[SPECIAL INTERVIEW] Yamashita Ayumu

Hello! First post in 2017!
Happy New Year!

Before I close my 2016, I really wanted to post something unusual for my blog, and the journalist soul inside me still firing up ready to take the whole of me over, whispered to me, why don’t you interview someone you adore? A Japanese! YouTuber! Someone who always do great song covers.

And that Japanese awesome YouTuber is called Yamashita Ayumu. If you follow some J-song covers channels on YouTube, I bet you’re familiar with his name. He is a super nice guy who said yes to this weird Indonesian girl who suddenly sent him a mail asking for an interview.

No? Not familiar?
Then, it’s my role to introduce him to you!

Before we jump to the interview, short introduction!
Yamashita Ayumu (but let’s call him Ayumu) is a Japanese singer-songwriter who was born in Tottori prefecture in Japan, and mainly share his activities on music in social networks.

And maybe you should listen to one of his covers to know him a little bit before we started.

Here you go!

And now, let’s’ get started!

About YAMASHITA AYUMU

Q: Since when have you liked to sing?
A: I was born from a Christian family, that’s why since I was a kid, I love to sing in the church.

Q: What is the reason you became a musician?
A: When I studied (exchange) in Australia for a year in my high school days, I was so deep in music and started to write lyric and songs.

Q: Your favorite singer or band from Japan and International?
A: John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Eric Clapton, Zedd, Avicii, Sada Masashi.

Q: Artist who inspired you the most?
A: Christian band from Australia called Hillsong.

Q: When you’re not singing, what is your daily routine?
A: Watching beautiful sceneries, reading and appreciating documentaries.

About COVER SONGS

Q: What was the reason you started to upload your cover songs on YouTube?
A: I thought if there’s another efficient way to communicate with people (through music) other than doing live shows in live houses; and I got the idea to use social media instead.

Q: How do you choose the songs you cover?
A: World’s hit songs or songs I think will be good for mash-ups.

Q: You did lots of collaboration with other artists. How you can manage to adjust your singing type or voice character to theirs?
A: When I do collaboration, I’m looking for someone who fits my voice and personality, and give them a call. Also, when recording, I also tell those who collaborate with me, “I want you to sing like this.”

Q: How long it takes for you to do recording, shooting MV, until the video is done?
A: If it’s fast, 3 days; if slow, it can reach until 3 months.

Q: Difficulties on translating English lyrics to Japanese?
A: When I translate to Japanese, it is difficult to fit the tune/melody as the same with the original English lyric. That’s why it’s taking a while to finish.

Q: I read lots of praising comments on your cover videos, but have you ever got any critic comments? How do you deal with that?
A: Although I got comment about some points to improve or critics, I just ignore them because those kind of comments are simply trying to hurt me.

I know him for the first time from his collaboration with Isogai Manato in a combi name “The Room Covers” of Chippokena Ai no Uta. That time, I was really obsessed with Sato Takeru’s movie, Kanojo wa Uso wo Aishisugiteru, and that song – the OST, really really tear me up. I cried the first time I heard the song, and I can remember the lyric only couple days after.

About AKA TONBO MV (which is showing sunsets from Japan’s all 47 prefectures)

Aka Tonbo is one of my favorite Ayumu’s songs EVER, because, beside his warm smooth voice, the MV also show us how beauty the world–Japan’s sunset is. The first time I watched the video I feel like crying, and I think I watched it everyday for like a month after he uploaded it on his YouTube channel.

He said on the description box that he spent the whole 3 months of his summer break to shoot the MV!

Q: Why it must be sunsets?
A: Because on the beginning of the song, there’s “Red dragonfly on the glowing sunset” lyric, so I want to capture the beautiful sunset of Japan through the video.

Q: Did you travel to all the prefectures solely for shooting the MV? Or you also visited friends and family?
A: I travel only for the shooting. But in the middle, I also meet some friends and family.

Q: How long do you spend at each prefecture?
A: There’s even a moment I spent a week in one prefecture, because I couldn’t shoot at all due to the rain. But basically it was one night per prefecture!

Q: Is there any moment when you need to wait until good weather, or took lots of shoot to get the exactly same pose when you shooting the MV?
A: The orange of sunset only shine beautifully for about 10 minutes, so there was a time when we didn’t make it when the sun was already sinking; or in contrary, because this shoot is greatly depending on the sky, we need to wait for about 2 hours (until the sunset).

Q: How long does it take you to do editing?
A: Around a week.

About ORIGINAL SONGS

Beside covering songs, Ayumu also write some originals. Before he even famous, he already joined the Senkou Riot project in Summer 2010 with his “8183.05km”.

Q: What do you feel when your “8183.05km” being included in CD project called “Senkou Riot”?
A: It was on my high school days; it feels weird to have my song being included in a CD. But that time I was so thankful and happy.

Q:  What was the idea behind McD’s “I’m Lovin’ it” and “Inaka no Uta”?
A: I got the idea of McDonald Drive Thru song from a foreigner who also sang that kind of song, and I copied it. About the Inaka song, I want to create a song which people can understand (sympathize) to.

I like “I’m Lovin’ it” so so so damn much until I can singing it the whole song without even peeking the lyric! The song was so fun and if I were the one who is in charge in that box of drive thru, I might ask him to singing it once again.

And “Inaka no Uta” is definitely a jam!

Q: Where do you usually write your lyrics? Is there any places you regularly visit?
A: Usually, I write lyrics in my room.

Q: For Komeda Campaign “Komeda no Koro” and GATSBY Student CM Contest songs, are they songs you made voluntarily or a job entrusted to you?
A: I joined GATSBY Student CM Contest myself (took an entry). Komeda no Koro is a job I got.

I also find his entry for GATSBY is catchy; and Komeda no Koro CM sounds like a pro.

And if you think he is not great enough to catch your attention, how about if I say, he wrote lyrics for whiteeeen, a vocal group of four high school girls, created by super famous vocal group – GReeeeN.

whiteeeen’s Japanese ver of You Are the Apple of My Eye’s OST – Those Years, titled Ano Goro, had its lyric written by Ayumu. He is also in charge of their graduation-themed song, Sotsugyou Song.


Ayumu’s self cover of Sotsugyou Song:

Q: What did you feel when you were doing lyric for whiteeeen’s Sotsugyou Song and in charge of translating Ano Goro’s lyric to Japanese?
A: I love whiteeeen singing voice, that’s why I was really happy when I could take participating in their songs!

About FUTURE

Q: What kind of activities you want to do next? Are you planning to do major debut and release a CD?
A: Right now I want to focus on countryside theme and do my best there. Major debut and CD release is not my goal, but if I can see it in my vision (of future), I think there’s a possibility to go there.

Q: Recently, you also uploaded VLOG on your channel.  What was the  reason?
A: There are many aspects of goodness from nature and countryside. But, since I had nothing but music, I want to add one more thing (as a tool to express those good things), and that’s why I started VLOG!

God, I’d love to live in his town if I can also bought a car with only 100,000 yen!

Q: Do you have plans to visit Indonesia for sightseeing? What about doing a live here?
A: Currently I have no plan to do live, but I’d love to go there for sightseeing because I heard there are lots of historical buildings like temples there!

Q: Short message to fans from Indonesia and the world.
A: Thank you for always watching. Now I’m back to Tottori, I’m planning to do activities in countryside atmosphere in the future. Because you’re watching (me for all this time), I–this Yamashita Ayumu can be right here, please do not leave and keep watching! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!


Now, it’s your turn to know him more!
You can check him out on:

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