Introduction from Anime Central: Thank you everyone for coming today, especially thank you to Yukino for coming. A rising star of the Japanese Music scene as you guys probably all know, she released her first single in 2012 and her first full album just released just two months ago. And on that of course is the song RanTiki, which is a big hit right now and leading off the “Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman” series. Yukino, would you like to say anything to start things off, or should I just open it right up to questions?

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Yukino: “My name is Yukino and nice to meet you.”

Shoutarou: My name is Shoutarou and I work at Nippon Columbia Records as a producer and I work with Yukino right now. Now you have her brand new album called “VOCALIZE”The song called RanTiki is included; it’s listed as the top, first song of the album. RanTiki is the opening song of “Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman”. Mr Monkey Punch designed it. He’s very very popular in Japanese animation and now he’s doing more, more new and her song was featured as the opening theme so it’s a very great experience for her. Now, today, she is here at ACEN. It will be a great experience for her and she is happy to be here. I’d like to thank you all for guys to come here. Just begin… ask some questions…

Do you hope to continue your music career internationally? Such as doing concerts abroad in Europe, or North America?

Yukino: So it’s first time to perform out of Japan. ACEN is first step but my goal is of course the United States first. Then Asia, Europe, the world. Now Japanese animation, video game very popular so we would like to make music internationally. this is just a first step. We are still on the way

ACEN Staff: We’re very happy she chose ACEN. Thank you.

Your released your first full album, “VOCALIZE?” in March. Why did you choose the name “VOCALIZE?”?*

The answer is very simple. Recently, in Japan in the music industry, many music are synthesized with sampler? or not real instrument. I want to make everything real, with real instrument. I think my voice is one instrument so I want to make you all view my voice as an instrument. When you listen to my music so that’s a reason I made the title “VOCALIZE”. In Hollywood there are many huge studios, and in New York or in Chicago of course. So we envy you all guys. But in Japan it’s really hard to record full orchestra or full rock band. But we always try to make good music. I was inspired by jazz, blues, American Rock, music from America, from the US. You can feel when you listen to the “VOCALIZE.” I hope you enjoy my album.

You talked about synthesize versus actual instruments. And I know Korean Pop is very popular now in Japan.  Do you feel it’s very hard to compete with the pop groups?

My …music…no midi, no synthesizer. On the other hand I enjoy …and gospel group. I want to be, both artists good. And just … are instrument. “VOCALIZE” is first album so that’s why I want to separate…instrument. But for future…So I may try to use a synthesizer or midi.

ACEN Staff: She’s only 21 she’s got time.

Shoutarou: Yea just her first time, she’s too young.

If, playing off that topic, what would your preferred medium be? What would you like to expand to? Would you like to have full backed orchestras? Would you like to do anything special? What do you see yourself wanting to do in the future?

I love rock and I want rock. My first album “VOCALIZE” is an R & B/Blues fan style. So I want to sing rock music more. So that’s going to be a future topic. And one more thing: only vocal. I want to make my voice the instrument as I told you. So only voice to make harmonies. Only my voice.

Thank you for coming. My biggest question is that blues, rock, are your biggest influences right now. Is there any artist, that’s either in Japan or in America that you’d like to work with on your next album?

“Aerosmith.” (Laughs) I love them and I want to meet Mr. Steve Tyler. He’s my hero.

Did you choose to come to Chicago because its history of blues music more fits your current vocal style?

Shoutarou: At first the organizer asked me to bring Yukino to ACEN and for Yukino, Chicago is like a dream state like Blues Brothers and things. And now she’s in Chicago and yesterday she went to museum and downtown and she enjoyed Chicago. She’s now very happy to be, to enjoy Chicago in its utmost beauty.

Would you be willing to give us a little sample of your singing?

It’s a rough song…chorus… (Lots of laughter from Yukino and press with encouraging commentary)

(Yukino was kind enough to sing for us and it was wonderful! )

(Applause)

Who came up with the idea for the RanTiki music video? I think it has a very unique style with the black and white and vintage style clothing?*

Today in the Japanese pop music scene, many music videos are colorful, very pop, very …., many many things. As my music style, it’s the same thing. I want to take the opposite way of the mainstream. I want to make a simple, straight, strong music video.  Then I arrived at white and black, simple music video style.  I hope it works, match with RanTiki song, style music.

Some of your songs have become themes for anime series. Were you a fan of any anime when you were younger? Any theme songs you sung along with back in the day?

(Laughs) (She sang as a demonstration). “I love Dragon Ball.”

Any message to your fans now? Or to any future fans?

So I’m happy to be here. That I can perform tomorrow and on Sunday too. Two concerts. And if US people enjoy my music I’ll be happy. I want to visit other states in the US and of course other countries.

So we just heard you sing something you like from the past, is there a more recent anime that you’ve been watching that you really love?

“Hunter x Hunter. I love Hisoka.” (At this point she pulled out a phone charm to show)

Do you have any more stops planned in the US besides ACEN this trip?

I want, but on Monday we are going to go back to Japan. So maybe next time.

So you’re only 21 years old you’ve got hit songs, theme songs for anime, you’re overseas touring and doing shows. Does it ever feel like a lot for somebody so young?

Shoutarou: Monkey Punch is huge in Japanese animation history. … x is her favorite character. She has to keep stalking  x for years. (Laughter) I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

Yukino: But I love x so much… and Monkey Punch made “Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman” and RanTiki is the theme song. I still cannot believe it. (Laughs) It’s like I’m still dreaming. It’s my first time being asked to visit a foreign country. I only knew Japan. Now I open my first door and I’ll keep working, and working.

Are there any ways in which being on the radio helps you with your music, being a radio personality?*

I have two radio programs in Japan and I work as a radio personality too. The world of radio is very deep and …. Vocal performance. At the concert I can meet the audience and see the face of the audience. But radio it’s impossible, so I have to make only my voice. I enjoy the radio programs, but I want a way to make myself.

ACEN Staff: Unfortunately folks we’re running out of time here. Thank you guys for coming. And of course let’s thank Yukino for coming. (Applause)

Yukino: “Thank you very much.”

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Find Yukino at the following websites!

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