While at Japan Expo LA 2015, we were able to interview Japanese singer, Ayaka Mononobe. She opened up the Expo with a performance of the Japanese national anthem and lit up the main stage with several performances over the weekend.
Thanks for your time! For starters, how are you enjoying your time in America?
Have you been here before?
Yes, I have. I used to live in New York for four years.
Can you tell us what music styles influence your sound?
I like jazz, hip-hop and gospel. I love gospel. A lot of soul and funk.
That's a varied mix. Who are some of your favorite music artists?
Dianne Reeves, of course Michael Jackson and I love Beyonce.
Following along that same line, is there any artist you would like to do a collaboration with?
Maybe Pharell, because he's so handsome! (Laughter) There is a reason!
Have you performed overseas before?
Here? No this is actually my first time. I was living in New York before though and I had a recording session there. It was just music business though.
What are the biggest differences, you think, between the US and Japan?
It is more huge. Everything is so big, Japan is just a small island. People here are all so open and I like that. They all have open minds.
Have you had time to go anywhere fun or interesting since you've been here?
We went to Santa Monica Beach two days ago. We had king crab with butter sauce. It was amazing! I want to go big falls, you know like Niagara Falls, but some that are closer to here. You know, like waterfalls, I'd love to go and see them.
Wow, that's great, I've never thought about seeing waterfalls. Have you eaten any foods here that might be different than what you'd have back in Japan?
Yes! I love Mexican Food.
Well there's a lot of that here in LA!
Yes! Actually, you know what? I sung the Mexican national anthem in Japan, at an embassy party.
Really? That's interesting. You probably know more Spanish than us! Do you have any funny stories to share from performing?
You know, I'm always very serious so there aren't too many funny stories...but there was one time when I was going on stage and I was wearing heels and I fell. It was terrible, but a little funny. (Laughs)
What are some of your upcoming plans for your music?
I'm working on my original songs right now. I'm going to release my new album next year. I'll also be working on my music videos.
Where can we find out more about you?
Maybe my Facebook and website. Both under Ayaka Mononobe.
Do you have any closing words you want to add?
I love you guys and I want to see you guys from all over the world!
You can find out more about Ayaka Mononobe on her social media.
The above interview was conducted by Manuel Figueroa with assistance and filming by Eunice Wang.