Sports & Entertainment
Japanese singer turning heads in Hanoi
  • | | May 28, 2010 01:17 PM

Singer Nene has been making heads turn with her soulful voice in Hanoi. Equipped with her guitar, she has been grabbing the attention of many music lovers. She shares her story with DTiNews' David Cornish.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Japanese Guitarist Yuji Kimura, he is a member of the duo "NIWATAZUMI" that I sing with as a vocal. He respects and is inspired by blues guitarist Robert Johnson and his guitar sound is really unique and sexy. When I sing a song with his guitar, I feel really free.

What is the most challenging part of living in Vietnam?

Crossing the street is really challenging for me, no, just kidding. I am studying Vietnamese and it is very difficult to pronounce. I wish that I could communicate in Vietnamese more. I also need to look for a place to sing by myself. It's kind of a challenge for me. Actually, recently I went to sing at a lake near my house. I set up my amplifier, my microphone and guitar. Many people began surrounding me before I played, they were close, maybe 50 centimetres. That's too close for me! In Japan, people stay at least maybe 5 metres away! I love the Vietnamese character. They are very friendly, very kind.

If you had to describe yourself, how would you answer the question "Who is Nene?"

Wow, that is a difficult question to answer. I am very stubborn and optimistic. I am strict to myself but kind to others. I, like other girls, have a mood elevator. I'm the girl that wishes to be tough and can give energy to another person. I believe that singing is a vital part of who I am and who I want to be.

What are your musical goals?

I want a lot of people to listen to my singing. If my voice can move a persons heart, it's a great thing. If many people start to listen to me, I want to do charity. I'd sing to raise money for disadvantaged people. As I have traveled and seen disadvantaged people with my own eyes, I feel powerless. I believe that is going to be the meaning of my existence.

Do you write your own songs?

I'm trying, but this is very difficult. Sometimes an original melody hits me, it's just hard to finish it.

Do you listen to any Vietnamese musicians?

I don't know any Vietnamese musicians yet but I like to listen to Vietnamese traditional instrumental music.


Who are your favorite musicians?

Stevie Wonder, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Tété, Norha Jones, Jason Mraz and now, Lady GAGA! she is so cool!

What do you hope to accomplish in Vietnam?

My biggest goal is to organize a charity concert where music and people come together for a common cause and help those who are less fortunate.

Has Vietnam had any impact on your music?

Definitely. There is a huge difference between Tokyo and Hanoi. The time, the people, everything is different. For some reason, in Vietnam, I can sing gently, serenely. It is hard to describe but my singing has certainly been impacted by Vietnam.

Can you tell us a little bit about your duo in Japan?

Back in June, 2008, I asked guitarist Yuji Kimura to teach me how to play. I was planning to move abroad and I sent him an mp3 file for him to listen to me playing. I asked for advice on how to improve but instead, he asked me to be a vocalist! We have been playing together since then and plan to release a cover album together this year.

Originally from Japan, Nene is now living in Hanoi. She uses a classic acoustic/electric guitar from Antonio Sanchez,Yamaha, and it is a unique feature of her performance. Nene's solo performances are fast-becoming a mainstay and crowd-pleaser since she moved here in April. You can catch a glimpse of the talented Nene at R&R Tavern on Sunday evenings. In Japan, Nene performs as a duo that goes by the name of Niwatazumi.

How long have you been performing?

As a child I was always singing. Growing up, I always sang. I sing in the bathroom, it has great reverb! I only started learning guitar two years ago and my career as a singer has only been for a year.

What is your genre of music? How would you define your style?

I can't really define my genre. I'm still searching as an artist and it is constantly evolving. I think that my experience in Vietnam will only make me search and evolve more. I cover a wide range of music and enjoy many types of music, so I will continue to discover myself as I play.

Music is powerful, do you have a message that you want to send in your music?

It is love and peace that is the basis of all music. Even if it is only for a moment, I wish that our music can be the spice which colors your day.

Music can give you a surge of energy. If you want to be excited or relaxed, just abandon yourself to a smooth ride of simple ear-catching sounds. With no music, there is no life.


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