What is the origin of the stage name “Che’nelle”?:
Che’Nelle: When I lived in Perth, there was a community of artists, break dancers etc. who were all coming up with artist names and I wanted to be apart of that. The first 3 letters of my real name starts with “Che” so I thought it was kinda cool to have some part of it in my artist name, I wanted something sexy, simple and memorable. I was 17 lol crazy.
What differences stick out the most when comparing the Japanese and US industries:
Che’Nelle: Music wise definitely the sounds. J-pop dominates the charts out in Japan. Although many pop genres of Japanese Music is influenced by American music they have their own elements that make J-pop, J-pop. The culture is also significantly different and how they deal with business is different too.
Was there a bit of culture shock once you started to assimilate yourself in the Japanese industry?
Che’Nelle: I adapt pretty quickly…I don’t recall being shocked per say, but more so surprised and excited in many situations. From the warm toilet seats to the automatic closing and opening of taxi doors to learning when to bow and what it all meant.. all of it was amazing I loved it.
It’s difficult being a J-POP fan overseas due to Japan’s very strict guidelines with their media. Do you think companies should make a little bit more of an effort to make things more accessible for people living outside of Japan:
Che’Nelle: Absolutely! How else will the world learn about J-pop! I’m sure there’s reasons for the restrictions, however I think music of all sorts should be accessible…
Recently, you collaborated with MIYAVI for his “SAMURAI SESSIONS” album. Are there any artist(s) you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Che’Nelle: I would love to do a song with AI in Japan, in America I would love work with Bruno Mars.
Was there any difficult hurdles you had to overcome when learning how to sing in Japanese?
Che’Nelle: Not really, for some reason I pronounced Japanese words well and never really found a problem…I was guided well and never heard a complaint about how I sung.
Why do you think Asians in particular have trouble making it big in America?
Che’Nelle: I wish there was one solid answer for that. I believe everyone of every race should have equal opportunity to showcase, explore, inspire, share, put out music etc.. it is so interesting how not many Asians at all specifically outside of America has been musically successful.
The politics in the music business runs so deep that I think has been allowed to over power such things as marketing and supporting an Asian artist. When something is new, unfamiliar, and stereotypically challenged, I believe it takes only one individual to break the mold that opens up a path for other Asian artist in similar situations to walk through.. throughout this year a lot more are walking through that path..
Any recommendations for TV dramas/shows or movies?
Che’Nelle: Black Mirror on Netflix and Designated Survivor on Hulu.
Current food obsession?
Che’Nelle: Avocado toast!
Any advice for an artist trying to find their footing in the industry?
Che’Nelle: Create a product that speaks your soul, do all that you can and use all outlets to expose your music and you.. stay consistent, grow relationships, stay open to learning especially since the music industry rapidly evolves and changes each day, don’t give up, do research, think out the box.
Message for readers at ARAMA! JAPAN!
Che’Nelle: You guys Rock! Thanks for reading and thank you for the amazing support!! I appreciate it so much!
Calm Before The Storm is available on iTunes and all your favourite streaming services including Spotify and Apple Music. Keep up with Che’Nelle on her official Twitter account and website.