Shoko Nakagawa was in town over the weekend of 3 and 4 Aug for her debut solo concert in Singapore. She’s recently released her “Shoko Best” greatest hits album and took time off to meet her fans at Bugis+ on Friday 3 Aug.
Elliott Danker speaks to this multi-talented artiste from Japan on her thoughts of her 10 years in the industry and advise on how make your blog as successful as hers.
POPCulture Online: Where do you get ideas for your costumes from?
Shoko Nakagawa: For my concerts I draw some illustrations then tell my stylist what kind of colours I want. Like for anime songs, I want an atmosphere that everyone can enjoy so during concerts I want to wear costumes that I usually can’t where so it’s usually explosive and very unique. I’ve actually prepared a lot of costumes with neon colours for my Asian tour.
POPCulture Online: How do you think the scene has changed after 10 years in the business?
Shoko Nakagawa: I’m actually quite astonished that it’s my 1oth year already. Back then I had no dreams or goals and I kept crying a lot because I was a very negative person. These days it’s completely different. In fact I’m very happy to be able to achieve my goal of having an Asian Tour especially in places that I really love like Hong Kong and the rest of Asia.
I think my biggest accomplishment was to be able to sing Anime songs, which actually was a source of encouragement when I was younger. I’ve had tough times but I’m still very happy to be able to have concerts and sing Anime songs. I’d say back then when I was very dark and negative, the internet and blogs were a source of encouragement and motivation and it changed my life a lot which is why I still continue that.
POPCulture Online: You have one of the most successful blogs around. Could you share your secrets with aspiring bloggers on how they make their blogs possibly as successful as yours?
Shoko Nakagawa: It’s all thanks to my blog that people got to know me. I won’t say it’s been a success but it’s played a big part in my success because the blog led to many opportunities like going on TV.
I think my secret would be because back then I had no friends, so I had many creative and imaginative thoughts which I kept inside me. In the end I decided that I would pour all my true thoughts onto my blog. My love for anime, manga, cosplay and everything else would be written on my blog. I think what’s important was that I made sure I didn’t write lies or negative thoughts.
Initially I used to write 30 to 50 entries per day. These days it’s a bit lesser but I still try to write about 20 entries a day because I want some form of “proof of my living” plus I don’t want to get sick of it so I post pictures of my drawings or cosplays to connect with my readers.
POPCulture Online: You’ve recently released your “Shoko Best” album and they contain many hits throughout your career. If you could pick your favourite song, which would it be and why?
Shoko Nakagawa: I would say the first song in my “Shoko Best” album, Sorairo Days (from the anime Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) because that’s the song that changed my life. It was due to that song that I could continue for so long in the industry. I think that the entertainment industry is so glamorous and shocking and I never thought I could make it so far. I would say that it’s the anime songs that gave me so much energy and encouragement so I was very encouraged to sing an anime song myself therefore it was this song Sorairo Days that helped me fulfill my dream.
Everytime I sing this song at concerts it will have very different meanings for me. What’s really touching is sometimes before the encore of a concert, my fans would sing this song together while waiting for me to come out.
I also included a mandarin version of this song in my “Shoko Best” album. I think with anime songs, they have this magical power that brings smiles to to peoples’ faces and I really want to continue for a very long time.
POPCulture Online: Do you have any special message for your fans in Singapore?
Shoko Nakagawa: I’m finally going to have my own solo concert here in Singapore and I’m very excited for it. I remember back in 2009 I got invited to sing here in Singapore as part of an anime event and I was actually very nervous about it. But the crowd was so hyped up and supportive that I was quite encouraged by it. It’s wonderful how the audience is so united because of their love for anime and that makes me really want to bring smiles to all their faces at my concert.
So I’ll definitely be singing songs that everyone knows like household anime songs and dance tunes. I want to cosplay as well so I hope that everyone will enjoy it. I’ve received a lot of advise from a very important senior in the industry – Ichirou Mizuki and I want to make it an unforgettable event for everybody.
Special thanks to Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel for providing us the interview location
Shoko Best is now available in HMV