may j puts both the j and the pop in j pop
May J is the J Pop meets R&B superstar who has been taking over the Japanese charts ever since she hit her first note.
Ever since she was a little girl, May J has always dreamed of being a performer. She can sing, she can dance, she presents, she even plays the piano, and she once won an MTV lookalike contest for looking like Avril Lavigne, all of which led to her being snapped up by Sony Music Japan, at the tender age of 14. Since then she's been a back up dancer for Aaron Carter, opened shows for Cassie, toured all over the world, released seven albums, and been made a presenter for NHK's only English-speaking show J-MELO. Now 27, she is celebrated far and wide for her J Pop meets R&B classics. However it is her soulful renditions of the Frozen soundtrack for which she has become known. Currently in London for Hype Japan, we caught up with the singer to talk popstars, posters, and what it's like to be a girl in Japan.
When did you realise you wanted to be a singer?
At the age of three. I was always watching Disney movies and singing along with their songs. Aladdin's A Whole New World was my favourite!
Growing up, which pop stars did you have as posters on your wall?
Christina Aguilera, of course.
What is so great about being a young girl in Japan?
There are so many places to shop and for fashionable people to get inspired by. Everybody is so polite. You will always find your purse after you leave it on the train for a couple hours. Haha.
What is J pop?
Japanese music is so diverse. I'd say J pop has great lyrics that anyone can relate to.
What does music mean to you?
Music is my way of communicating with the world. It's my everything.
You started your career when you were 17, were you nervous about being so young?
Not at all! I wanted to start my career younger than that, actually.
How do you think you've evolved since then?
I've gained a lot of singing/dancing skills, I have more responsibility, and I'm more experienced and confident. I'm very thankful to have my fans!
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm releasing a new single called Sparkle. I wrote the lyrics, and it's a theme song for Disney's Nintendo 3DS game "Disney Magic Castle My Happy Life 2".
How was Hyper Japan?
Awesome! It was my second time performing in London and I'd love to come back again for a show!!!
What are your dreams for the future?
I want to tour around the world and release albums outside Japan too!