With a fusion of both modern Western and traditional Japanese instruments, talented artist TOMOCA has created a style which she refers to as ‘Wa-Pop’ (literally, Japanese pop).
TOMOCA has been a stage performer from a young age and is an accomplished vocalist. She is also a regular on web TV show Asian TV which showcases Japanese culture for a global audience.
HYPER JAPAN marks TOMOCA’s UK debut for which she brought along a variety of songs, including a cover version of Japanese classic pop tune Sukiyaki. She took time out after her live show to chat to J-Pop Go about her music…
This marks your first UK performance. Are you looking forward to future performances in the UK?
Yes of course. I really felt it today that I’d like to come back.
There was certainly a good reaction from the audience.
I felt that on stage as well so I’m very, very happy!
Can you tell me why you chose Sukiyaki as a cover song?
It was the first Japanese song to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts, so it’s a monumental song for Japan. We wanted to connect with the audience so we chose a song that everyone would know.
The wa-pop style combines Western and Japanese music techniques. Is it very difficult to arrange the songs in that fashion?
I have an idea and it’s sort of executed by a team. I come up with the concept and I have composers and writers who make it into reality. It’s a team effort so I enjoy the process very much.
Do you listen to a lot of contemporary Japanese music? And if so, do you have any favourite artists?
I do listen to contemporary Japanese music and Dreams Come True are my favourite band! I have lots of bands that I like, but Dreams Come True have been my favourite since I was young.
I’m influenced by a lot of songs worldwide, I like Mariah Carey and I’m trained as a classical singer, so I have that influence as well, so it’s not just a simple Japanese contemporary influence.
The songs do seem to have this seamless blending of Western and Japanese styles in them.
Since I grew up listening to Western songs before I went the Japanese route, there’s a part of me that feels very nostalgic when I hear Western songs. But on the other hand, for you to say that we’ve done a very good job at blending the two is the ultimate compliment! I really respect the Western culture.
Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions and I hope you come back to the UK soon!
Thank you! I am happy! (laughs)
J-Pop Go extends its warmest thanks to Tomoca and also to the Hyper Japan press team.