1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m a singer and songwriter from Japan. I released my first single in 2008 under a Japanese major label. After releasing two singles under that label, I took a hiatus of 5 years. In 2013, I finally established my own indie label “Club Disorder” and came back to the music industry. I am so happy to be back!
2. Under the major label Pony Canyon you released your first single “ Mune ni Kibo o ” in 2008. The song was used for the anime “ Blue Dragon ”. How did it feel having your first single used for an anime? How was received the song “ Mune ni Kibo o” ?
I was really glad that my song was used as the opening theme for the anime. I think I was very lucky because thanks to that opportunity, my song reached quite a wide audience. I was also glad that the song really suited the anime. Both the message and the music. It’s a song about keeping hope, believing in yourself and overcoming obstacles, and the anime spoke of all of these. For reactions, I received quite a lot of good comments about it. It’s one of my most “pop” songs and it doesn’t sound as rock as my recent songs, but I can say I did my best as an artist working under a major label. When I play this song at shows, many people still tell me they are glad to hear it live!
3. When is it you felt the connection with music for the first time ? At what age?
I have been doing music from a very young age. I started to learn the piano at the age of 4, since my mom went to a music school and she decided to teach me how to play it. However, I wasn’t really into classical music and I knew that wasn’t the kind of music I really wanted to play. I started writing my own songs when I was 12, influenced by some pop music I heard on the radio. Then at the age of 15, I finally started to listen to rock bands and I was totally fascinated. I started to play the guitar in high school and that’s when I started writing pop-rock songs like the ones I have been playing now.
4. It’s been a year now since you released the full album “ Anthems” . What’s the theme of the album? How did you celebrate the anniversary of “ Anthems”?
I wanted to make this album a collection of songs that are encouraging and inspiring. That’s why I titled it “Anthems.” But on the other hand, I also wanted the songs to speak of my own experiences and I wanted them to sound real. My songs are not 100% happy songs, and they certainly have some dark side to them. They speak of frustration, sadness and anger too. I think that’s why many of my fans say that they can relate to my lyrics. On the anniversary of the album, unfortunately I didn’t eat any cake (laughs), but I posted a blog about the album and its story. I’m so happy I received many messages and comments from fans saying how much they listened to this album throughout the year!
5. The recent released piece “ The Song of the Smartphones “ it is really interesting .Speak us about it please.
I decided to write about smartphones because I wanted to describe how we are addicted to this small device and how it’s preventing us from enjoying our real life to the maximum. I think it’s a common phenomenon all over the world now. But I didn’t want the song to sound too serious, because I know that smartphones also have a positive side. For example, thanks to the fact that we have them today, I can stay connected to my fans from all over the world very easily. So it’s also a device that puts us together. In the song, I also described this positive side. It has an uplifting melody and a beat that you might be able to dance to, so I think it’s a fun song to listen to.
6. At only 16 years old you collaborated with the female single Aina. You have composed the lyrics for her single. I find it amazing . Are you still in touch with Aina ? Who would you like to collaborate with if you ‘d get the chance?
Sadly, I’m not in touch with her anymore, but it was a great experience to work for her. I learned so much from her director as well. For example, how to write lyrics that would be understood by many, without sounding banal. If I’d ever get the chance, I would like to collaborate with jazz and fusion musicians. I am a pop-rock artist, but fusion has always been my passion.
7. What artists did influence you to get this far as musician?
Wow, I still don’t think that I “got this far,” but thank you! I really like the band Siam Shade and their music influenced me so much. When I first heard Daita (Guitarist of Siam Shade) playing the guitar, I was amazed and I decided to learn it myself too. They are a hard rock band, but their songs are always melodic. They always sound beautiful, not noisy and that’s the kind of sound I want for my music. I learned so much from their personalities and attitude as well. They are always sincere to their fans and make music from their heart. They are definitely my role models.
8.You ‘ve been to Hungary last year. What places did you manage to visit?
Actually, I went to many places in Budapest. I tried to visit as many places as possible! Every place I visited was so fascinating, but the most impressive places was the Mátyás Templom (Matthias Church). I had the opportunity to attend a mass. Even as a Catholic, I had never seen any church like that. It’s very beautiful and its architectural style is very unique, especially its roof. I have the impression that Hungarians are very creative. When they make things, they don’t just copy styles that are already existent, but they always invent something new or add something new. I think that’s what’s making the whole country so unique and creative. I also visited the Opera House and the Vajdahunyad Vára (Vajdahunyad Castle)…and a very good bubble tea shop!
9. On November 28th and 29th you held concerts in Indonesia at J-sphere.How was the audience and how did it feel be in Indonesia for the first time?
It was totally a blast! The audience was crazy and I really enjoyed performing there. All the staff were very nice, friendly and helpful. They helped me carry out the shows and they also helped me learn about their culture. Their customs, food, weather, traditions, religions and everything. I really wanted to stay longer. I found it amazing that even though Indonesia and Japan span oceans and we have different cultures and languages, none of these matters when it comes to music. We simply get crazy and it connects us perfectly! I’m also very glad that Japanese pop culture is really appreciated in Indonesia.
10. As a musician, what advice would you give to those who love to sing,but they’ve got a track and once they are on stage and they are face to face with the audience they can’t do it?
I think that’s an amazing question. I think that’s something which many people have a problem with but can’t ask anyone about. I guess the only way to deal with that stress is to not try to be perfect. As a human, I make mistakes too, and I know I am not perfect either. I have made awful mistakes on stage and I’ve felt embarrassed too. I also have all the insecurities that you have. So it’s normal, totally normal to be scared on stage. But we can all make progress and we learn from our experiences. So the only choice is to jump off, I mean, to be up on stage even if you feel terrified.
11. If you could change something about this world , what would that thing be?
I would turn this world to a more peaceful place. It’s really sad that lots of violence and wars going on in our world right now. I am not sure what role my music can play when something terrible and heartbreaking is going on, but when the Paris attacks happend last month, one of my friends in Paris told me that she listened to my music a lot and it helped her feel better. I was really glad to hear that. I don’t really say “Music can change the world” so easily, but it sure changes someone’s state of mind! So I want to keep making music that inspires those who listen to it. I think that’s what I can and should do right now.
12. Which is the best experience from your whole life?
Oh I can’t just choose one, but I would say the best experiences of my life would be the 3 shows I had overseas. One in Hungary, another in Spain and the most recent one in Indonesia. I enjoy doing shows in Japan too, of course, but these shows were special to me because they were huge conventions and an incredible number of people came over. It was really nice meeting everyone there! The photo and signing sessions were so fun too.
13. From all the songs you have composed , which one holds an important memory for you ?
I think “Goodbye! My Office” does. It speaks about my real experience of working for a Japanese company for two years, and leaving it eventually. After finishing university, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. At that time, going back to the music industry wasn’t really in my mind yet. So I decided to have a “decent” job and I did it. However, it was a total disaster—I spent two years pretending to be someone else! During those two years, I never mentioned the fact that I was doing music in the past. So there’s a line in the song “So I’m leaving the place I tried to fit in, pretending to be good.” When my friends knew the title “Goodbye! My Office,” they were surprised and they asked me like, “Are you really doing this?” and “Are you really telling everyone what you’ve been through?,” but I was serious (laughs). In my songs, I tell all my experiences frankly, and some people find it funny and surprising!
14. Sometimes people tend to listen superficially to the music. Being too busy in this reality , in this world of technology , where everything moves at the high speed , they forget what really means to listen to a song. Not with your mind , but with your heart. They miss the message hid behind the lyrics . As musician, what ‘s your opinion about this? How would you like people to perceive your music?
That’s an interesting question. I think there are many ways to enjoy music — Maybe you listen to a song just because it sounds fun and it has a beat you can dance to. Or maybe because you love the lyrics and there’s something you can relate to. Maybe because it reminds you of someone important for you. I think any way, any reason is fine. However, I want my songs to be something that encourages you and supports you even in the most difficult times. Something that makes you feel alright after a tough day, tough week, or maybe even a tough year. I’d be glad if people read my lyrics and find something they can relate to, because all my lyrics come from my own experiences. That may help you feel like “Oh, I’m not the only one who’s feeling this way.”
15. In the end , what would you like to transmit to your fans and those who heard about Haruka, for the first time?
Thank you for reading my interview and I’m glad that you found me! I hope you will like my songs and I also hope to see you at one of my shows in the near future. I love to play shows and I really hope I will get the opportunity to perform in your country. See you very soon, hopefully.
*Thank you to Haruka for her kindness and for taking her time with our interview *