Interview with Rika Lee

No stranger to both eastern and western popular culture events (such as GameStart and Anime Festival Asia) here in Singapore, Rika has been singing on stage since 2002 and has gone on to even represent Singapore in the Nodojiman The World, a worldwide Japanese singing competition. We chat with the 28 year old on what got her started into singing, her youtube channel and what she is looking forward to in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie.

How did you get started with singing and was that always something you wanted to do?

I started young – was a huge fan of animation from a very young age and something about the music really stuck with me. I began performing at J-culture events since 2002 and others such as last year’s GameStart and haven’t stopped since! It’s been my hobby since then, and occasionally I join competitions too; one of the most recent ones was Nodojiman The World, a worldwide Japanese singing competition where I was one of two representatives of Singapore.

What prompted you to start a YouTube channel for your covers of the various songs from animes, games and movies?

I really love singing but while it’s not a full-time gig for me, I’d still love to share my love for the music with fellow fans – hence the YouTube channel.

You did a cover for the opening for Ghost in the Shell anime series Stand Alone Complex, what made you pick that?

“Inner universe” was one of the first songs I’d ever heard that wasn’t in Japanese, English or Chinese, and I was entranced by ORIGA’s unique singing style as well as the Russian language itself. The icing on the cake was the fact that it was composed by Kanno Yoko, one of my personal top composers in anime. “Inner universe” is still one of my favourite songs to date since I first heard it in 2003.

We hear you are a big fan of the Ghost in the Shell series, what is it that got you started?

My first encounter with Ghost in the Shell was the first movie by Oshii Mamoru, when one of the local channels in Singapore was airing it. Having been starved for new series as I didn’t have access to cable TV at the time, I was really excited that a major local channel was airing anime. I fell in love with the haunting soundtrack composed by Kawai Kenji, as well as the philosophical and existential themes explored in the movie. I went on to watch the other movies that came after it, as well as the series Stand Alone Complex (S.A.C.). S.A.C. was fantastic for me as well due to lots of factors, from the range of themes explored to the music by Kanno Yoko and the top-notch animation by the studio Production I.G..

Rika Lee GameStart 2016

With Ghost in the Shell heading for the big screen, what do you hope to see in it?

I’ve been following its production closely and what really wows me is the special effects work put in by WETA. As a cosplayer myself, watching major studios share the stories behind their craft is immensely enlightening – in a video hosted by Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, they showcased Motoko’s thermo-optic suit, and told us that it was actually made from cast silicone and only has one seam! I’ve also spotted various references and homages to the movies and tv series in the trailer material that’s been released so far, such as Motoko’s iconic jump from the roof in the first movie, and the 2052 Hadaly gynoids from innocence. I’m keen to see how Rupert Sanders weaves the elements from a source that has become such a major cult classic worldwide into a feature-length film, and his approach to the themes that the series covers too.

Thank you Rika for your time.

For more of Rika’s covers on anime, games and movies, do check out her YouTube channel.

© POPCulture Online 2017

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