Style icon Kyary grows up

Style icon Kyary grows up
Japanese singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu shows off her fashion style and performing at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2014 (above).

With her weird, slightly eerie and outlandish fashion sense and her electropop tunes, Japanese singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is Harajuku personified.

She is also often compared to Lady Gaga and Korean star G-Dragon of BigBang. Ironically, she is a fan of Gaga's more conventional peer, Katy Perry, and hopes to collaborate with her one day.

Kyary says: "I admire her. I'd like to give it my best shot if the chance to work with her arises."

One of her worries, however, is that her songs might not translate well into English.

"My music has a lot of conjugated words, such as Ninjaribanban, which is derived from ninja," she says in an interview with Life! yesterday, referring to her fifth single, Ninja Re Bang Bang.

The 21-year-old singer, whose real name is Kiriko Takemura, will be holding a concert tonight at The Star Theatre. Most of the 1,600 tickets released for sale have been snapped up.

It is her second time performing here in two years, this time as part of the Nanda Collection (What Is This Collection) World Tour, which started in Seattle in February and took her to Germany and Australia for the first time.

At her concert tonight, fans here will be able to hear songs from her new album, including Kirakira Killer (Sparkling Killer).

Her new album, which is her third, is titled Pikapika Fantajin (Shiny Fantasy) and slated for release next month. It will have a song, Ring A Bell, sung entirely in English as well.

She says: "The lyrics are very simple and cute, and I hope that it will be able to work the crowd during my overseas shows."

Kyary's international fans have left quite an impression on her, with many of them, Asians and Caucasians alike, in cosplay outfits at her concerts.

They do not just recreate outfits from her music videos, but also those from commercials that are not aired outside Japan.

She adds: "I wonder how they know about those outfits."

The fan who left the deepest impression on her was one who made and wore an original outfit to both her world tour concerts - last year's 100 per centKPP and the current Nanda Collection.

She says: "The shoulder part was in the shape of the globe and the hat, which was adorable, said '100 per cent'."

Kyary herself wants to stay true to her style and keep evolving it for the next 10 years.

Among the songs that she likes and hopes to do more of are Mottai Night Land (Wasteful Night Land). "The song is fantastical, as if we are telling a story directly through it," she says.

She also feels relatively secure about her place in the entertainment industry as she feels she has created a niche for herself.

Kyary, who is famous for her visual image, says: "In a good way, I don't have any direct competition as a solo female artist. In Japan, there are many artists, especially idols and groups. With solo artists, they are mostly like Namie Amuro, famed for their vocal prowess.

"For now, I think that I'm unique."

Now a style icon in Japan, she first gained fame as a fashion blogger and then as a model in fashion magazines. Her debut song, PonPonPon, was released in 2011 and became a viral hit on YouTube. It now has more than 66 million views.

Last year, she was a big winner at the MTV Video Music Awards in Japan, clinching prizes for Best Pop Video and Best Karaoke for her single, Fashion Monster.

With her current world tour, she is evolving into "Super Kyary Pamyu Pamyu". The spunky singer might be growing up, but certainly not out of her wildly colourful style.

On the most grown-up thing she has done so far, she says: "I thought I wouldn't be able to drink wine but I enjoyed it. Being able to do so felt adult-like."

This article was first published on June 21, 2014.
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