Thursday, July 10, 2014

July's Peculiar Person of the Month: J-Pop Singer Reni Mimura

David Rondinelli  
J-Pop singer, dancer, and cosplayer Reni Mimura brings a unique blend of Japanese culture to New York City. Mimura showcases her talents in her monthly maid show named Moe Moe Honey. The show is performed in Chinatown's own Maid Cafe' located on Centre Street in Manhattan. Girls of varying ages perform in an array of colorful outfits that come complete with an arsenal of accessories and colorful frocks. It serves to create an inclusive environment for many in the cosplay community and anime fans alike.

Mimura, a hit in her native Japan, released an album after she auditioned for Takahiro Yamautsuri who was one of the producers for the Pokemon movies.

Since she came to America six years ago, Mimura has released two albums; her newest one is titles Hybrid Girl. The album showcases her sweet and cute side, while also allowing her to express a more mature side of her personality. Mimura commented on how she is trying to blend her Japansese aesthetic with American tastes in fashion and music.

She has done a great job fitting in with the unique landscape that New York City has to offer artists of various types from all walks of life. The sensuous and cute mixed into Mimura's versatile performances help to mainstream the cosplay and J-Pop scene, which is why Reni Mimura is July's Peculiar Person of the month. 

This Peculiar Life: You just finished a new album called Hybrid Girl. Is there a theme or message that you want listeners to know while listening to the album?

Reni Mimura: Thank you for asking me about it! I have my message in this album, that we can have fun forever in our life. No worries to care about [whether it be] age, gender [or what country we come from.] We should be easy going towards our dream, love and just continue to aim to what you want. I want people feel easy going in their lives.

Reni in black
TPL NYC: You filmed a music video for the single "Secret". What was the experience like making a music video? Do you come up with the concept or does the director? Did you have fun making it?

RM: Basically, I'm a dancer. I always wanted [to do a] dance video of my music. I never had done a dance music video before. Finally, I got music from an American music producer [named] Fluu, who did some remixes for Britney Spears, on this album. Also, I had my video director Jonnelle, who I've known since performing at New York Anime Fest in 2009, agreed to shoot the dance video this time. He didn't have a script, but was inspired to shoot my movements.

[I did a] costume change into White Reni and Black Reni. [Transformations are my style, and it really made me satisfied with the shoot.]

TPL NYC: Your look in the video is very different than your maid café' look. This looks more adult and mature? What made you decide on the change? Will you adopt this look from now on, or will you keep the cute maid look too?

RM: [That is the deep connection] with fashion between Japan and America. American cute has a taste of rock. Japanese cute is [a more] smoky color and frill. Even if it's not A-girl (Akiba Girl) still Kawaii is smoky baby pink. Black is not a cute color in Japan, but in America the color of Black is still cute as well.


Reni in dark colors
I've been in New York six years now, and I love fashion. I'm still learning how make my own style. I would say I'm a mix between cute and Kawaii. I update my picture everyday on my social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and my Japanese blog. [I'll have a new photo shoot coming soon! People can take a look at my mix of American fashion and Japanese Moe style. My style is Innocent Sexy!]

Reni capturing the cute and serious looks that she emulates

TPL NYC: How long did it take you to put this new album together? Did you write all the lyrics and music to it?

RM: The song "Rock, Paper, Scissors" is produced by Ki-Yo (a successful Japanese artist from the 90's) and composed for me some music loops. It inspired me to make a rhyme that is around 20 lines long. Then Moe Maid Girls (who work in my monthly Maid Show) helped me to organize those lines to do a rap.

[The song, "Hello Sunshine" was also produced by Ki-Yo's and had the same process] through it. It was Ki-Yo's imagined song of Reni.

I completely wrote the lyrics and melody to the song "Suspect A."  It was composed by Japanese music producer Rui. We worked together by using Skype. He then came to New York to go to my American producer, Fluu, to do a mix of that song again.

"Lovely NY" and "Judgmental Dramatic Monday" [are two songs that I wrote the lyrics to, but the melody was by Rui. Our process for these songs is the same as for my "Suspect A" song.]

[It took about a year to make this album, which is a bit long mostly because we had to connect so many producers for each song between Japan and America.]

TPL NYC: Is there a track that you like the most? What style do you enjoy singing in the most?

RM: "Rock, Paper, Scissors" [is my favorite track! I like lyrics that show my personality a lot and who I am, and I also like the Hip Hop style of Nyan Nyan.]
TPL NYC: What were some the challenges you had in putting the new songs together?

RM: Yes, my point was to create a sense of sexy between Japanese and Americans. I didn't want to be [only] "American sexy." Same as didn't want to be [only] "Japanese sexy." Also, I still wanted to stay in the anime style. It was hard to put all my images together.

TPL NYC: According to your website, you are doing some rapping on the new album. Was that hard to do, or did you find it easy?

RM: It wasn't easy. I was carrying a paper with the lyrics all the time. Listenning to the song and practicing anywhere I could. Also, rapping needs [my voice to go up and down.] It [reminded me of] acting school when I was in Japan.

TPL NYC: You recently had a documentary done about your debut here in America. How was it filming a documentary for American audiences?

RM: One of my documentaries wasn't in English, but many American people watched it and sent me messages. Most of [them asked] why I was crying? People were worried about me. They are always so sweet to me.

[The second documentary filmed the artist side of my life.] My activity inspired a lot of girls. They said it inspired them to do what they like. [We only live once;] we need to do what we like in our life.

TPL NYC: What are some of the differences between the Japanese music industry and the American music industry?

RM: American people prefer the real, true voice of the singer. They enjoy [learning] about the artist's personality and who you are. The Japanese side prefers staying in the fantasy world of the artist. [In my country, the Japanese don't prefer to get gossip. Americans love gossip about any artist.]

You can see the same thing happening in the music. Japanese music has beautiful melodies, lyrics and voices. Record companies are not selling music that has bad words in the lyrics. Even if that artist's personal life is a bad world.


TPL NYC: Do your fans in Japan miss you? Do you get to go home to Japan a lot to perform for them?

RM: Yes, they are so sweet. They are coming to my Facebook page. Facebook isn't really a famous social network in Japan. [A site called] Mixi is the biggest in Japan. But they try to use English, but some use Japanese to support me. When I get chance to go to Japan, I would love to perform for them ^_−

TPL NYC: You're maid café' show Moe Moe Honey is a one-of-a kind here in NYC. How is it being a maid here in New York City?

RM: It has been 6 years doing my maid show. I started it alone. Now, I have maid friends with strong connections. They are my jewels. Sometimes we cry together, laugh together, and eat together. [The girl that's been with me the longest is Erica Cotte. She is a leader of the maids at the maid show Maid Cafe #MoeMoeHoney. We are not just wearing maid costumes together. She knows me, I know her, and when we do a show together, it [is truly amazing!]

TPL NYC: How do you go about picking the right girls to become maids?

RM: Actually, I don't pick the new girls. The leader, Erica Cotte, and another maid do auditions and they [choose.] [We need someone who can communicate well with senior maids or it will not work.] I respect my maids who have worked with me longer, because they are already trained. Some feel that the ideal maids are the ones that don't change. They get the choice to either get a boyfriend or stay single, but most of the girls do change when they get a boyfriend. Idol producer Yasushi Akimoto made the rule of "No Boyfriends"in AKB48 from this reason. He knows girls very well. We don't have rules like that, because I totally agree with the opinion that love is most important. My opinion is that if you have something you like, I don't want them to forget that passion for it.

Reni in her maid outfit for her regular shows
TPL NYC: Do you perform anywhere else aside from the Moe Moe Honey and online? Do you have any upcoming appearances anywhere else?

RM: Yes, I'm planning to go to Texas for some anime conventions this year. I performed at many conventions between 2009-2012. Maid Cafe' NY opened and made me very busy in 2013. I hope 2014 can make me perform other places to meet many angels!

TPL NYC:  What are some upcoming projects that you are working on to give readers a sneak peek into?

RM: [I will have new music with my own lyrics and melodies. Many have asked and this is the first time I will responsed with new music in America. I will do all love songs!] Why? Because I never wrote love songs. Maybe cute ones like in Hello Kitty. Maybe sexy ones like Japanese geisha, maybe rock songs or contemporary dance...Reni still has other sides you haven't seen!

TPL NYC: What is the most peculiar thing you have seen while living in New York City?

RM: When police officers are patrolling at night time, they are sooooo friendly and fun. Sometimes they give phone numbers to the girls. If it was Japan, they would be fired. Japanese police officers don't smile at all. At the same time, what I like about American people is their friendly personalities.

TPL NYC: What is the most peculiar thing you have seen or been a part of while in Japan?

RM: The train! We have big crowds in the morning rush hour. We are very sensitive to touching other people. Yes, we don't have a hug and kiss culture, BUT only at this time we don't care about touching people whoever they are. It is because we really care about TIME. We don't want to be late at any time! That's such a Japanese thing. We call this big crowd "Sushi Zume," it means we are like a sushi pack!! When you eat sushi, look at the white rice. I'm not kidding; the packed train looks just like that.



To learn more about Reni's Maid Show and music just check out her website

No comments:

Post a Comment