Interview with Stephanie Yanez
Stephanie Yanez is an American Jpop singer, Virtual Idol of Japanese anime avatar site TinierMe.com, and Anime Expo’s AX Idol. She has toured all over the States and in Japan. She has been seen on T.V. as the Tokyo Reporter for Anime Select’s Comcast On Demand documentary “Crazy Sexy Tokyo”. Miss Yanez has released numerous CD’S and singles which are all on iTunes, Amazon,etc.
She has worked with Crypton Future Media, Gcrest, Aniplex USA, I’VE Sound, Geneon USA, Victor Entertainment, and Broccoli on numerous projects. She has opened up and shared the same stage with Kotoko, Yousei Teikoku, and Nikka Costa. She recently officially collaborated with Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku and TinierMe with “Ultimate Miku World”, an exclusive song and music video.
Stephanie, it is a pleasure to meet you. How did your interest in J-Pop begin?
It began when I met a exchange student from Japan. We became close friends and she introduced me to a group called Dragon Ash. From there I started to teach myself to sing in Japanese so when we go to karaoke I could sing along with her.
You entered the Anime Expo’s AX Idol contest. What was your experience like in the competition and did you expect to win?
The experience of AX Idol was amazing! The prize was 100 Jpop CD’s and I did not expect anything out of the contest. It was days after the event that I was approached by Geneon and I’VE and asked to record 4 songs with them at paramount studios. The songs were released on a CD called Anime Karaoke Collection and was sold at major record stores.
As a reporter for the documentary Crazy Sexy Tokyo what are some of the things you got to do?
As a reporter they had me go all around Tokyo doing the most interesting things! I dressed up as a Geisha, took Ninja class, ate snake ice cream, and went into a scary Japanese haunted fun house! I am currently putting the documentary up on my YouTube! For now you can see the bloopers on my YouTube channel.
As an American J-Pop singer how would you compare yourself and your lifestyle to a Japanese J-Pop singer?
It is kind of hard to compare my lifestyle to a Japanese J-pop singer. I know that because I am in the States singing Jpop helps me stand out due to the States being a English speaking country. More and more music from all over the world is becoming popular like Jpop in the States. I love singing Jpop! I also have songs in English. And because my producer Polo Yazaki is from Japan the music still has that Jpop/rock feel with English lyrics.
What is your purpose or goal in singing in Japanese? Do you think you would have a different audience if you sang in English?
Often people think I only sing in Japanese but I actually have a lot of songs in English as well. When I won AX Idol I was told by Geneon that my Japanese was really good. Since my experience working with Geneon and I’VE the Japanese has just stuck with me. I feel I had all these amazing opportunities because I sing in Japanese.
Working with Crypton Future Media and Hatsune Miku must have been an incredible experience. Tell us about it!
I am a sponsor with TinierMe and TinierMe was planning on having a collaboration with Hatsune Miku. I met up with the president Itoh-San and discussed creating a song with Hatsune Miku. Polo & I worked together to create a song that I can sing with Hatsune Miku. Polo was the one who put Hatsune Miku’s voice in it. Then TinierMe created a full animated music video featuring myself and Hatsune Miku.
You are also the spokesperson for Tinierme.com, a website devoted to anime and gaming. How did you first get involved with them and what are some of the functions you perform for the site?
I got a email from TinierMe before the website made it’s debut asking me to be a sponsor! After meeting with them in Japan we started to discuss the design of my avatar. They based it off of a specific photograph of mine. Now as a sponsor I go on often to play, write diaries, & promote the site
You have a new single, album and music video coming out called “Rising”. Tell us a little about what we can expect from these.
My album is out now on iTunes with 11 original songs produced by Polo and myself! The album is highly influenced by Jpop and rock. My song RISING has a music video and was written during the time of the earthquake & tsunami that struck Japan recently. It is a song written to give us all strength. The RISING CD also has the track I worked with Hatsune Miku on called Ultimate Miku World and a song inspired by Sailor Moon called A Moon Healing Kind of Love.
You worked with Japanese Rappers Mura & Kenshiro on “Rising”. Had you worked with rappers before now? What was your experience like?
I have worked with rappers before but the difference was that these were Japanese rappers. I really enjoyed Mura & Kenshiro’s work on RISING. They are both super talented and very nice and supportive as well! Mura back in Japan does battle rapping and Kenshiro is a DJ.
What is the your creative process like? What inspires you?
Everything around me inspires me! I love the simple things in life and can find songs in all that I do. I love writing my lyrics and conveying my feelings through music. Sometimes I feel lost for words speaking wise and feel that singing how I feel is easier for me.
Are there any artists you admire? Is there someone you would love to collaborate with in the future?
I have many artists I like like Shiina Ringo, Kimura Kaela, Yuki, Sawlyu, Sting, Bjork, Lauren Hill. I would love to collaborate with Susumu Hirasawa! He is an amazing artist and it would be a deem to have a song created by him.
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
My official website has all the links to my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.