Studying fine arts at university, Mayuko developed an interest in music in the paintings she produced. Her name means “a child in the cocoon” and her unique ethereal vocals have a warm appeal that reveal an abstract world.
An early adopter of digital distribution, her music has been used on Japanese television and she’s also worked with artists from all around the world. Her latest release is the album Vista Bouquet and she kindly took time out to chat to J-Pop Go at Hyper Japan…
Are you enjoying the weekend so far?
It’s really great, I’m enjoying it thanks!
Your album Vista Bouquet has just been released, are you happy with the album?
I’m very happy with it, it’s really done what I wanted to do. Since then I’ve been producing even more new songs so it’s kind of in the past now, but they’re slightly different to what I do on that album.
You’re noted as an early adopter of digital distribution of music. Japan’s music industry has been very slow to embrace download culture. What are your thoughts on this?
I’m very happy with digital distribution because it’s a system that let’s a lot more people experience my music and certainly worldwide it makes it very easy to get my stuff out there and to reach as many people as possible. That’s one of the main reasons why I chose to go for digital distribution.
You’ve collaborated with a lot of different musicians in the past, how has that shaped your music?
I’ve obviously collaborated with lots of different artists from different countries all around the world, not just Japan, and I really think that every time that I work with these people that it really opens my eyes to the breadth and freedom that you can have with music. Because in Japan music is probably going to be a very limited box. There’s a very small world and a very small perception of music. But looking abroad at the different styles and the different opportunities to interact with musicians from different countries, it always opens up my eyes to “Wow! Music can be so free”. There’s so many different opportunities and different things and it really has broadened my horizons for music there. So I think that’s what I’ve gained from the experience of working with so many different people from around the world.
How did you get involved with the Happy Robots compilation album?
Although I’ve had interactions with them and working with them a lot now, I’ve never actually met them, we’ve always been communicating over the internet and we do all our work over the internet, so they provide the data for me and I work on it and send it back and that’s how we’re doing these things. The way that we worked for that, I looked at what they had, their chords and their musical tone and all those kinds of basic things, It was kind of like the seeds they gave me for what I could develop and I added the melody and the lyrics and developed it from there to create the final product. But actually there are two versions of the song we produced – there’s my version and then there’s their version, so you can hear both and see the differences.
Certainly Japanese music is more and more popular outside of Japan these days. Are you surprised by how popular it is?
I’m just really, really happy that Japanese music is appreciated by people overseas. I think it’s a great thing!
What are your plans for the future?
As far as the music is concerned I really want to stay very true and be very stoic about the kind of music that I think represents me and my voice and continue producing that. But as activities go, even though I’ve done a lot of collaborations up until now with a lot of overseas foreign artists, I’ve never had that much of an opportunity to travel and see abroad, so this year we finally had the opportunity to go out there and see. Last month I went to France and now we’re in England for Hyper Japan. Next month I’m going to San Francisco and then in November I’ll be off to Italy. So from now on I’m trying to build up my overseas concerts and just try to move abroad as it were. So that’s my plans for the future.
J-Pop Go extends its warmest thanks to Mayuko and also to the HYPER JAPAN team.