Rina Sawayama Covers Billboard’s Pride Issue / Talks Bulldozing Barriers, Lady Gaga Collab, & More

Published: Wednesday 2nd Jun 2021 by Sam

Rina Sawayama is ready for her close-up and she receives exactly that on the cover of Billboard‘s Pride Issue. 

The eclectic Pop force has been on an epic ascend; one that’s taking place on a global scale and one that is being fueled by an authenticity that is magnetizing the masses.

As Pop stars go, Sawayama doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter mold (not does she aim to).

The 30-year-old queer Japanese-British belle glides between unlikely sounds and glues them together with finesse and infectiousness that cannot be denied. Many an example are housed on her debut album ‘Sawayama’ – which topped a lengthy assembly of Best of 2020 lists.

Now, as she commences work on a follow-up, the Cambridge University graduate is opening up about her journey, her ethnicity, featuring on Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’ remix album, being the change she wants to see, and much more.

Head below for pics and quotes…

On Getting Her Shine Later On:

“I think that’s the benefit of me waiting so long. Had I been younger, I might have been like, ‘Oh, no. I need to change my sound.’”

On Her Sharing Her D-I-Y Approach With The Masses:

“Showing the creative process can be really exciting for people who, like me, had no idea how to do this. I learned so much from being independent, but I really wished I knew so much before. It would have saved me a lot of time.”

On Being Excited To Work With Lady Gaga:

“If they said, ‘You need to cover ‘Chromatica I,’ ” — the first of the album’s instrumental interludes — “I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it!’ I’ll just sing the whole orchestra: dum-dum-dum, dum-dum-dum!”

On Her Ethnicity:

“I’ve always been conscious that my surname is an inconvenience.

I think it’s important for people to instantly recognize that it’s a Japanese or Asian-sounding name. But in the future, I’m definitely not counting off dropping the surname — if I become iconic enough.”

On Being Inspired By Drag Queens:

“I’m inspired by drag because people wear their trauma and insecurity and celebrate it or make a character out of it, and that’s really what I wanted to do with the album.I wanted to talk about these things that have caused me so much pain — so much expensive therapy bills — and make it into something that just sounded like a pop song, to make people want to really listen over and over to what was being said.”

Rina’s Label Head Jamie Oborne On Her Stateside Plans:

“We haven’t taken anything to radio in America yet for a reason: I want to build an undeniable foundation first. I feel like we’re almost there.”

Your thoughts?

[Photo Credit: Billboard / Zoe McConnell]

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  1. 🍭marilyn monh-O-E🍭(💫Perfectly Splendid✨) June 2, 2021

    I really can’t tell if her eyes are closed or widely opened💅🏿💅🏿💅🏿 Anyways, her music is not bad but her vocal is very forgettable🤳🏿🤳🏿

    • Monroe June 2, 2021

      That’s so racists WTF!!!

      • Shayla Queen 👑 June 2, 2021

        She said what she said. Bye! 👋🏽

    • Monroe June 3, 2021

      Taking your own side with your two accounts 🤣🤣🤣

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