MIYAVI And His Encounter With Fate
It’s funny how life works out sometimes. You think you are heading in one direction and suddenly, as fate would have it, your course is completely altered. For Japanese singer, guitarist, songwriter, and actor, MIYAVI, this shift happened when he was fourteen years old. “I picked up the guitar when I was 14 years old, after getting injured playing soccer,” he opened up. “The injury robbed me of my dream to be a professional soccer player, so I needed to find a new hobby that would excite me, fascinate me.” Around that time, his friend mentioned wanting to start a band which inspired MIYAVI to pick up a guitar and start playing.
“From that moment, I was able to visualize myself playing in front of a big crowd,” he shared. The band came together and they played at the school festival in junior high. Despite being nervous for his first show, the artist “felt a spark similar to the adrenaline rush that I got from playing soccer,” marking his debut in the world of music. Within no time, music became a part of who he is. Describing his relationship to music as that of being married, he explained “in the beginning, you’re passionate about getting to know each other nonstop but after a while the shape of the relationship will start changing into a solid, more stable partnership.” The guitar feels like part of his body and is a tool for him to convey his emotions through tones; “Guitar playing can be a really emotional art form.”
Having released thirteen albums so far, there is no stopping this passionate artist! “Each album and each track is like my child from every era and every time period, I always think each album is the best of my career,” MIYAVI shared with a smile. “I always keep evolving and as an artist it’s a privilege to be able to keep challenging myself with new things.” Embracing the idea of change and continuously evolving and moving forward, he believes that as an artist, it is his responsibility to take his audience to “new places sonically,” even when it can seem risky. It’s a journey that both the artist and audience take together…because, without their trust, he wouldn’t be able to do this!
With his audience’s trust in mind, MIYAVI works hard to release different songs which all stem from the same starting point: “deliver a message of positivity towards life. I want my audience and my fans to feel energetic or motivated after they listen to my music.” Straying from music that could leave them feeling sad, there is no secret that the talented artist exuberates positivity and light.
“Music is the soundtrack to our lives. Whatever feelings we get from music can impact our lives forever,” shared MIYAVI. “My music is also a cultural bridge, a cultural exchange. International fans that like my music are also interested in Japanese culture.” A beautiful thing to witness when different cultures come together as one! And speaking of being a cultural bridge, the Japanese artist recently completed his US 20 City Tour which was a “a fun trip, a real journey and also meaningful.”
Part of an amazing team, everyone not only had a great work ethic but also ignited positive energy and good vibes the whole time. “On the tour bus after the show, the girls are always singing and the boys are banging their heads,” MIYAVI described. “We were so happy to be back on the road, so we were always singing and dancing, it was non-stop fun until the very end.” Yes, yes, yes! This energy poured into the performances on stage and despite the hard times we have been encountering for the last two years, people came to watch which meant everything. “I even cried after the last show, but I didn’t really know why I was crying? I still don’t know why my emotions took over,” he shared candidly.
Throughout the tour, he found himself getting stronger and never wanted it to end! Amazing people, incredible times, and cities he has never visited before… it’s safe to say that MIYAVI can’t wait to start a new one! But in the meantime, he continues to work on his music and of course, that is not all that keeps him busy! Also a voice actor, you may recognize his voice from Arcane League of Legends and Bright: Samurai Soul – both released this Fall on Netflix. This outlet challenges him and allows him to keep growing and trying new things.
Laughingly he expressed, “ I just turned 40 years old with a super ‘Saiyan’ hairstyle and tons of tattoos all over my body. I never expected to be like this. We are not aging, it’s more like evolving.” Now that is a way to look at things! Love it! Being a voice actor, surprisingly, is very different from being a rock musician. On stage, he uses his body and different facial expressions but while recording for a show, there is none of that. And that is exactly the challenge he wanted!
Being able to work with a variety of people in all areas of the industry is truly a blessing and MIYAVI takes it all in. Having already collaborated with a variety of renowned artists, one that stood out was with Samuel L. Jackson for the track “Worlds Collide.” Having met on set of “Kong: Skull Island,” MIYAVI (being a huge fan of his work) went up to him in a cool, calm, and collected manner. Similar interests and energies that vibed, it was incredible having him on one of the tracks.
Adding on the list of experiences, the artist also just dropped an NFT (non-fungible token that is part of cryptocurrency). With the help of Jeff Miyahara, one of the producers of his latest album, “Imaginary,” and a board member of KLKTN, MIYAVI was able to get the NFT rolling. “Their skills and technology are really up there. To me, it was really great to explore new territories and to see what we can do. The KLKTN team is more eco-friendly for sustainability,” he explained. It’s not just about making money or following trends but rather serving a bigger purpose.
MIYAVI continues to wow us with his talents and of course, incredible sense of fashion! “We have the freedom to express ourselves as artists and what you wear can shape your visuals and attitude.” Having been working with GUCCI, he loves the company’s attitude which is all about respect for Alessandro, the designer, allowing more freedom and fluidity in the seasons’ collections. Beauty is about what fascinates you and makes you feel good, it’s spiritual.
You can expect to hear of MIYAVI a lot more as his projects continue to expand and come out. He stars on The Masked Singer in Japan that came out on Amazon Prime and the movie Kate on Netflix. There is talk of doing a virtual reality version of the Kiyomizu Temple performance in Kyoto where he performed. And lastly, you can see him in Bright and Arcane both as a voice actor AND musician. “We never know what’s next, that’s why it’s precious to treasure every single moment,” he ended. “Hope you guys enjoy my projects and be safe during this crazy time together!”
Talent MIYAVI @miyavi_ishihara
Photography TOMMY FLANAGAN @tommy_flanagan
Styling KAITLYN VITUG @kaitlynvitug
Styling Assistant ALI GAMBINO @scounderal
Grooming COLLEEN DOMINIQUE @colleendominique
Grooming assistant LESTER LIMA @lestuhhh 🙏🏽
Interview ALEXANDRA BONNET @alexbonnetwrites
Production @bellomediagroup x @maisonpriveepr_la x @alexbonnetwrites