BEFORE I move on with my interviews...
and assess a different type of artist; I have been speaking with Rie fu about her upcoming album and what we can expect from it; which artists have inspired and a few albums that are important to her – she recommends some rising musicians that we need to look out for.
I ask what is coming up this year and whether there are any gigs approaching; how she chills away from music and whether Rie fu has advice for songwriters coming through – she ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, Rie. How are you? How has your week been?
Cold but great.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Japanese singer/songwriter/painter based in the U.K. I’ve been releasing ten+ albums under the name Rie fu and a few E.P.s under the name Rié.
I believe you have an album due in March. What might we expect in terms of themes and song ideas?
The album is organic and in tune with nature, inspired by British daily rituals seen from the foreigner’s perspective. Emancipation and seclusion, connection and isolation; conformity and idiosyncrasy…mirrored images of the everyday-life, depicting ordinary British things. There’s even a song about my husband’s daily commute on the M25 (which, of course, sounds very frustrated!).
What has it been like putting the album together?
For the past three years, I’ve tried electronic-leaning songs and worked with brilliant producers and released two E.P.s and two singles, which has been amazing. But, I realized my lifestyle is not electronic at all; I live in a beautiful countryside listening to birdsongs every morning, smelling the fresh air. Then I started to create this album with a brilliant producer Dan Cox (who has recorded Laura Marling, Lianne La Havas; Thurston Moore, etc) at Urchin Studios and was finally able to make the most true-to-life, honest album.
Which artists inspired you to get into music? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
I grew up wanting to sing like Karen Carpenter, also listening to Carole King; Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush and looked up to them as unique female songwriters.
Given your heritage and background; do you think your mixture of Western and Eastern influences is the reason your music stands out?
There’s definitely a mixed influence. The Japanese music market is like another planet and I’ve always thought I had a Western (music) style as opposed Japanese but after moving to the U.K., I realized I do have some of those twee and quirky Japanese traits which I’m proud of and embarrassed by at the same time!
Do you already have plans for this year?
It’s my fifteen year since I debuted in Japan, so I’m planning an anniversary tour in Japan.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Touring in China for the first time and discovering two-thousand fans I’d never knew.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder
Every song is pure magic and joy that never grows outdated. I’ve been listening to it all through my years.
The Spirit Room - Michelle Branch
I started songwriting because of this album. I was seventeen and all the songs in the album resonated with my thoughts at that time.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill
Around the same time, I was religiously listening to this album; even translating all the lyrics into Japanese.
If you could ask for a post-Christmas gift; what would you go for and why?
A beautifully decorated family home with no mortgage. (My husband and I have been moving countries every two-three years!).
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
St. Vincent and a sushi bar.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t go anywhere near a person who questions your talent or self-worth
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
5th Feb, 2019 at the Moonpig in Fitzrovia. A Japan tour announcement in the New Year.
IN THIS PHOTO: Charly Bliss
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I’ve been doing a lot of subtitling (English to Japanese) which is an insightful way to watch films and documentaries.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Ella Fitzgerald - It’s Only a Paper Moon
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