After years singing with the popular female vocal unit Kalafina, famous around the world for the themes to anime blockbusters such as Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero, KEIKO is releasing her debut album!
Her versatile voice and distinct timbre means that this album ranges from soaring pop numbers to soft ballads, to everything in between. With production from acclaimed producers Yoda and Yuki Kajiura, this is an album that touches your heart as soon as it touches your ears.
We caught up with KEIKO to ask about her 2020 debut album and how she feels about the future!
You were with Kalafina for a long time – how is it different to create and perform as a solo artist?
I’ve been creating songs in collaboration with my producer Yoda, talking about music I’d like to song or artists I’d like to work with. I’ve only just begun so everything is brand new for me. I’m really excited to try new things.
So far I have only done two solo live shows, but I was singing with my musicians like it was a jam session. I just felt the music in the moment.
It’s the same as when I was with Kalafina, I just love making music with other people.
It must have been difficult to release your debut solo single in the middle of a pandemic, did that change how you produce or promote your music?
I try to be flexible and adapt to the situation and stay optimistic about the future, and that attitude hasn’t changed.
We still have a good time while working. We laugh and smile a lot.
That’s really important because I believe that when you smile, you encourage other people to smile and it creates a real connection.
How does it feel to livestream your concerts with a limited audience instead of performing to a full live audience?
I knew that livestream concerts had their own good points, but when I actually got a chance to do one, seeing all the fan comments and conversations in real-time, I really appreciated this new way for people to connect and enjoy a live performance.
It’s so exciting to be able to directly receive everyone’s messages.
I share my heart with my singing voice, so it was really heartwarming to see my fans sharing their feelings about my performance with their comments.
What’s more, I’m so grateful to my fans who allow me to keep creating music and performing live concerts during this coronavirus crisis.
It’s very different to perform with and without an audience.
Even if there is only one person in the audience, that will motivate me to perform. I even felt that way when I was an amateur busking on the street.
Because of that, the last two live shows have had a huge, huge influence on my music and my performance! It fired up my imagination and now I’m motivated to do even more.
I want to put all this new energy into music, and I want to share this music and these songs with the world.
Nothing would make me happier than continuing along this path.
Please tell us how you came up with your new album Lantana and which songs are the most special to you.
We started making this album by searching for music that KEIKO would like to try singing, along with my producer Yoda and my record label.
At that point, we were looking for music and feelings that I wanted to convey, and songs that I felt like I wanted to sing after being with Kalafina for 10 years.
It’s difficult to choose a single song that means the most to me but the song “nanairo no finale” is very special to me. It was composed by Yuki Kajiura who I have wanted to work with since before I was in Kalafina, and when this song was recorded, I was so happy that it was going to be a big part of the beginning of my solo career.
Which singers/artists have inspired you to create music?
I would say Yutaka Ozaki, Yuki Kajiura, and MISIA.
As a part of Kalafina you recorded lots of anime title songs, do you have a favourite anisong or a show which you would love to record a theme song for?
I like historical shows, so I’d like to sing the theme for something like Kingdom or The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
There are so many different types of song on your new album, from pop to jazz to ballad to showtunes, did you enjoy experimenting with different styles? Are there any styles that you want to try in the future?
We had such a great time making this album. Even when we were frustrated it was lots of fun. I think that after this, whenever I am wondering about what sort of songs to sing, I’m always going to look for a new challenge or something I haven’t done before.
Do you have any plans for new music or concerts in 2021?
I’m releasing the DVD and Blu-ray of my December 16th ZeppDiverCityTOKYO live show “KEIKO Live K002 ** Lantana ** has bloomed **”.
You can purchase it from the 10th of March. We also plan to include extra live audio as a bonus for the live DVD and Blu-ray.
For details about other shows and events in the future, please see the official KEIKO website.
In 2021 I want to continue to spread joy with my music, live performances. Get ready for even more from KEIKO!
Also – ENGLAND! I would love to visit the UK soon and I hope I can meet my fans in the future!
Thank you for the great interview, KEIKO. Listen to the singles online and keep an eye out for her live videos coming out in the Spring!
Stay tuned for more interviews and Japanese music news and send KEIKO some love on social media!
Release date: December 2, 2020
01. Be Yourself
02. Nanairo no Finale
03. Hajimari wa
05. Tameiki no Kieru Machi
08. End Roll
09. Change The World’s Color
10. Inochi no Hana
11. Akane -acoustic ver.- (bonus track)
LIVE DVD & Blu-ray: ‘KEIKO LIVE K002 **Lantana*Saitayo**’ (‘KEIKO LIVE K002 **Lantana*has bloomed**’)
Release date: March 10, 2021
Also available now
1st digital single ‘Inochi no Hana’ / ‘Be Yourself’
Purchase and streaming links: https://avex.lnk.to/KEIKO_0527
2nd Digital Single ‘Ray’ / ‘Hajimari wa’
Purchase and streaming links: https://avex.lnk.to/KEIKO_2nd
Official website: https://avex.jp/keiko-singer/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/keikostaff
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRr3yX9Kp5QVyr6JwxNnIJA