Interview: TRUEby Rai Kelly,
TRUE is a name that will be familiar to many anime fans and anisong lovers, especially if they've seen this year's Violet Evergarden, which led with an opening written and performed by the powerful singer. (Other favorites include the openings for Sound! Euphonium and the ending theme for this season's That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.) We interviewed TRUE about her experience with creating music for anime ahead of New York's Anisong World Matsuri 2018, a concert centered around celebrating musicians in anime.
How do you feel about returning to New York for Anisong World Matsuri, in the same venue as many other famous artists?
TRUE: I'm back at Anisong World Matsuri! I'm happy that I'm able to perform again this year. Thank you very much to all of you who waited for me!
Some of your very first songs were not anime-related, but you eventually began writing the lyrics for anime openings and closings. What made you take that plunge? Was it a love for anime?
I wanted to be involved in anime, so in 2012, I started working as the songwriter "Miho Karasawa". My first song that was used for a production was "Mother land", the insert song for Valvrave the Liberator, performed by Yuuka Nanri.
Eventually, you began performing anime songs. What drove your decision to do this, and which do you prefer – singing or songwriting?
When I began as a songwriter, I used to compose songs and record them just for myself, and one of the directors from Lantis heard the demo and asked if I was interested in singing for the opening song for Buddy Complex. It was such a miraculous opportunity! I was really grateful that he discovered me. Singing really makes me feel alive, just like writing. Both are important to someone like me who's not so good at communicating from the start. Both are precious to me and I love them both.
How do you feel when you hear lyrics you've written turned into a song and performed by musicians or in anime?
Every song I create is like one of my children, so I feel very happy to see them grow and live out in the world being experienced by others. But I'll never forget the feeling when I heard my first anisong played on TV! I was sitting in front of the TV, and the tears just started flowing. That moment will stay with me forever.
You have written and performed songs for all kinds of anime, from intense mecha like Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans, to gentler series like Sound! Euphonium. How do you go about writing/performing songs for such vastly different series?
I think it all starts by experiencing each series on its own, finding the personality and tone and theme without comparing it to anything else. I entered the world of anisong because I really love anime. If you continue to honestly love anime, I think you can create the perfect lyrics and songs.
When writing character songs, how do you get into the mindset of the character? Do you ever feel like you become closer to the character through writing these songs?
I've become pretty good at putting myself in the mood of the show or finding a part of me in the story. The more I read into the story, the more naturally I can find something I can relate to. That's why even though I'm creating a song for an anime, it becomes a song about myself. I think that's the unique part of anisong.
You have been in the anime/music industry for quite some time, over five years. What motivates you? Is it different from what motivated you earlier in your career?
I think it's about believing in yourself one hundred percent. And also, you have to honestly love what you're doing. There are so many things I've discovered because my dreams came True, and now that I know that I can overcome any difficulty, I look forward to new challenges!
What song would you recommend for fans who are learning about you for the first time?
That would be "Sincerely", the opening song from Violet Evergarden. I put all my love into the song, so it's really precious to me. I hope you can feel my strong emotions when you listen to it.
Do you have a message for the fans coming to see you in New York City?
Thank you for coming to see me! I'm celebrating my 5th anniversary, so it's amazing that I get to spend this special time with everyone! This is all happening because of the fans that support me from all around the world. I will sing with everything I've got, so I hope we can all express our love for anisong together. Let's make this concert great!
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