply good quality. Whether its music or fashion or Anime, I think some things are automatically accepted because of its quality. I think Japanese Anime and Manga are amazing. There's a certain Japanese unique sensitivity. I'm sure there are great stuff from America too, but I think the process and the style is completely different, and I think that's why it got accepted.
Any chance you will one day do a tour of the US?
I would love to! I didn't expect to receive such a warm welcome even though it was my first performance in America, and that really made me happy. I'll work on my English, and I hope to come back again.
Once you get back to Japan, what do you hope to have accomplished with your appearance here?
The fact that I was able to perform in America for the first time gave me strong courage. I'm sure this experience will bring positive effect when I return to Japan.
Can you tell us your favorite Japanese food that most Americans probably have never heard of, but should definitely try sometime?
I'm from the Kansai area, and I highly recommend Takoyaki (Octopus balls). Many people from Kansai own their own Takoyaki Maker and we often have Takoyaki parties. I think the people in America will enjoy it too!
We'll leave you with one big question. Can you tell us what music means to you?Music is everything to me. Without music, I wouldn't be here in America now, and I would have been a completely different person. It made me who I am today.
For more info checkout Yuya Matsushita'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