Big things are in store for Japanese singer-songwriter MIREI, having just released her debut single “Take Me Away”, which CelebMix premiered.
The 21-year-old is getting ready to release her upcoming debut EP of the same name. Set for release in early 2020, the “Take Me Away” EP will see MIREI tackle issues in her music such as feminism and mental health issues.
Following on from the release and premiere of “Take Me Away” and its accompanying music video, we at CelebMix got the chance to talk to MIREI herself about “Take Me Away” and the release of the upcoming EP of the same name.
As a Japanese artist, how does it feel to be breaking out and releasing music in the United States?
I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I’ve been singing my songs in Japanese all this time so this is my first English language release. I’m singing about a different side of me and talking about my experiences in Japan for the world to hear.
Your debut US single, “Take Me Away” is lyrically about feeling lonely and not fitting into the crowd. What was the conception behind the song and its lyrics?
Growing up in cities like Osaka and Tokyo, I could easily buy or get almost everything / anything I wanted. Even with that kind of accessibility to material things, people still feel empty and closed off. I’m one of them, so my emotions honestly poured out in this song. As soon as I started writing this song, naturally the words “Take Me Away” popped up. And I followed the direction in my heart.
Do you think the song will help to inspire those who are suffering from loneliness, depression, and anxiety?
Music is my savior. Whenever I feel like I’m suffocating, I put my earphones in and listen to music. I want to say we’re together, not alone, so that my song will be the medicine for others to survive their nights.
The “Take Me Away” video sees a girl getting lost in the big city of Tokyo. What inspired the video and its concept?
The ending is inspired by Papakatsu and Papakatsu girls. It’s part of the reality for Japanese girls these days. As long as there are men with these kind of demands, it’s so easy to earn money if you’re young and not afraid of selling yourself. But the more and more they earn, the more they lose their heart. I want people to know about this and take us away from this situation.
You’re also gearing up to release your debut international EP, in which you sing about issues that are still considered taboo in Japan, such as mental health, feminism, and the objectification of women in the Asian music market. Do you think that it is important for Japanese artists to have a voice on these issues?
I don’t think Japanese artists must speak up about these issues, but it’s not good that I can’t say anything about it because it affects our career or image there. I think artists must have freedom of speech, but with responsibility. Right now I feel like the industry there is protecting artists from the risks of backlash and it leaves us voiceless/speechless.
Do you have a favorite song on your upcoming EP you wish to share more about?
My favorite is “Lazy Boy.” This song is about missing your ex sometimes. Even though you’re broken up, the memories will never be replaced. This song is a reminder of the days that I loved. It’s bittersweet and I’m excited for people to hear.
We loved your recent cover of Billie Eilish’s “when the party’s over”! Is there any other song that you would love to cover, and why?
Thank you so much! Recently I watched the video that Sam Smith covered – “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars – and he killed it. He made the song perfectly his own song, and I was moved. My goal covering songs is to sing like I wrote it, add my emotions to it. So I only cover songs I completely relate to and love. I’ve been listening to a lot of Post Malone, so maybe that’s coming up next…
Who are some of your musical influences?
When I was very young, my idol was Britney Spears. As I got older, Rihanna became the next one. I grew up listening to and singing to a lot of Beyonce and Christina Aguilera, and now I’m listening to Mariah Carey. I get so much of my influence from these singing divas. At the same time, I’ve been loving doing rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution, so I love to listen to a variety of electronic music. I think you can tell I mix R&B, electronic, and pop in my own music because of my influences.
If you could collaborate with any musical artist, who would it be and why?
Rihanna. She’s my idol. Her album is the first CD I ever bought. She inspired me to be an artist. If I’m with her, I feel like I can make something I can’t sing alone.
What are some of your favorite songs at the moment?
Ah I can’t choose one, but right now I’m listening to “F***, I’m Lonely” by Lauv and Anne-Marie. I’m
updating a playlist of my favorite songs on Spotify now so follow me if you’re interested.
Would you ever come and visit the UK or US?
Definitely. I’m planning in my dreams, every night in my bed. I’ll go to both soon, so please welcome me!
Would you ever consider doing a world tour, or a few shows outside of Japan?
Of course! I sang at a few places in the US, Paris, and Spain before and I really loved the audience! I hope this EP will take me around the world for sure.
We also want to thank MIREI for taking the time to speak to us! Keep a look out for the “Take Me Away” EP, which is set to be released in early 2020.
To keep up with MIREI, make sure to follow her on social media:
Let us know your thoughts on our interview with MIREI over on Twitter @CelebMix!