As I walked into the room to set up for our interview, I could feel the confidence that radiated off Elisa. You got a sense she knows who she is and she’s willing to share herself with her fans… and me. I hadn’t heard of this Japanese singer before, but after going to her concert at Anime Weekend Atlanta, I can say I am now a full-fledged fan, through and through. This was my first time needing an interpreter to translate, so that was an adjustment, to say the least. I proceeded to ask questions to understand what kind of artist Elisa is and what kind of image she wants audiences to leave with. Here’s what she had to say.
Is this your first time at AWA?
Yes. This is my first time at AWA and I’m enjoying it very much.
Do you notice many differences between International fans vs Japanese fans?
There is definitely a difference between international audiences. While touring in Asia, specifically in China, fans scream for me when I speak even a little Chinese. In Japan, there is more commonality with reserved feelings and shyness. If it’s a ballad song everyone’s quiet, if someone is hyped up everyone is hyped. When I came to America, I had this image that singers are really good at expressing themselves and audiences are really good at matching that same expression. They show themselves more. I realize that people in the US know me because of anime, so I don’t want to ruin the feel of anime and break that barrier for people who are really into it. Most anime fans want to hear [my] music in Japanese and learn the language, but I want to learn English so I can connect with fans. I should deliver a message in their native tongue. I’m going to adjust myself to the audience.
Can you talk more about musical inspirations?
My father was a classical artist so I grew up listening to classical music. Sarah Brightman, a classical singer, is one of my inspirations. In particular, the record Feel and the song “Time To Say Goodbye” are really important to me. Listening to the song as a child I thought it was about a break-up and saying goodbye to something, but if you listen to the words, it’s actually a song that can be played at weddings. It’s about taking a new step together. I was only allowed to listen to classical music and wasn’t allowed to watch television growing up, so no J-pop. I’ve been playing the piano since I was 3-years-old. It has helped me to express myself and be emotional while performing music without lyrics.
What can we expect from the concert?
Just finished the sound rehearsal earlier this morning. Working with the staff has been really helpful even though there is a language barrier. [I] want everyone to smile at the concert tonight. [I] want to deliver something that’s not just [me], but represents all the help that the staff has put into making this concert.
Do you have any future projects?
I haven’t done it in a while, but I want to sing and play the piano at the same time. I also want to sing music that is geared toward my voice, songs that only I can sing. It’s been 11 years since my debut as a singer and I’m celebrating the 10-year anniversary. The album, Diamond Memories ~ All Time Best of Elisa, is a double disc album celebrating my career and all of the best songs from that time.
I am absolutely enthralled by her message and her voice. You might be too!