Worldwide J-Pop sensation Kyary Pamyu Pamyu made her San Francisco debut at Union Square on July 28th, 2013. We sat down for an exclusive interview and talked about her transition from modeling to music, her demanding career, and what she recommends we try next time we're in Tokyo for lunch.
Appearing at the 2013 edition of J-POP Summit Festival, Japanese pop superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu made her Bay Area performance debut in front of a crowd that numbered well over 6,500 in the open air of San Francisco’s Union Square. J-POP Summit is held annually to promote Japanese popular culture and its main event this year was Kyary’s concert. In association with ASOBI SYSTEM, a Harajuku based talent and promotion agency, J-POP Summit brought KPP to perform a free to the public concert to spread the word about Harajuku influenced music and fashion.
Melding Harajuku fashion sensibilities with kawaii (meaning cute) electropop music, Kyary quickly rose to stardom and is now a bonafide star in Japan. She launched her music career in 2011 after being discovered as a model and fashion blogger. She has since released best selling albums, won multiple MTV Video Music Awards, gone on multiple concert tours, and is a sought after product endorser.
Her influence as a worldwide fashion icon was felt when she went on an eight country world tour earlier this year. Every city she went to, fans greeted her with energetic enthusiasm and Harajuku patterned fashion. For these international fans, language isn’t a barrier when it comes to fashion and, to a great extent, music style.
Kyary hit the stage to the roar of an audience of 6,500 strong, not including those who were watching at distance. Across the street at the Macy’s department store, there were fans that took over the rooftop located above the Cheesecake Factory on the 8th floor. She put on a high energy performance of her hits including her first single “PONPONPON” (which has over 52 million views on YouTube), her iconic “CANDY CANDY“, “Tsukema Tsukeru“, “Fashion Monster“, and her latest single, “Invader Invader” (below).
Quite a few fans in the audience were fully decked out in Harajuku fashion, undoubtedly influenced by Kyary’s kawaii sensibilities. Some even came in Kyary cosplay. The crowd was quite diverse, but one thing everyone had in common is that they all enjoyed the show.
We sat down with Kyary for an Exclusive Interview. We talked about how she transitioned into music, dealing with a demanding career, her food recommendations and more.
GEEKEXCHANGE: This past spring, you completed a 18 concert, 8 country world tour. Congratulations! Of all the places that you’ve traveled for your tour, is there a memory that is most memorable to you?
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu: I remember that on every stop of the world tour, I saw people in the audience who were in Kyary cosplay. Also, I was surprised that my concert in New York City, which had a capacity of 2,000 people, was sold out. These things stick out in my mind and make me very happy.
How did you transition from modeling to music?
Before I debuted as a music performer, I really liked the music of the groups Perfume and Capsule, which are both produced by Yasutaka Nakata. One day, I’ve had a chance to meet Mr. Nakata and he told me, “You seem like an interesting person. Do you want to debut as a music performer?” That was the beginning of my career as a musical performing artist.
It’s only been two years since you made your debut and your career really took off in this short amount of time. Do you find the demands of your career hard or easy to deal with?
It’s definitely a challenge for me. My agency (ASOBI SYSTEM) usually brings me very big gigs without much warning after they’re confirmed. They’ll tell me something like “we’re going to San Francisco tomorrow” or “we’re going on a world tour starting the day after tomorrow.” It feels like everything they bring up is something that I’ve never done before; like coming here to San Francisco today. I get worried because sometimes I have no idea what kind of people will show or how many. But it certainly gives me more confidence every time I go through such challenges.
Of all your own songs, which is your favorite?
I really like “Fashion Monster”. Most of my songs have been pop and catchy. But Fashion Monster is more like rock and it sounds really cool. So that song is one of my favorite.
What other music artist’s are you into?
I really like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. I admire them as artists and also I like how they incorporate fashion into performance. As for a Japanese artist, I like YUKI. [Yuki Kuramochi is a solo vocalist and was lead vocalist of the band Judy and Mary.]
A lot of people try to emulate your style. How does it feel to be able to be so influential?
I am really big into fashion myself. So I am very glad that other people appreciate it too. It’s flattering that they use my fashion as reference.
Is there a side to your personality that the public doesn’t get to see?
A lot of people think that I’m outgoing and an extrovert, but my close friends know that I have an introverted side. My perspective on kawaii has a little bit of a dark side to it and it may show in my visual presentation of it.
If overseas fans come to Tokyo, what would you recommend them to go eat?
I hardly ever go there by myself, but I highly recommend Tsukiji. That’s where you can get the seafood right off the boat, freshest sushi in all of Tokyo. Also, I really like ramen. My favorite ramen shop is Tenkaippin. It’s really greasy though, so you may be shocked at first when you eat it.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you! [in English]