Artistes and their popularity come and go like the wind in the ever-changing land of entertainment, with few managing to retain their foothold for long. Ayumi Hamasaki has reigned as the uncontested Empress of J-Pop even in the midst of countless debuts every year.
The 36-year-old will be in town next month for a-nation Singapore – her second performance on our little red dot in her 16-year career. Joining her for the music festival will be fellow Japanese acts m-flo, Sonar Pocket, Wagakki Band and Taiwan’s Aaron Yan.
In an email interview with xinmsn, the newly-hitched entertainer opened up about the pressures she has faced during her career, changes in herself after tying the knot and gave a sneak peek of what to expect for her upcoming performance on October 18.
Ayumi wedded a 26-year-old American medical student in February after ending things with then-husband Austrian actor Manuel Schwarz in 2012. Her previous marriage lasted about a year. Her ex-boyfriend, Uchiyama Maroka, publically blamed the singer for his misfortunes after his career as a backup dancer was negatively affected by news about their relationship.
Her latest solo album, Colours, debuted at number five on Oricon charts and became the first of her studio albums that did not make it to the top three spots in its first of week. Despite criticisms from naysayers that her glory days are over, Ayumi chose instead to focus on her music and has declared that she is happy doing what she loves – music.
a-nation show details
Date: October 18 (Saturday)
Venue: MasterCard Theatres @ Marina Bay Sands
Ticket prices: S$248 (Premium), S$198, S$158, S$138 (excluding booking fee)
Tickets are now available on SISTIC.
Do you feel pressured to live up to your title of “Empress of J-Pop”, both in the past and in the present?
I’m just happy that my songs are out there. I’ve never felt that everything that accompanies my career can really be called "tough." However, I can't pretend it doesn't hurt when I see or hear untruths about me. I'm still human, after all.
Given a chance, which point of time in your career would you like to return to and why? Would you like to just experience it again or live through it while being able to make changes to your past?
I want to continue evolving. This may not be anything ground-shaking, but if I don't hold myself to high standards, I wouldn’t be Ayumi Hamasaki. For me that's what's it all about - the desire to evolve.
What’s the biggest change you feel in yourself after getting married?
I’m still very much based in Japan, but if we’re talking about changes since living in LA, it’s that there is now a clear line between work and play. Before, I was a workaholic. Whenever something was required of me I would respond 24/7! (laugh) There are still times when the two inevitably overlap, but waking up in the morning and sleeping well at night, being able to incorporate some sort of routine into my daily life is definitely a plus in many ways and it motivates me to work.
What can fans expect from you at the a-nation concert in Singapore?
I’m really excited about a-nation singapore! It’s actually my second time performing in Singapore. (My first time was at the MTV Asia Music Awards in 2002). But I’m sure there will be many people who have not seen my performances or heard my songs live. I hope, through the unique entertainment experience that is “a-nation”, they will be able to watch my performance and be inspired.
My live performances are not just about the songs themselves – they are all about how I can translate my music onto the stage. That’s important to me. My performance in Singapore this time is no exception. To achieve that, just like when I am on tours, I've brought my band, performance team and dancers with me. I’ll be showcasing EDM tracks from my latest album amongst others, so I’m really looking forward to having a great time with everyone!