A decade in the game, LiSA continues to kill

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Hollywood struggled during the pandemic. Box office profits plummeted, theaters closed, and home streaming providers made a mint. In October, however, the animated film “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” surprised everyone by breaking one box office record after another – and LiSA, the voice behind its opening theme, enjoyed many new levels of success.

After writing and performing the opening tracks for the television series “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”, as well as the follow-up feature, LiSA, whose stage name stands for “Love is Same All”, has seen its fan base flourish as the franchise gains popularity around the world. But that’s not the only thing she has to celebrate.

On May 19, the native of Gifu Prefecture, real name Risa Oribe, released a seven-track mini album titled “Ladybug” (stylized in all caps) to commemorate her 10th anniversary as a solo artist. It features collaborations with renowned musicians such as Grammy Award-winning guitarist B’z Takahiro Matsumoto, Yujin Kitagawa of Yuzu and Avu-chan of pop-rock group Queen Bee (Ziyoou-vachi).

“‘Ladybug’ is tentēmushi in Japanese, so that seemed like an appropriate name for my 10th anniversary record, ”LiSA, 33, told the Japan Times. “It’s a playful album incorporating a variety of styles. If I had to choose a song it would be ‘GL’ written by Avu-chan. The tempo is fast and there is rock and dance music besides me rapping. I just think it’s a fun trail.

LiSA decided to involve several popular artists on the EP to create something special to mark a decade in the industry. She says there have been times in the past where she has had doubts about herself, but now she’s proud of what she’s accomplished and has become more confident.

This confidence was certainly bolstered by the success of her fifth studio album “Leo-Nine” (styled as “LEO-NiNE”), released on October 14, the same day as her single “Homura” (“Flame”). Both debuted at No.1 on Billboard Japan’s Hot 100 simultaneously.

Shortly thereafter, “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” was released, becoming the highest grossing film in Japanese box office history on December 26 and breaking the US box office record for opening weekend. most profitable foreign language film. He has since exceeded $ 400 million in worldwide sales.

“Although I knew the anime was one of Japan’s most popular exports, I feel like ‘Demon Slayer’ took things to another level,” LiSA said. “I fell in love with the manga and was blown away by the animation. I had never seen anything like it before. The creators felt a strong sense of responsibility for bringing this wonderful story to life and so was it for me with the music. To be involved in something like this is an honor, but there is a real pressure that goes with it. “

LiSA’s involvement in the “Demon Slayer” franchise began with the television series. In collaboration with composer Kayoko Kusano, she wrote “Gurenge” (“Red Lotus”) for the opening of the show. The title refers to the protagonist of the anime, Tanjiro Kamado, who overcomes difficult circumstances to become a hero, much like a lotus, a beautiful flower that miraculously grows in swamps and symbolizes transcendence in Buddhist culture. “Gurenge” became the first song by a female artist to exceed one million downloads on the Oricon charts.

“Homura” – the theme song from “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train” – proved even more popular. Grand Prix winner at the 2020 Japan Record Awards, he overtook the K-pop group BTS’s “Dynamite””To become the fastest song to rack up 100 million streams and over 191 million views on YouTube at the time of writing. Written with Yuki Kajiura, it’s a moving ballad about finding hope in the darkest moments, with an emphasis on one of the characters from “Demon Slayer”, Kyojuro Rengoku.

“He’s my favorite character,” says LiSA. “He’s cool, strong and sincere, like a real warrior. I wanted these characteristics to be reflected in the lyrics. I always go through the same approach when writing songs for anime. This time was no different. It’s just a matter of reading the original work and taking things from there. It always helps when you enjoy the story.

LiSA has a writing history for the anime. His big breakthrough in the music industry came in 2010 from “Angel Beats! », A series of 13 episodes about a boy losing his memory in the afterlife. Alongside singer Marina Nakamura, she sang for the in-story group of the Girls Dead Monster series. The duo released five singles, all of which ranked in the top 10.

“This opportunity arose about two years after I moved to Tokyo,” says LiSA. “At Gifu, I was in an independent group called Chucky. It was fun, but to really advance in my career I needed a bigger stage. I worked part time and played in the band, Love is Same All, then ‘Angel Beats!’ came around. It was a great moment for me because it opened many doors for me.

“I had watched cartoons as a kid, but I didn’t see anything as an adult because I was so focused on my music. When I had the gig with ‘Angel Beats!’ I started doing more research and got into a lot of different types of shows and movies. The best I have seen was’5 centimeters per second‘by Makoto Shinkai. Visually, it was stunning. It made me realize how advanced anime imagery has become since I was younger.

In 2011, LiSA released “Oath sign,” the opening theme of the 2011 action animated series “Fate / Zero” and his first single as a solo artist, as well as his debut EP, “Letters to U”. “. She wrote the lyrics for the seven tracks and composed the opening song, “Believe in Myself”.

“Becoming a singer was something I had dreamed of since I was a child, so having my own mini album to release made me feel like I had achieved the ambition of a lifetime,” says LiSA. “When I was younger I sang to myself, just because I loved doing it. My mentality changed while recording this record, especially with “Believe in yourself”. I realized that I wanted to sing for others. I was hoping people would hear this song and gain strength from it. “

Even though she has been a major player in the Japanese music industry for a decade, she is surprised at how much things have grown in recent years, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Obviously, I appreciate the attention that ‘Gurenge’ and ‘Homura’ have garnered, but what’s even nicer is the fact that my other songs are now being recognized by people all over the world,” he says. it. “It’s a great feeling to know that your songs are heard in different parts of the world. I can’t wait to go on a foreign tour once the situation improves.

“The hardest thing over the past 18 months has been not being able to perform regularly live. The Record Awards were probably the highlight, however. When I received the award, the past 10 years crossed my mind. I was overcome with emotion. It’s been a long journey and now I’m looking forward to the next 10.

LiSA’s “Ladybug” album is now available on streaming services and in stores. For more information visit www.lxixsxa.com/LiSA_10th/album.

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