As March steadily approaches, Jin Akanishi fans worldwide eagerly await what lays ahead. March 6th marks the debut of Jin’s US album, “Japonicana”. Three days later (Mar 9th), Jin will kick-start the JAPONICANA Tour at the Nokia Club in Los Angeles, California. Despite Jin’s jam-packed schedule, he took time to have an exclusive one-on-one interview with JpopAsia.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Jin Akanishi is a Japanese super-star who’s latest project involves breaking into the US music scene and winning the hearts of music lovers one song at a time. But before Akanishi became a solo act, he rose to fame through his group activities with KAT-TUN. Many fans were devastated about “Bakanishi” leaving, but still supported his dreams to fly alone.
So what were Akanishi’s reasons for the sudden departure? ＂We have different views on music＂, he says. Pursuing a solo career allows him the freedom to express himself through music in ways he couldn’t had he stayed with KAT-TUN. Akanishi’s known for his abilities as a lyricist. Now, not only does he write the lyrics to his songs, he also produces them.
When asked how his music in the United States differs from Japan, he says “the collabs.. in Japan I don’t do collabs, here [in the US] I do”. His debut single “Test Drive” featuring Jason Derulo is only the beginning. Other collaborators include LA DJ Static Revenger, Paris’ Uffie, rapper Prophet, and the Stereotypes.
As fun as he said it was working with Jason Derulo and everyone else, Jin already has his eyes set on future collaborators. Aside from Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj, who else does he have in mind?
JpopAsia: The Hip-Hop heavy weights?
Jin: I grew up listening to them, it’d be an honor.
“California Girl” Katy Perry also made the list. “I’d be happy to work with anyone” he tells us. The sky’s the limit.
JpopAsia: What was your reaction when “Test Drive” hit #1 on the iTunes dance chart the first day it was released?
Jin: Shocked. So unexpected. I was so shocked, I took a picture with my phone.
He paused to recall that epic moment, and you could see on his face how surreal it must have been for him when he heard the news. Does this mean we can expect more dance hits? Or can we look forward to a seeing some variety? Jin explained to us that he isn’t limiting himself to just dance and that he’s willing to venture out into other genres, “R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, Rap, ANYTHING!”
JpopAsia: What was going through you head later that day at your Beverly Center meet-and-greet?
Jin: I was happy. There was so many people from different places. It’s always great to see the fans.
What does Mr. Jin Akanishi like do in his free time while in LA you ask? He drives! Jin admits that living in LA requires you to own a car, and that he's never tried the public transportation here in the US. Looking a tad guilty, I reassured him that the public transportation options here pales in comparison to that of Japan's and there appeared a smile.
Our one-on-one interview with Jin was conducted entirely in English. We had to ask how he's able to understand and speak English so well in such a short time. Apart from studying abroad in the States for six months before leaving KAT-TUN, he tells us that he looked to his English speaking friends for help and how their recommendations helped get him where he is today. While his English skills are still developing, Jin plans on learning Spanish next.
Special thanks to Jin Akanishi and his team for setting aside time to meet with us for this interview and for the exclusive photo of Jin. THANK YOU!