Anime

Otakon 2009: A Casual Sit-Down with Becca

July 21, 2009 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Otakon 2009: A Casual Sit-Down with Beccaon Twitter

I recently went to Otakon to see a few concerts and interview a couple people. One of which is Portland, Oregon native, Becca. During the interview, I found out that she’s becoming a bigger fan of anime since doing some voice work in Ultraviolet: Code 044, loves the fashion sense in the Harajuki district of Tokyo, and wants to visit Mt. Fuji next time she goes.

Although she has yet to debut in the United States, she’s becoming more popular in Japan, set to release her second album there soon. Check the break for a bit of history and an in-depth look at some of her work and some advice she gives other artists looking to follow in her footsteps!

OSV: You started playing guitar and writing music at an early age and began singing at an even earlier age. What inspired you to become interested in performing music and what made you choose the guitar as your first instrument?

Becca: Well, my dad’s side of the family was very musical and they would sing to me when I was very young and I would repeat it back, you know, so I’ve been singing my entire life. I was a really shy person and music helped me to get out of my shell. It became a thing where I knew that was the only thing I wanted to do in my life. And for the guitar, I wanted an instrument that I could write songs with, so I thought it would be a really cool instrument for that. So I picked it up at 10, started writing songs at 10, and knew I couldn’t do anything else.

OSV: Could you describe your experiences about getting into the music industry, in particular, working with Meredith Brooks in writing and recording songs? How did you end up developing your style of music?

Becca: Well, I met Meredith when I was 13. I met her through a family friend in Oregon. I’m from Portland and she’s from Corvallis. So we met and she told me if I ever had a demo that I should send it to her. So I ran to the studio and recorded a four song demo, 2 songs I had written and 2 cover songs and sent it out to her and she ended up liking it. So I would go back and forth from my high school to Los Angeles. So I eventually moved to L.A. and signed with her.

I’ve always been very inspired by female rockers, like Joan Jett, Cindy Lauper, Heart, Shirley Manson from Garbage, and I knew that I wanted to be in that genre. I wanted to be a female rocker. I wanted to front a band and I wanted to be a great performer, so they really inspired me to do that. So that’s how I came about picking my style of music.

OSV: Although you started in the United States, you broken into the Japanese music scene. In 2008, you released your first single in Japan. How successful was this release? Were there things, looking back, that you would have done differently?

Becca: Wow, um. Debuting in Japan was an awesome thing because it really helped me figure out who I am as an artist and going out there, it was a really smooth debut, which was nice. The Japanese people were very receptive to my music and my fashion taste and everything, and I, as well, towards them. Honestly, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I had the best time there and can’t wait to go back. They’re amazing people. The audiences were great and I’m just very grateful to have had these experiences.

OSV: I’ve been told that you recently did some voice acting for the anime Ultraviolet: Code 044. How did you become involved with the anime scene? Are you a fan of anime in general?

Becca: Before I went out to Japan, I really wanted to immerse myself in the culture and I knew that anime was a really big thing out there so I went to a comic book store and asked what mangas were the biggest coming from Japan and they gave me Death Note and things like that, so I ended up becoming a fan. And going over there, it’s everywhere and coming to Otakon, I was able to learn about new animes and it’s just really inspiring to see everyone in these costumes and I’m definitely becoming a bigger fan since being at Otakon.

OSV: Speaking of Ultraviolet: Code 044, you contributed the opening theme, “Guilty Pleasure.” It definitely was a shock hearing an opening theme entirely in English. Do you think that in the future you’d consider writing a few songs, or an entire album, in Japanese to cater more towards the Japanese market?

Becca: Yeah, with the second album, there are two songs that I sing Japanese in, not fully but a good decent portion of them. I love singing in Japanese and think it’s a really beautiful language. It would be really cool to do a whole Japanese album. Definitely in the future, it’d be something I’d be interested in doing. Being on an anime was great and because it was in English, people would leave these comments like “I don’t understand. Why is an American singing for a Japanese anime?” and they were kind of upset and everything, but others came in defense so it was very interesting to see people’s reactions towards that.

OSV: You’ve impressively managed to be the first international artist to rank within the top 100 on the Japanese Singles chart, with your single, “I’m Alive,” as well as having your debut album, Alive!!, debut at #2 on the international charts in Japan. What do you attribute to your success in managing to do what hasn’t been done before?

Becca: Well, we had released two EPs prior to the release of the full album and with “I’m Alive” I’m really in such debt to anime because it was the ending theme for Kuroshitsuji and that became a really big anime, so I really contribute all my success to the Black Butler for that particular song. It helped me so much. I also have an amazing team. Sony’s incredible.

OSV: Considering that you began your musical career in the United States and have managed to break into the Japanese music scene, do you have any advice for other artists who are looking to do the same?

Becca: Yeah, I do think that if you are going to go over there, it’s very important to immerse yourself in their culture. You’re in their country, so don’t try to be some different thing. You really want to try to understand the people and understand your market and singing in Japanese is such a good thing as well. It really makes the Japanese people happy to hear that you care enough to learn their language, so I would suggest that.

OSV: On a similar note, do you have any advice for artists from Japan looking to break into the American music scene?

Becca: Wow, it’s another thing with the language. Definitely the anime scene. This is a great thing. I think Japanese artists will always have fans in this particular scene, but if they really wanted to branch out, I would say that singing in English would also be important, if you want to reach most Americans. Unfortunately, I think that this is vital and I think Americans are always looking for something new and different and a lot of Japanese artists are this way. They have these amazing styles, musically and with their clothing, and I think this could definitely appeal to a lot of Americans.

OSV: During your concert, you played a song called “Shibuya” and it was mainly in English with some Japanese included. I found that interesting since there are also a lot of Japanese artists who throw in some English. What made you decide to do this?

Becca: The whole song was about Japan, so it just made sense to have at least some of it in Japanese, so I made the entire bridge in Japanese. It just felt right. I thought it would be really cool and would be a really good point to connect with people. So yes, it was on purpose.

OSV: Do you currently have any album or tour plans, and if so, are you allowed to reveal anything?

Becca: My second album is going to be released in Japan this year around fall, I believe. And my first album for the US will be released around the same time. We’ve released “I’m Alive” on iTunes, so yeah, you can get that now and this fall you can get the full album. As for touring, I’ll be going over to Japan in September to do a festival called WaterAid, outside of Tokyo. And outside of that, there are a lot of exciting things coming up but I’m not sure if I can share yet. But I’m really excited.

OSV: Lastly, do you have anything you’d like to tell your fans around the world?

Becca: Well, fans of the world, I hope that you will check out my album, come to my live shows. I really want to meet you guys and thank you for all of your support and I can’t wait to tour your town.

So, fans of anime, have you heard of Becca before? What do you think of her style? Hoping to see her hit it big in the United States as well?

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