Beginning cello lessons at the age of 3, Kanon became active in music through middle school in string ensemble groups and cello duos. Kanon Wakeshima participated in the baroque cello section of a classical music concert at the age of 15 and has performed in many recitals and joint concerts since.
She began making music at the end of middle school, and first took the stage as a vocalist during the school festival of her first year in high school. In high school she joined the light music club.
While still in high school, Kanon Wakeshima applied to an audition at Sony Music in order to pursue the possibility of expressing herself through music. She was miraculously chosen as a finalist and signed to DefSTAR Records.
Kanon Wakeshima debuted May 28, 2008 with the single "still doll."
Blood Type: A
Start in Music: recommended to study cello at the age of 3 by her parents
First Song: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Most Memorable Song: Haydon's Cello Concerto
Favorite Cellist: Jacqueline du Pre
Favorite Musicians: Emilie Simon, Lily Chou-Chou, Mayumi Kojima
Favorite Composers: Claude Debussy, Erik Satie
Favorite Artist: Alfons Mucha
Favorite Color: All forms of red
Favorite Authors: Mayumi Nagano, Hiroko Taniyama
Kanon Wakeshima Official Site
Kanon Wakeshima Interview
First off, can you tell me what made you first want to become a vocalist?
Wakeshima: I've practiced classical cello since I was little and have always wanted to become a musician.Up until junior high school I neglected other genres aside from classical, but when I entered junior high I began listening to Jpop. I'd only listened to classical music up to this point, so I was shocked to find this other type of music. I started making music because I wanted to see what kind of songs I'd end up making.
So then you just started making music?
Which artist surprised you the most?
Wakeshima: I listened to a number of artists so there wasn't one particular act that stood out. I just listened to whatever my friends would send me.
I see. Now, you play the cello while you sing. There aren't many artists that do that. When did you decide on this style?
Wakeshima: Also around junior high. I needed accompaniment for my demo tape. I studied keyboard once, but I didn't stick with it so I wouldn't have been able to play to my satisfaction (Laughs). Instead I went with a cello accompaniment since I'd been playing cello for years.I kept recording and layering, recording and layering, and I learned to sing and play at the same time when I was coming up with the harmonies.
I've been wondering how it is you perform. Do you just sit down while you're playing cello and start to sing?
Wakeshima: I sit right now, but I'd like to learn to play standing up in the future.
That's great. I'd like to see you play standing up.
Still, the cello is such a big instrument. The red cello on the jacket of your single is very cute.
Wakeshima: Thank you. The cover is quite beautiful, isn't it?
I'd like to see you play that red cello.
Wakeshima: That is actually the cello I play.
Well then, someday I'd like to see you play live.
Wakeshima: OK (Laughs).
Your highly anticipated debut single was released on May 28, 2008. Now that it's out, how do you feel about it?
Wakeshima: I don't really feel like it's out yet (Laughs). When I worked on this single--and really when I work on anything-- I come across so many different people. I was very happy to be a part of the creation team.
I believe this was your first time recording your voice. Was it difficult?
Wakeshima: I really love singing so it wasn't very difficult at all.
You have a wonderful voice.
Wakeshima: Thank you.
still doll--This time your new single was produced by Mana-sama from Moi dix Mois. How was it to work beside Mana-sama?
Wakeshima: I'm actually an extremely shy person. I was particularly shy in elementary and junior high though I finally learned to talk at the end (Laughs). I've always been a little slower to develop than other kids. At first I wasn't able to convey what I was thinking and I couldn't get past how bad I was at speaking. But working with Mana-sama, he came to understand those parts and what I meant to say. Eventually I was able to tell him exactly what I wanted.
So after a while you two clicked
I feel like the sound really matches your image.
Wakeshima: Thank you.
It feels mystical--somewhere between mysticism and fantasy.
Wakeshima: Yes. When I first heard the single I felt this fantastic, strange aura.
You wrote the lyrics for both tracks on the single. What were you feeling when you wrote the lyrics for each of these songs?
Wakeshima: The first is a really beautiful song, so from the start I tried to put down lyrics that would bring out its best parts. I put the song on repeat while I tried to figure out what the song was trying to say. Eventually I found myself writing from the point of view of a little girl, and "still doll" is about her talking to her favorite doll.
I see. Now the B-side is a song titled "Kuroi Torikago." What were you imagining when you wrote that?
Wakeshima: "Kuroi Torikago" is a rather fast song. At first I felt this sensation like the song was fighting against something else. And while it fights, it also tries to protect something. With such a willful song, I felt I should make the lyrics about protection.
After hearing these two tracks I have to say, your voice changes with each song.
Wakeshima: As with my lyrics, I try to find the method of singing that best matches the song.
Were you able to come up with the music and lyrics for both tracks easily?
Wakeshima: Nope, I struggled quite a bit (Laughs). I couldn't decide what to write for the final two lines of "Kuroi Torikago" and went right up to the deadline trying to figure out what to do. Eventually, I just asked for a few minutes alone, jumped into the studio, and over a few minutes came up with the final lyrics. I thought about the lyrics all the way to the deadline, but when I finally handed them over to the staff they thought they were fine.
Wow. Personally I would have felt a lot of pressure if I only had a few minutes (Laughs). You really fought it out.
Wakeshima: Yes, I did (Laughs).
I can't believe you were able to pull that off.
Wakeshima: I wasn't starting from scratch. I felt like I almost had something so I asked for a little more time.
So the words were already on their way out?
Wakeshima: Yes, I was only able to pull it off because the words were right on the tip of my tongue (Laughs).
But still, good job (Laughs). So with your new single, what did you try to emphasize the most in your songs?
Wakeshima: The image of the songs. I feel that all of Mana-sama's works have a very defined, strong, and cohesive image. I wanted to use that image myself, by making lyrics and cello music that match and recreate it. I wanted to be able to say to my listeners that this is who I am.
Your music, lyrics, and image all match together well. Sometimes I'll hear something and think "Hmmm," but everything works together as a very conceptual whole. You might not have planned it yourself, but there is a very distinctive color to your work.
Wakeshima: Mana-sama's the sort of person that tries to make the best possible work from start to finish. I got the strong impression that he's always saying, "the song might sound better if we did this." In that respect, Mana-sama's very concerned with creating a perfect, complete work.
Your lyrics and songs are probably reactions to the world Mana-sama has pursued. That's why you've ended up with such a cohesive work.
Wakeshima: (Blushes) Thank you.
Now, what sort of people would you like to have listen to "still doll."
Wakeshima: This is my first single so I'd rather not say, "only these people should listen to it"--I want everyone to hear it. This isn't just from me; there are a number of people involved with this work. Since so many people made it, I'd like even more people to hear it.
The single also appears as the theme song to anime "Vampire Knight." I bet you'll have anime fans listening too.
Wakeshima: Yes, I guess so. I'd be pleased to have anime fans listening!
The single matches the anime well.
Wakeshima: Yes! I thought the anime had a very wonderful atmosphere to it.
I thought so, too. Well then, now I was hoping I could ask you some questions about yourself. Objectively speaking, how would you describe yourself?
Wakeshima: Well! Everyone tells me I'm a real free spirit.
Wakeshima: Apparently I'm a really free person (Laughs).
What do you, yourself, think?
Wakeshima: I'm not sure . . . what am I like (Laughs)? In both good and bad ways, I'd say I'm the type of person who thinks the best day to do something is the day you decide to do it. I like to do what I can at that moment.
So once you think "now!" you jump to action?
Wakeshima: People tell me to stop (Laughs), but I keep thinking, "I want to do it, so I'll do it!" I want to do whatever people tell me not to do (Laughs).
I'm surprised you're that sort of person (Laughs). Today you've got quite a cute ensemble on. Are you particular about fashion?
Wakeshima: I love clothes, but I always end up buying one-pieces (Laughs). If I buy separates, I find it difficult to match them. (Laughs) I like to just throw on a one-piece.
Well then, is there anything you're into right now? Anything aside from music you collect?
Wakeshima: It's not something I collect, but I do like drawing. I draw and often draw at my home on my days off.
You've posted a lot of pictures to your blog.
Wakeshima: Yes. I'm not very good at writing and they said I could post pictures, so that's what I do.
And they aren't just doodles either. You've uploaded some very good pieces.
Wakeshima: They won't let me post the doodles (Laughs). I'm always scribbling things down, but I don't think I should show them to other people (Laughs).
So you upload the disciplined works.
Wakeshima: Yes, at least for now (Laughs). But occasionally I'll slip a doodle onto my talent agency's cell phone site (Laughs).
Those are rare works (Laughs)! So now we fans have got to watch the cell phone site (Laughs). Ms. Wakeshima's works are quite wonderful, so you guys have got to check them out. Well then, can you tell me what a day in the life of Kanon Wakeshima would be like?
Wakeshima: First, you'd ideally wake up early.
Uh, I can't do that.
Wakeshima: There's a huge difference between the days I can and can't get up early. When I get up early, I get up around 5 in the morning. But when I can't, I wake up at 3 in the afternoon (Laughs).I feel like I really lose out on those days. It's quite a shock and I'm usually blue the rest of the day. The early bird really does get the worm. I can get so much more done when I wake up early, so I try to get up early as often as possible (Laughs).
(Laughs) So your first priority is to get up early (Laughs).
Wakeshima: Yes, that's where it all starts (Laughs).
I see (Laughs). Now then, if you could recommend a work from anyone but yourself, what would you recommend?
Wakeshima: I love Mayumi Kojima. I'm always listening to her.
So you recommend an album by Mayumi Kojima?
Well then, can you tell me one of your dreams?
Wakeshima: I'd like to continue with music and try other things. I want to express myself in as many outlets as possible such as through my illustrations. I want to be able to move as many as people as I can with my work.
I look forward to it.
Wakeshima: Thank you.
What sort of works do you plan to make in the future?
Wakeshima: What indeed. I've only just released my debut single, so I want to try out a variety of types of songs. I don't want to set any limits--if I can make it I want to make it.
You keep saying you want to show us as many new sides as possible, and I'm really looking forward to it.
Wakeshima: I'll do my best!
Finally, I'd like to get a message from you for all of your fans.
Wakeshima: I released my debut single on May 28, 2008. The new song features a very strange atmosphere thanks to Mana-sama's "lost in a castle" style of music as well as the the lyrics and cello piece I made to go along with it. Please give my new single a listen.Also, I update my website every week so I'd be pleased if you could stop by and look at my illustrations. Right now I'm in the middle of working on my next release, so once that's out be sure to check that out as well.
Wakeshima: Thank you.
(Text by Takahashi, Translated by Szkoropad)
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