The anime event C3 AFA JAKARTA will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia for three days on 18 – 20 August. Shiena Nishizawa will be performing at the I LOVE ANISONG Concert which will take place at the anime event on 19 and 20 August. She is also scheduled to appear at Cosplay Mania 2017 which will take place on 30 September and 1 October in Manila, the Philippines. A fan meeting is scheduled to take place after her performance at the jam concert which will take place during the Manila event.
Shiena attended anime festivals at Germany and Hong Kong last year, and this year she has two overseas performances. Shiena herself said, ‘I want to be active all around the world.’ It would be great if overseas organizers take notice of her. Currently, with her first album Break your Fate in hand, Shiena is on a Japan-wide tour called Shiena Nishizawa Live Tour “Break your Fate”!
We talked with Shiena about anime, music, and her overseas concerts.
‘No matter the venue or the environment, I always try to make my concerts a place where everyone feels close.’
Shiena, you are currently in the middle of your national tour, ‘Shiena Nishizawa Live Tour “Break your Fate”!’ Is it just you alone on the stage?
‘Yes. While the orchestra plays, I am singing with my guitar in hand. This time, the tour is about the two of us, me and the production representative, traveling around Japan and gaining skills. So of course it is just me on the stage, but I also do everything myself including my own makeup. It is really a learning experience.’
How do you accept the reaction from each region?
‘We are visiting 12 regions on this tour, but no matter where we go, the concerts are passionate and exciting so I am very sweaty when they are finished.’
Your concerts are places where enthusiasm and passion always collide, right?
‘The tour this time places the audience right in front of me but no matter the venue or the environment, I always try to make my concerts a place where everyone feels close.’
‘It was from that time that, from my heart, I was able to think that music is borderless’
Last year, you performed in Germany and Hong Kong. There is no difference between the enthusiasm of Japanese and international fans, is there?
‘There is no difference. The country doesn’t matter; they enjoy themselves while raising their voices. However, one thing that is different to Japan is when I am singing ballads. In Japan, the fans are still while they are listening, but overseas, even when listening to ballads, fans sway their bodies. I was happily surprised to see the difference in how they enjoy themselves.
The two overseas performances from last year were my first and second performances outside of Japan. When I actually went and saw the people who were waiting for me, I felt that there was no separation between Japanese and international fans. I strongly felt that as long as there are people waiting for me, I want to positively sing for them.’
When you are involved in anime and anime songs, the bonds between you and fans get stronger and things like national borders are easily crossed.
‘That really is the truth. When I see how fired up international fans get over anime culture, the feeling of wanting to positively participate grows stronger.’
Your debut song was Kantai Collection’s ending theme song, ‘Fubuki’. Did you feel a reaction from fans overseas from your debut?
‘There was reaction from international fans around the time “Fubuki” was released. It was a strange feeling back then. Even though it was through Kantai Collection, I was happily surprised to know that my music was reaching so many people overseas. Especially on video sites to which “Fubuki” was uploaded, there were many comments and various languages so my family got really excited saying, “It’s becoming something amazing!” [laugh]. Of course, even now, when I get comments on my songs, I say to myself, “I wonder what language this is”, and I look them up while reading each comment.’
Did you turn your attention towards international markets from the time you started singing anime songs or was it after you actually went overseas and performed?
‘Even though there was a reaction to “Fubuki” from overseas, I wasn’t concerned with whether fans were Japanese or from overseas, I was preoccupied with conveying my thoughts to the people right in front of me. But when I actually went overseas and saw the fans right in front of me, I realized, “There are people who love my music in many countries,” so I began to think, “I want to directly sing in front of people for various countries.” My very first overseas performance was at a festival in Germany. Honestly, I was very worried that the fans wouldn’t get fired up because of the language barrier. But when I actually performed, they were more enthusiastic than I had imagined… It was from that time that, from my heart, I was able to think, “Music is borderless.”
Germany and Hong Kong; many fans were waiting, weren’t they?
‘That’s right. There was an autograph session after the concert. I heard many people saying “I was waiting for you to come.”
When I made my first album Break your Fate, I felt like I was able to create the proof of the rock positioning and musicality that the current Shiena Nishizawa should aim for.
This year, it has been decided that you will perform in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Manila, Philippines. Now that you have more opportunities to perform overseas, has your own awareness begun to change?
‘It has changed, and I believe that there are many things that must change. When I had just made my debut, I was preoccupied with myself. But as I became more active, I realized how important it is to convey my thoughts to my fans so my awareness began to change.’
Shiena, you have released four singles and one album so far, Is there anything you have learned as you made your music?
‘They are so many. And in my case, with each of the four singles I released, I was able to show a different charm. The culmination of that is my first album, Break your Fate. When I made the album, I felt like I was able to create the proof of the rock positioning and musicality that the current Shiena Nishizawa should aim for.’
A rock style Shiena Nishizawa. That suits your current style.
‘I think so myself. I love to create an atmosphere where I can get fired up with my fans when I am performing. Of course, I understand that giving them something proper to listen to is important as well. Even so, I feel like the rock style is what suits the current me best.’
This is a little off-topic, but is there anything you are studying now?
‘Communication is important. Of course music allows us to cross national borders but I want to be able to have a conversation. So I have begun to study English.’
Aren’t there many fans of anime songs who speak to you in Japanese?
‘Yes, there are. Of course, I can’t learn every language so I want to at least be able to speak English and have deeper form of communication.’
‘The Asterisk War’s opening theme songs, “Brand-new World” and “The Asterisk War” both yell the name of the song at the end of the chorus so please yell them with me.’
The events in Jakarta and Manila will soon take place. Please send a message to the fans waiting excitedly for you in these two countries.
‘I think it is obvious that anime and anime songs would be popular in Asia and with all the festivals taking place in various Asian countries, many artists I know are visiting them. I am very happy that I am finally able to attend one of those events. Since it is my first time visiting both Jakarta and Manila, I think there will be an overwhelming number of people who do not know who I am. But I plan to give a performance that will make those people like Shiena Nishizawa through this performance. I want to widen the circle of people who relate to my music to every Asian country. I will be happy if you come to see my concert for yourselves.’
If there is a song in your setlist that should be checked out beforehand, please tell us which it is?
‘Although I don’t have that large a repertoire, I found that the theme songs from battle anime were popular overseas. From my point of view, I felt the popularity of The Asterisk War’s opening theme songs, ‘Brand-new World’ and ‘The Asterisk War’ the most during the concerts. Both are energetic rock songs, so of course, just like how show the titles are yelled at the end of the chorus, I would like everyone to yell with me. Singing together with everyone feels nice… and while I’m saying that, it is still not decided exactly what I will sing [laugh]. If there is a song you would like me to sing, please let me know.’
The fun thing about your concerts is that everyone gets pumped up together, singing and shouting.
‘The style of my concerts is singing together with everyone. At the concerts, when it it is time to sing, the audiences yells out, “We were waiting!!” That’s how you enjoy Shiena’s concerts so when I visit Jakarta and Manila, I would like those who attend the concert to sing and yell along with me.
You are also scheduled to perform at Animelo Summer Live 2017 which takes place in Japan in August.
This is the third time in a row. I never thought I would be able to perform three times consecutively on the stage I admired. No matter whether its an arena or a small concert house, I always stand onstage with the same attitude. Every concert is like this so please look forward to an exciting, charming performance.
I want to share my exciting rock concerts with the world and sing together.
Nowadays, aren’t there people saying ‘Please come to my country’ who are from various countries?
‘Yes, there are many people and I am very happy. I have a dream of doing an international tour. In any case, I want to share my exciting rock concerts with the world and sing together.’
Finally, please send a message to your international fans.
‘Everyone, thank you for always supporting me. I read every comment that you leave on my videos uploaded on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Your voices make me stronger. I also want to visit all of your countries soon and sing for you. I will try hard to do that so please wait for me. Please support me from now on, as well.’
Photo: Motoi Oonishi
Text: Tomonori Nagasawa
Shiena Nishizawa Website: http://shiena-nishizawa.com/
flying DOG Website: http://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/flyingdog/-/Artist/A024998.html
★Live Concert Information★
☆C3 AFA JAKARTA 2017
Date: Friday 18/Saturday 19/ Sunday 20 August 2017
Venue: Jakarta International Expo
I LOVE ANISONG Concert (19, 20 August)
Ami Wajima, Kishida Kyodan & The Akeboshi Rockets, Konomi Suzuki, kradness, Luna Haruna, Shiena Nishizawa, Tomohisa Sako
◆English notation/alphabetical order. ◆The performance date and time of each performer will be announced at a later date.
Ticket agency URL： www.loket.com
Check the official website for new information: http://c3afa.com/jakarta17
☆Cosplay Mania 2017
Saturday 30 September – Sunday 1 October 2017, 11:00 – 22:00
☆Shiena Nishizawa’s appearance at the ‘JAM Concert’ will include a live performance and a fan meeting. (The date will be announced later)
Performing artists: Konomi Suzuki and more
Venue: SMX Convention Center (Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines)
Sponsorship: Cosplay.ph Organization, Inc.
Official site: http://cosplaymania.com