The Debut of Rina Sawayama: SAWAYAMA
Never before has an album been so perfectly timed, Rina Sawayama's debut album SAWAYAMA is the perfect remedy to keep us all smiling, feeling hopeful and dancing around our rooms.
The fact that I only discovered this artist recently and I have already purchased a ticket for her gig in London just tells you everything.
She is literally the artist and the sound I have been searching for.
Who is Rina Sawayama?
Well, here are the basics. This 29 year old singer was born in Niigata, Japan but moved to London when she was a child. In her interview for i-D (shown below), Sawayama discusses her experiences of growing up in London as a Japanese person and the inner-conflict she faced during her childhood. Much of Sawayama's own experiences were very similar to my own. At one point in the interview she goes on about how her mum would make her bentos (a Japanese style lunchbox) for her to take to school and that she was always embarrassed about this and wanted to just be 'English'. I had this exact same experience when I was younger; I remember my mum always wanted to bring Japanese food to my sports day picnics and I would always ask if we could just have 'normal' sandwiches. Looking back on my own childhood, I regret the denial I had of my Japanese heritage and this is something Sawayama mentions as well. I love the fact that there is an artist out there who has had similar experiences to their identity and heritage as me. Its so inspiring and freeing and that's one of the many reasons why I am increasingly becoming obsessed with Sawayama.
Not only is she a music icon, she's a freakin' style and LGBT icon. Scrolling through her Instagram feed, you can totally see why she is a model.
Kerensa Cadenas writing for The CUT describes Sawayama's music as 'an intoxicating mix of nu-metal and Britney Spears (an icon to Sawayama), which is a combination that’s best immediately listened to'. Here, Cadenas perfectly sums up Sawayama's sound, something I found tricky to do myself. What made me instantly fall in love with Sawayama's sound was its refreshing yet nostalgic feel. Additionally, her lyrics and song subjects are so relatable and have such a raw and real energy to them. While dealing with what I can only describe as 'real feels', Sawayama turns these into dance bops. Every song on her new album just makes me want to dance and is filled with such radiance and energy. After listening to her music, I instantly feel more uplifted.
No two tracks on SAWAYAMA are similar in sound or in message. Her experimental style has completely paid off as there is something for everyone. My favourite track on her new album is Tokyo Love Hotel. Not only is the title of the track everything but the overall dreamlike-sound and lyrics just perfectly sum up my feelings of living in Tokyo. Once I found out that this particular track was co-written by Lauren Aquilina, it made me love it even more. Aquilina is an English singer/songwriter that I listened to a lot when I was about 15 years old. My other personal favs include Dynasty, Fuck This World (Interlude) and Who's Gonna Save U Now? . This album should be on all study playlists as it not only has relaxing but also uplifting vibes. Sawayama has replicated such a 2000s sound but in such an original way which makes this listening experience feel so current and relatable.
The music video for XS is now out and is the ultimate illustration of her overall talent and artistic vision.
Get House Party ready and stream SAWAYAMA now.