Thursday, November 1, 2012

Interview with You Kikkawa at Anime Weekend Atlanta


Former Hello! Project member and Japanese pop singing sensation, You Kikkawa, also known as “Kikka”, made her US debut during the 18th annual Japanese animation convention, Anime Weekend Atlanta.

She performed on Saturday, September 29th, 2012, the second day of the convention, and the concert was absolutely great! I had only recently discovered her music, but I was definitely impressed.

She came on stage and introduced herself to the crowd; there were some clear fans in the audience but also those who were new to her music like myself. Kikka jumped right into things and got off to a great start, wowing the crowd with her amazing vocal talent. Everyone definitely felt her positive energy, and I was so impressed at how she sustained it through the entirety of her performance. It takes a lot of work to perform and she did a fabulous job.

Her face and her body language were very expressive as she danced and moved across the stage. Her bubbling energy was contagious and the crowd truly seemed to feed off of it as their cheers grew stronger and the excitement continued to build with each and every song. Out of her songs,「ここから始まるんだ!」was one of the highlights. It’s a very upbeat, dance-heavy song that she pulled off terrifically.

I was certainly sad when the concert drew to a close, as were the other members of the audience. I would love to see Kikka perform again, I’m glad she chose Atlanta to make her US debut. I wish her a fast return to the US!

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Later that day, mere hours after her performance, Kikka sat down with us for an interview.

Visual KEIOS: Hello!

Kikka: Hello!

Visual KEIOS: Welcome to America. We’re happy to have you here. Could you please introduce yourself for our readers?

Kikka: Let me introduce myself. My name is You Kikkawa. My nickname is Kikka.

Visual KEIOS: Thank you very much.

Kikka: Yes, I am Japanese solo singer.

Visual KEIOS: How do you feel your concert went? Did you enjoy yourself?

Kikka: It was great. Very exciting, very energetic. People may not have known who I was, but despite that their energy level was great. I had a wonderful time. The Audience was fantastic.

Visual KEIOS: I think you did a great job engaging the crowd. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. How does it feel to be making your US debut?

Kikka: It’s only been a year since I made my debut. Despite that, I’m already here in the US. It’s so great, so fantastic that it really hasn’t settled in yet. But it feels great to be able to come here and do this.

Visual KEIOS: How old were you when you first started singing?

Kikka: I started taking lessons when I was 14.

Visual KEIOS: That’s impressive that you’ve come so very far in such a short time. You are a former member of Hello! Project, how did those experiences help you grow as a singer?

Kikka: When I was with the Hello! Project, we would practice constantly every day – dancing, and singing, and having lessons. Having that exposure and experience really helps me now as a soloist. Especially in terms of endurance.

Visual KEIOS: Of your own songs, do you have a favorite? If so, what makes this song stand out in particular?

Kikka: It’s so hard to pick!

Right now it’s so hard to pick which song is my favorite. But right now the song that I enjoy is “Konna Watashi De Yokkatara”. That’s the name of the song. I think that a lot of my recent fans, this is the one that drew them to be interested in me.

Visual KEIOS: You’re very successful and multi-talented… and at such a young age. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Kikka: Of course I definitely want to continue singing, that’s without a doubt. But I also want to challenge acting as well. Getting more involved in the acting aspect of it. My goal is to be able to do both equally well and be known equally for both skills, both aspects of my career.

Visual KEIOS: How do you feel that music has influenced your life as a whole?

Kikka: It’s a great mood changer. If I were to feel down, and I listen to this music, it makes me feel cheerful. It gives my energy back. One of the songs I like to listen to is “Happy Happy?”. When I listen to it in the morning, it makes the whole day look bright and I’m able to challenge the entire day with a positive outlook so I love it.

Visual KEIOS: What is your goal with your music? What message do you wish to get across?

Kikka: Bright. I want my music to be bright, cheerful. And give energy to the people that listen to it. That’s the kind of music that I want to create.

Visual KEIOS: Can we look forward to seeing you more in the US soon?

Kikka: Of course!

Visual KEIOS: I’ve noticed you have some experience in film and TV. Could you tell me a bit more about it, and what it’s like in comparison to your work as a singer?

Kikka: When I’m singing, that’s who I am. That’s me. But when you’re acting you have to take on a different persona. So when I’m acting, that’s a different side of me that you’re seeing, that you’re being exposed to. I enjoy that a lot.

Visual KEIOS: Do you feel that acting has influenced your views on music and the music industry? If so, in what way?

Kikka: My experiences as an actress have really helped me when I’m singing, to be able to perform when I’m giving concerts and things like that.

Visual KEIOS: You have done some dancing as well, what do you find the most challenging: Singing, acting or dancing?

Kikka: Probably acting, if I have to pick one.

Visual KEIOS: Have you attended conventions before (Anime or others)? If you have, what do you like about them?

Kikka: First time. I did attention a festival, not a convention. I went to A-Nation in the summer of this year.

Visual KEIOS: You have been on tour before. What are the challenges that you face going on tour and what are the rewards, in your opinion?

Kikka: Of course I’m a soloist, in such, I have to do everything. I have to remember the lyrics, the dancing, and also engage the crowd. That’s really probably the most challenging thing of being on tour.

For me, the most fun that I have is being able to travel to different regions of Japan and being able to enjoy the regional cuisine of each area of Japan. Osaka is known for one thing, like Sapporo may be known for something else. To be able to experience all that - to be able to experience the soul of the city through their food is the most enjoyable part.

Visual KEIOS: Like cheesecake factory here?

Kikka: Yes, cheesecake love!

Visual KEIOS: What other cities overseas would you like to perform in?

Kikka: I’ve been able to come to the US now. I want to see more of the US of course. But I’m going to be able to go to Europe soon. So I’ll be going to Europe and touring there. So I would really like to maybe go to Korea. That would be fun.

Certain region maybe, the Southern Hemisphere maybe.

Visual KEIOS: Thank you again! Do you have any last words for your fans?

Kikka: Just recently my fifth single was released, “Darling and Madonna”. I’m really excited about it and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to perform it again for everybody and overseas. But the real message I want to convey is that everybody keep your energy up and be positive!

Visual KEIOS: Thank you so much.

Kikka: Thank you.

Find out more about You Kikkawa at the following links;

Official Homepage // Universal Music Website // Darling and Madonna PV - Youtube

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This article and interview with You Kikkawa was conducted by Kaitlin Maginnis (Rain) Thank you to Miss Kikka, her management, translators and AWA staff for making this interview possible.


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