During the 2017 edition of AnimeCon, the Anisong singer Minami (formerly known as Minami Kuribayashi) was the big musical guest of the convention. The day after her performance, and on her birthday, June 11, AVO Blog got the chance to interview the singer to talk about the Netherlands, her performance at AnimeCon and of course her music and motivation! Please enjoy this interview.
AVO: First of all: welcome to The Netherlands, and happy birthday!
Minami: Thank you.
AVO: Yesterday was your live show on the big stage at AnimeCon, thank you for the great show. I enjoyed it. How did you experience your live show yesterday? Did you think there was enough interaction with your fans?
Minami: First I was surprised by how wonderful the location and stage were, and seeing that anime songs are thought of with such great care made me really happy. When I was on stage and saw the audience, I was so delighted to see these enthusiastic Dutch people smiling and singing, even knowing the lyrics, standing and enjoying my show.
AVO: Did you also enjoy your time at AnimeCon? Have you ever been to (anime) conventions in Japan? If so, is it very different from the AnimeCon?
Minami: Yesterday I had a tour at the convention so I could see a bit of the event. On this event, you cannot only find things of otaku, anime and manga but also Japanese culture in the broadest sense being shown here. I find this special. I have seen the dojo and some of the Japanese martial arts, but also Japanese food like takoyaki, and ramen. There are many countries with events like these, but it was my first time seeing an event that also focuses on other things besides anime and games, so I thought that was really special. Also, places like the Manga Kissa and the game room where everyone is casually spending time together with such a relaxed atmosphere. I have not seen anything like this in Japan before and really think that makes this event unique.
AVO: Yesterday you told the audience that this is your first time visiting The Netherlands. Have you been able to see some of what The Netherlands has to offer? What were your first impressions of our country?
Minami: The landscape is really beautiful, I saw it from the airplane and thought the view was great, it impressed me and as I walked around the city I thought the buildings looked fun and resembled… dollhouses? I am not sure how to say it, but basically the kind of buildings we don’t have in Japan. There were many really cute houses, a lot of greenery, and I thought the air looked really pretty.
AVO: Have you tried out some Dutch treats?
Minami: Yes, I ate shrimps and meat which was really good, and the food I mentioned earlier. At the food court, I ate takoyaki, ramen and desserts. Those were really nice too. Also the Dutch waffles (stroopwafels).
AVO: Have you learned any Dutch words?
Minami: Not yet!
AVO: Since this is your first interview with AVO Blog, could tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us which of your songs is your favourite?
Minami: I debuted with a song for the PC game Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, which was like 16 years ago. Since then I have made many anime songs. I generally make songs, I record songs at the studio and I do my own concerts.
If I have to choose a favourite song, then it will be my debut song Precious Memories, the opening for Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien. The game was made into an anime, so it also was my first anime song. It has left the most impression and if KimiNozo didn’t exist, then I wouldn’t be here at AnimeCon in the Netherlands either. It is the song that changed my life, so I am picking this one as my favourite.
AVO: When did you start to get in touch with music and when did you decide to sing and make music? Did someone or something inspire you?
Minami: When I was 4 years old I started to learn how to play the piano, from that moment on I was interested in music, but I never really thought that I wanted to become a singer. I started to work as a voice actress, but during my career as voice actress I came in contact with making music, that was with Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, and since then I took the path of a musician. Often with concerts, I can feel the enthusiasm of the audience, and for me that is a very big source of inspiration. Every time I see this I keep on feeling that I like to continue making music.
AVO: You are active solo, and in the past, you have worked together with different musicians, for example, the group Wild 3nin Musume with Joy Max and Kishi Taniyama, the group exige with Chiaki Takanashi and you are still part of the group Sound Horizon. What are the plus points, in your opinion, to working solo and to working in a group?
Minami: Plus point, when you are solo, is that you can do and express what you really want. When you work in a group, there is the fun of contributing to a project and uniting. Next to that, you work with different people and that can help in getting inspiration and learning moments.
AVO: Are there any other artists or groups you would love to collaborate with?
Minami: I would love to work together with ZAQ, she is also on the Lantis label.
AVO: You have started singing 16 years ago, what is the most important thing you have learned in those years?
Minami: Expressing your own style. That is not only with singing but also in my own life. It is very important to be yourself, but I don’t think I have found myself yet. I have to find it and perfect it on my own.
AVO: Is there something you haven’t done when it comes to music, but you would love to do? Maybe trying out a different genre?
Minami: I would love to do a musical once.
AVO: You have sung anime openings and endings. Do you have a favourite anime or are you more interested in manga or maybe games? And are you following any anime series at the moment?
Minami: Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is my all time favourite! That is the reason why I started to like anime and manga. Recently I made an opening song for Tales of Zesteria. I haven’t seen many fantasy anime, when I saw this anime I enjoyed it. I would like to play the game which the anime is based on.
AVO: Is there a motto you live by to keep you motivated as a singer?
Minami: To be thankful to all the staff members that make it possible for me to do what I do is very important for me, as well as the possibility to express what you want to express and say what you want to say is a motto I live by.
AVO: Do you have any advice for those who are interested in singing and making music?
Minami: For one, keep pushing on. To present oneself there is a certain amount of skill required, so it is important to practice every day. I wish everybody good luck!
AVO: What are your future plans for this year and for 2018? Will you release an album?
Minami: I will perform at Animelo Summer Live, that is one of the biggest festivals for Anisong. On August 23 I will release a new single, called Beautiful Soldier. This is an ending song for the anime Yokoso Jitsuryoku Shijyo Shugi no Kyoshitsu e. There are CDs in planning, but I can’t tell anything about it yet.
AVO: We are at the end of the interview, thank you very much for your time and for the interesting interview. Do you have a message for the readers of AVO Blog?
Minami: I am thankful I could do the live concert and the signing yesterday, and experience my first job in The Netherlands and also the first time in Europe. During the concert everyone was so enthusiastic, it was a warm place I really grew to love. I will do my best so I can perform here again, thank you for a wonderful time!
I want to thank Minami for her time to answer all the questions, also a thank you to the J-POP Foundation (organizer of AnimeCon), Lantis and Amuse France for making this all possible. Thank you to the translators of the J-POP Foundation and AVO to make this interview perfect, and the AVO crew for all of their support. You can keep up-to-date with Minami on her official website and don’t forget to follow her on Twitter.