Ami Wajima may be very young at the tender age of 17 years old and has just debuted this year with her debut single 幻想ドライブ (Illusion Drive). Do not let her young age fool you though! Wajima definitely packs a punch with her strong voice and rocker girl image – a contrast from most other artistes her age who usually take the idol path. Furthermore, she has already started performing in big name anisong festivals such as animax musix and P’s Live while boasting four overseas appearances in her career thus far. What does Ami Wajima have to say about her career as a teenaged artiste so far in the past year?
Q: What was your mean reason for joining the HoriPro X Pony Canyon Next Generation Anisong Singer Audition Competition this year?
Wajima: Actually, ever since I was young, I always had a dream of becoming a singer. Over time, I also fell in love with anime and anisong. I also started taking lessons as a singer and one of my classmates who took lessons with me thought that the audition was perfect for me, leading to where I am today.
Q: As a young talent in the music industry, are there any veteran artistes that you look up to are inspired by?
A: May’n! I had always been a fan even before I started watching anime. Now that we are in the same company (HoriPro), I have more opportunities to be together with her in events. Off-stage and on-stage, she’s a lovely person and I really hope to become a diva like her.
Q: How do you feel about your first concert in Shanghai with May’n, especially since it was your first overseas trip?
A: Before my debut, I never went overseas. When I was at the customs with my passport, I was really nervous since it was my first time passing through international customs. The stage was really big and it allowed me to see with my eyes how everybody overseas loved anime and anisong. As an anisong singer, I thought it was a very good experience.
Q: Do you face any difficulties in work because of your age and how do you overcome that?
A: Since I am still 17 years old and will only turn 18 next month, in Japan, you can’t be on broadcast after 10p.m. I’m also still studying so I need to go for vocal training and lessons and work so sometimes, it’s a struggle with time management. A lot of people are shocked that I am still a high school student. I think I should enjoy that time while I can.
Q: You’ve already performed in Taiwan before too. What is it like performing in multiple locations in your debut year?
A: Besides going overseas, I was very keen on visiting Singapore. I saw it on TV and saw the pretty city scenery and the laws that ensure the city remained clean so I was very drawn to it. This is also my third overseas concert and in Singapore so I get to knock off something on my bucket list.
Q: What is your impression of Singapore and how do you feel about being invited for AFA?
A: The scenery is beautiful. As someone from a very cold countryside place in Japan, Singapore’s city landscapes and tall buildings are amazing. There a lot of similarities in culture between Japan and Singapore and being able to see a lot of familiar Japanese brand names made me realise these similarities.
Q: You have also participated in P’s Live 50th Anniversary Special Edition. How did you feel being able to join these events alongside veteran entertainers as well?
A: I just debuted this year so I was very happy to be able to perform with Pony Canyon. I was also surrounded by all my senpai so I was a bit nervous but everyone was so kind so in that nervousness, I also found myself to be quite calm.
Q: What kind of anime series would you like to sing for?
A: Attack on Titan! When it comes to new series, an anime adaptation of a light novel as I really like light novels, especially those in the love comedy genre in particular!
Q: Since it has been six months since your debut, what is your best memory or episode from these six months?
A: Hopefully today’s I Love Anisong concert will be the best memory. I think being able to travel with May’n since I really look up to her is a good experience too in general. I see her not just on-stage or rehearsals but I also get to see her lifestyle outside concerts and observe how she prepares for concerts, which I feel is a really great learning experience that I am grateful for.
Q: Are there any artistes you would like to collaborate with?
A: We just recently concluded animax musix, which is a really huge event in Japan. We did a cover of one of KOTOKO‘s songs* and I performed with fellow Hokkaido artiste, Mashiro Ayano and Ray. Having covered her song before, I hope to be able to collaborate with KOTOKO-san one day.
*The song in question was KOTOKO’s Loop-the-Loop
Q: What are your hobbies outside of singing?
A: Watching anime, listening to seiyuu radio shows. My hobbies are kind of swayed towards the otaku side.
Q: Do you have any particular goals for the future?
A: I fell in love with anime through Anisong and realised that it’s an amazing genre with many great songs. I hope that I could become a singer who can attract listeners who do not know anime and soon start picking up anime from listening to me sing.
Q: What made you want to pursue a music career very seriously?
A: First, when I was a young girl, I hated listening to my own voice. It was a bit of a complex. Then I realised that when I used my voice in singing, I could use it as a weapon and decided to pursue singing as it made me feel stronger and empowered me.
Q: You have done taiko when you were young. Would you like to perform it during a live concert?
A: Wow! I didn’t think about it! I did learn taiko as a child. That is an interesting idea and hopefully, I can incorporate that into my live since it is very traditional and Japanese.
Q: This is your first time in Singapore. What is the one thing that you want to see the most in Singapore?
A: The Merlion! Besides that, I will get to see all the Singaporean fans and see how the anime lovers live their lives, how passionate they are. This is a good opportunity for me to see it in person while being close to the fans!
Ami Wajima is undoubtedly a very promising artiste. With an album coming up on 22 February 2017 titled “I AM”, she is showing no signs of slowing down. With names such as JAM Project’s Yoshiki Fukuyama and Good Morning America’s Kane Hiroshingo being roped in, this is set to be a promising album. She will also be holding a birthday concert on her birthday, 29 December, in Tokyo! We are definitely looking forward to her new musical works and activities and wish her all the best in her newly established but promising career!