Next up on the series of interviews with performers from C3AFA Singapore 2018 is anisong artiste YURiKA.
Media: How did you get started in the anime industry?
YURiKA: When I was 12, I heard the theme song for Genesis of Aquarion and was amazed by its power. I’ve always wished to be able to deliver a song with that same impact and have everyone go “wow” as they listen to it.
You mentioned that you are a fan of Key, and you sang an insert song for Summer Pockets. Could you share your thoughts on this?
My immediate thought was, “Wow. My dream came true!” I’ve been a big fan of Key and I’ve played all their games. Key reached out to me to sing the song “yasoka” for Summer Pockets, their latest game. When I played the game and heard my song, I thought to myself that my dream has been realised.
Could you tell us more about “yasoka”?
I was shown the scenario of the game before I recorded the song, so I know where it would come in. And I cried every time I sing the song knowing that’s the scene the characters reunite. I make sure to remind myself not to cry whenever I sing it. How Key work their songs into the game is one of their attractive appeals. It is so delicate and precious to the fans, and I feel I have to protect that beautiful connection when I perform their songs.
As the singer for the opening theme song for Little Witch Academia, have you watched this anime and how do you feel about it?
Yes, I’ve watched it. The opening theme song happens to be my debut. To be able to be involved in this anime was a dream come true. And what I’m wearing today (for the stage performance) is an homage to Akko from the anime.
You released your first single “futari no hane” on 15 August 2018, which is the opening theme song for the anime Hanebado. Can you tell us more about this song?
Hanebado is a story about girls playing badminton. I performed the song “futari no hane” like how I would hit a shuttlecock. During live performances in Japan, I volleyed shuttlecocks into the crowd. I brought my racket for tonight’s performance, so I hope to do the same for the Singapore audience.
You have done a few songs for anime. Which is your favourite?
Nooooo! I can’t pick any, it’s too hard for me to do that! I love all of them!
You play the piano. Do you wish to perform with one of your songs?
I’ve been learning piano since I was 3. I still play it, but haven’t got the chance to perform it. I do want to do it eventually.
What’s your daily schedule like?
It’s quite difficult to give a fixed daily schedule since what I do every day is quite different. I do a wide range of activities, like radio programs, recordings, meetings, rehearsals and so on. I try to wake up at 7am every day, and make sure I have some rest in-between, where I play games to unwind.
Which anisong artiste do you like, and is there anyone you would like to work with?
Miss Lia. I like her, and would like to collaborate with her.
What’s the toughest job as an anisong artiste so far in your career?
The toughest job has to be Anisama (Animelo Summer Live concert in Japan). There were so many people watching, and I had to make sure I could appeal myself to them so they could enjoy my performance. This is the one job where I put the most thought into thus far.
What do you enjoy most about being an anisong artiste?
When I was performing onstage today, there was anime footage being played behind me in the background. This is something one can only experience as an anisong performer… No one else will have this kind of precious experience.
If you could be in an anime, which anime world would you choose to live in?
I would want to become a student in Luna Nova in the world of Little World Academia.
If you were to describe your occupation to children, what would you tell them?
To put it simply, this occupation is one where one gets to sing the theme songs for animation, and they do it with a lot of love.
Born 29 October, and hails from Hasuda in Saitama Prefecture, YURiKA grew up being exposed to music, having started learning piano from the age of 4.
When she was in her final year of elementary school, she was impacted by how anisong was filled and abundance of strong messages, and thus decided to become an anisong artiste one day. In middle and high school, she trained her vocals in the chorus club. She then took part in the Anison Grand Prix for the first time in her final year at high school.
After that, while juggling school as well as her live singing activities, she attained 6th place in Nippon TV’s Kashou-Ou competition in 2014 as well as winning NHK’s first ever ‘Anisong no Nodo Jiman G” in the same year. In 2016, she won NHK’s “Nodo Jiman” competition held in Sakado city.
She then passed the first TOHO animation RECORDS next generation artiste audition in 2016, and was subsequently signed to TOHO Entertainment.
She performed “Shiny Ray” the opening theme song to the TV Anime “Little Witch Academia” which started its broadcast in January 2017. The song was released as her major debut on 22 February 2017.
With an unwavering gaze and a voice that reaches everywhere, she is a new star in the Anisong world.
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