This is the first time that Anisong World Matsuri was held at Anime NYC in New York City, and it’s your first time performing here as well! What expectations did you have and how was it?
It was actually super fun for me!
This is my first time ever visiting New York City, so when I was going on stage, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect, but when I looked at the crowd, the image was so beautiful. I was so happy to see how excited everyone was, which only got me more pumped to put on a great show.
After winning the 5th annual Anisong Grand Prix, you released your first single “Choir Jail” in 2012 at the age of 15. You just turned 22 years old and have released 15 singles so far, and even voiced a leading character in the anime “LOST SONG”. How do you feel you have grown as an artist and performer?
Comparing myself to when I was young and first starting out as an artist, I wasn’t sure how to express myself. I would often get in my head and worry if it was okay to say certain things.
Now I’m able to express my feelings more freely and show my true self without holding back. I’ve always had fun performing live, but the ability to fully be myself on stage has allowed me to enjoy my live shows even more.
Moving forward, my goal is to grow even more as a live artist – I’ve been going on tours across Asia for years, but down the road I’d like to continue going abroad and do more world tours.
You released your 15th single “Ao no Kanata” (EN: Beyond the Blue) on October 24, which is used as the ending song to the anime “Sora to Umi no Aida” (EN: Between the Sky and Sea). What theme/feeling connects the song and anime together?
The anime is centered around six girls who have to join forces and face a brand new challenge together while building a strong relationship among them. The girls’ friendship is the main theme of the song and the anime, too.
With this song, I looked back on my own experiences. I wanted to communicate the uneasiness of starting new things, but also how rewarding it is to look at past differences and how it feels to accomplish a collective goal.
In the music video, you play guitar alongside your band. When did you start playing guitar? How has this affected your performance style?
I started playing the guitar when I was 19 years old. A staff member suggested that it would be cool element to introduce to my live shows, and once I tried it out, I felt right away that it was a good fit for my personality.
I’ve had a lot of fun practicing and want to continue playing live at my shows. Ever since I started playing the guitar, I’ve been able to compose my own songs as well – that has allowed me to become even more involved in my music, which has been extremely rewarding.
Anisongs seems to have emerged as its own genre and subculture celebrated all around the world with events like Anisong World Matsuri. What would you say makes an anisong different than a pop song? Why do you think people are drawn to anisong?
This is just my personal opinion, but as far as anisongs is concerned, they take you to a totally different world.
When it’s a pop song from a pop artist, it’s about the feelings of the singer.
With anisongs, they take on the themes of the show and become an extension of the world the animation and voice actors have created. The song and show become intertwined – you hear the song on the show, and then listening to the song reminds you of the show you love.
Since last year, you have expanded your reach by performing all around the world— across Asia, Germany, the United States, and Brazil. As an artist based in Japan, what do think when you see messages from fans abroad?
It’s amazing to know that people all around the world listen to anisongs.
In every country I visit, the love for anime is as strong as it is in Japan. When I return to Japan, I reflect on my experiences and treasure the warmth I felt in my heart from being able to share these moments with fans across the world.
Things like that make me feel proud to be an anisong singer. Being able to see all the passion from the fans makes me want to continue working hard in the anime world.
As you tour the world, more people are becoming familiar with your work. What do you want people to know about you? What message do you wish to communicate with your work?
Since I debuted, my motto has been “the singer that keeps evolving“. As an anisong singer, I’ve taken on new challenges like becoming a voice actor and playing the guitar. I think doing these types of things shows I’m evolving without being afraid of making mistakes.
With my career, I’d like to inspire people and make them feel brave. I want to show them they can do whatever they set out to do.
Anisong World Matsuri: http://anisongworldmatsuri.com/
Anisong World matsuri at Anime NYC: http://animenyc.com/anisongworld2018/
Konomi Suzuki Official Website: http://konomi-suzuki.net/
Konomi Suzuki Twitter: https://twitter.com/Suzuki_Konomin