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.

http://tomoca.net

Text and pics by Paul Browne
17th December 2012