Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Kurosaki Maon Interview: "I was an Otaku!" and World Tour plans


Confessing that she was once an otaku, Kurosaki Maon described how she liked to watch anime and play TV games during her childhood.

The 27 year-old singer-songwriter was in town recently for the inaugural CharaExpo anime, comics and games (ACG) convention on 20 and 21 June. She performed the "Rakuen no Tsubasa" and "Setsuna no Kajitsu", the opening themes to the Grisaia anime at the Entertainment stage to an overwhelming crowd on Saturday evening.

Once an idol performing at Akihabara "Live and Bar" Dear Stage, she was scouted and signed to a record label. She made her debut singing the ending themes to anime Highschool of The Dead and has since released singles for animes A Certain Magical Index and Tokyo Ravens. She is also a member of Japanese electro-pop group ALTIMA.

We sat down and talked about Singapore, her singing career, the message in her songs and her world tour plans.

Kurosaki Maon doing the classic Merlion water-spouting-into-mouth pose

Is this your first visit to Singapore? How do you find the country so far?

Yes, it’s my first time! When I first alighted from the plane, I felt that the weather was quite warm. The sky was very beautiful!

I think that Singapore is a very bright nation. I can sense a happy aura wherever I go. I like this place. I want to live here!

I think it’s very amazing. I had a chance to try some local food yesterday- xiao long bao (soup dumplings, served as dim sum) and chicken rice. Chicken rice is very nice (in English)!

I will finally visit the Merlion today! (The interview was on Sunday morning.) I can't wait!

Kurosaki Maon performing on the Entertainment stage at CharaExpo

It has been 5 years since you launched your singing career. How do you feel after all these years?

I loved listening to anisongs since young. "I like watching animation and playing TV games (in her own words, in English!)." I was an otaku. "オタクだったんですね。 (in Japanese)"

I have always dreamed of doing something related to anime. I am very glad that I could become a singer and be singing anisongs.

I feel that singing anime songs can help me connect with the legions of anime fans all around the world and develop a global perspective. I like that the lyrics and melodies of anisongs are able to match with the animes' themes and fire everyone up.

Speaking about anisongs, you recently released a single, "Setsuna no Kajitsu" (the opening theme to anime Grisaia no Rakuen). What is the message you wish to convey with this song?

It's not easy for me to express the message of this song in words. Sometimes, you find yourself at a crossroads, pondering what to do next. The message of the song is to believe in yourself- to go with your gut feeling and just do what you want to do!

The Grisaia stage had the most fervent audience at CharaExpo

Of all the songs you have performed, which is your favourite?

Ah… it’s so difficult! I love all the songs! However, the first would probably be the very first anime theme song I sang, for High School of the Dead. I love the anime and I like the zombies. It was also my debut single so I have very strong feelings for it. If I had to choose, that would be the one.

Has anyone been an inspiration to you?

There are many who have inspired me. However, Minami Kuribayashi is my biggest inspiration. She is a senior anisong singer in the industry. She is always shining on stage whenever she performs and I dream of becoming like her. I’m always very moved by her performance and I want to work towards that.

Kurosaki Maon is also part of electro-pop group ALTIMA

You are also part of the unit ALTIMA. Which do you prefer- performing as a solo singer or as part of a group?

Which one? I enjoy both! For ALTIMA, we are all very energetic and high-spirited in the green room. It reminds me of my junior high school days. I like it when there are more people around as the atmosphere is more lively.

As for when I’m solo, I get to work on my own projects, pen my own lyrics and give it my personal touch. That has its own merits too.

Finally, you will be embarking on your 5th Anniversary Tour in Japan in September. Are there any plans for a world tour?

I want to do a world tour! (laughs) During my 5 years as a singer, I have been overseas many times, met countless fans, felt much of their love and gained a lot of experience in the process.

There are always discussions on whether to hold a world tour, especially with my unit ALTIMA. I will work hard and work towards bringing you a world tour one day!

I want to spread the way of enjoying anisongs in Japan to the world! はい、はい!Hai hai! (She raises her hand into the air and demonstrated passionately)

Find out who Kurosaki Maon's favourite wrestler is...

I'm sure all of us can't wait for Kurosaki Maon's world tour to hit Singapore's shores too! It was an honour and a pleasure interviewing her. Until then, we wish her the very best in her career and to keep doing what she wants to do. Keep that high energy up!

She also professed her love for wrestling at the NJPW Talk Show on the second day of CharaExpo. Read more about it here.

Check back for more CharaExpo articles in the days ahead!

Interview article by XDantheManX Online
Interview photo by Bryan Ong Photography
Pictures by CharaExpo 2015
Pictures from Kurosaki Maon's Twitter

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