Japanese singer-songwriter MIREI on being a voice for
Let’s face it, our bedrooms are never as tidy as we want them to be; but despite the mess, we will always know where everything is. It’s exactly like that MIREI feel his music.
“My music is my own room in my heart. It’s colorful, fun, exotic and chaotic, but there’s only one spirit. At first, you might see it as messy, but once you understand it, you’ll know why everything is chosen and placed there,” says the Japanese artist. moving train.
MIREI’s music draws inspiration from an assortment of genres. Existing between the planes of R&B, pop and electronic music, the 23-year-old describes her sound as a “collage” of all the music, and even video games, she grew up around.
“My parents always played music while driving the car, so my initial tastes and exposure to music was heavily influenced by them. My dad loved listening to English music, especially the soul and R&B genres, while my mother loved Japanese rock,” she explains.
“I also developed my love for electronic music through the rhythm game ‘Dance Dance Revolution’, which I played when I was young. I’m sure all the different influences I grew up with are projected into my own sound.
Since bursting onto the music scene in 2013, MIREI has enchanted audiences with her delicate and emotive voice that shines against a backdrop of a kaleidoscope of sounds and genres.
But it’s his lyrics and storytelling that really stick with you.
Never one to shy away from difficult conversations and divisive topics, the ‘1998‘act raises many important themes in its songs, from mental health awareness to cultural conformity to sexual harassment.
Coming from a conservative society, these topics – which MIREI shares with many young people in Japan – rarely make it into mainstream music, often considered risky, even foolish, to talk about.
“As a Japanese woman born and raised in Japan, I feel like there’s a culture here where you shouldn’t say anything risky or controversial, even if it bothers you a lot. Taking a risk is defined as something stupid thing, especially when you’re out in public. I’ve seen a lot of things that are clearly wrong but ignored because it’s part of our ‘system’,” says MIREI.
Wanting to inspire change and empower young people, the singer-songwriter conveys her advocacy through her music and makes it an important pillar of her next chapter as an artist.
For her 2020 English debut, MIREI released her album take me away which served as a collection of thoughts and stories stemming from feelings of injustice, doubts, fear and anguish.
“All my songs start with random thoughts. I’m not a very communicative person, so when something gets stuck in my head while I’m talking, it stays in my brain until I digest it by writing it down. on my notes that end up turning into songs,” explains the ‘No Ordinary Love’ hitmaker.
The album spans 10 tracks, each honestly and vividly exploring different social issues. Pieces like “Alone in Tokyo” that draws attention to Japan Papakatsu crop to ‘Take me away’ which highlight the experience of dealing with anxiety and depression, MIREI’s first English record is a showcase of strength and courage.
“take me away seemed like the only way to express my emotions and thoughts out loud. I sang in English hoping that this album would reach as many people as possible around the world,” she says.
“And through that, I connected with new listeners around the world and became vulnerable with my fans, which I’m really glad I did because it helped me connect with them. Now , the album has become like a memory and a reminder of hope.
Despite the risks and fears she may have, MIREI has never been one to falter. “At first it can be difficult, especially when you’re addressing social and cultural issues through your music, but once you have the courage to do it, I think the boldness stays with you,” she says.
Since take me away, MIREI has continued to advocate for change and defend the unsaid through his music. More recently, she released her single “Sell Me Your Love” which was inspired by a real knife incident that happened in Kabukicho, Shinjuku, which made national news.
“Kabukicho is known as the special place in Tokyo where you can buy love for money – in other words, the city’s red-light district. When I started following the cover of the incident, I started thinking a lot about how empty and superficial love can feel in a city where it can be treated like a commodity for some people,” says MIREI.
“Alone at home, I felt a weird emotion that I had never felt before, so I first started writing it down to digest it. After making a demo, I sent it to my team zack and Shiftee, and they told me that it might be interesting to share it with my listeners. That’s how this song was made and eventually released.
Through her music, MIREI just hopes that she can show people, whether they are listening from outside or inside Japan, that they are not alone with the emotions they feel, as isolating as it may seem.
“I want you to feel that we all feel the same emotions and that you are not alone. I sing here as loud as I can in Tokyo with the hope that people know that we are all in this together. Music gave me the inspiration I needed to grow as a person and I want my own songs to deliver the same that I experienced,” she says.
Throughout her nearly decade-long career, MIREI has always wanted to share a little love and strength with her listeners, and in the latest chapter of her journey, she gets to do that and so much more.
“Everyone is too shy to express their love for each other. People rarely get into PDA, so music has always been a way to say ‘I love you,'” she says. “I find it inspiring to see music connect people and convey emotions that are otherwise hard to talk about. I’m always looking for a great new way to say ‘I love you’ in my songs.”
With so many more stories to tell and already a number of new material recorded, MIREI has big plans for 2022, one of which will hopefully include a tour, she shares.
“It’s going to sound a bit surreal, but I haven’t met my fans in person since the pandemic started right after my debut album was released, so I hope I can meet them and sing along. I’m completely vaccinated and super ready! Ha ha.