Interview Exclusive

Interview with Keina Suda

03/04/2024 2024-04-03 14:00:00 JaME Author: Christine

Interview with Keina Suda

Singer-songwriter Keina Suda (aka VOCALOID producer Balloon), discusses his “Tsukimichi -Moonlight Fantasy- Season 2" theme song "Utopia", his music career, and what he hopes to achieve next.

© Keina Suda. All rights reserved.
A popular singer-songwriter, Keina Suda started his career as a VOCALOID producer called Balloon on the Nico Nico Douga video platform in 2013. One of his best known songs as BalloonCharles, has racked up over 100 million views on YouTube to date. It has been covered by countless artists over the years, and is also a popular song at karaoke.

In October 2017, he kicked off a new chapter of his musical career as Keina Suda, switching over to singing the songs he writes with his own voice. His first full-length major album, Billow, was released in February 2021.

This January, he released the digital single Utopia, which serves as the the opening theme for the anime series “Tsukimichi -Moonlight Fantasy- Season 2". Shortly after Utopia's release, JaME had the chance to ask him some questions about the single, his career, artists he admires and what he hopes to achieve this year.

For anyone who may be reading about you for the first time, how would you describe the music you make?

Keina Suda: I make music that is both catchy and nostalgic.

What inspired you to become a musician?

Keina Suda: My strong interest in music started when I was a child because a friend introduced it to me.

What attracted you to VOCALOID initially?

Keina Suda: VOCALOID voices, of course, are culturally appealing, where music is on an even playing field.

Why did you decide to transition to making music with your own voice in 2017?

Keina Suda: I thought that there was a message that could be conveyed only by singing in my own voice.

Are there any particular artists you look up to as a vocalist or producer?

Keina Suda: Avicii. When I heard Waiting For Love back then, I remember feeling like I was almost moved to tears even though it was very pop and catchy. I’d like to make a song like that someday.

How do you feel about seeing so many covers of your song Charles on the internet over the years?

Keina Suda: I’m very pleased. Even after several years since its release, it’s still one of the biggest connections between myself and my listeners.

You performed Charles and Darling on THE FIRST TAKE recently – what was that experience like?

Keina Suda: I was very nervous at that time. It was just in-between a live performance and a recording... I hope you could feel the tension and passion because it was a one-shot recording.

Your latest single Utopia is the opening theme for "Tsukimichi -Moonlight Fantasy- Season 2". What do you want to convey to listeners with this track?

Keina Suda: Even if someone arrives at the utopia that they envision, once they get used to the environment, they’ll seek a new utopia, and eventually, it’ll turn into a dystopia. This is the message I wanted to convey.

Have you had a chance to watch the anime yourself? If so, what were your impressions of the series?

Keina Suda: Of course, I watch it every week. My impression is that it’s not only about battles, but also about life in a different world, and the changes in the hearts and minds that go along with it.

What inspired the title of your upcoming hall tour, Artless?

Keina Suda: This word carries the message of "no masks or artifices." I hope to step out of my shell as an "artist" and give a live performance that exposes my many values as a human being.

If you could collaborate with any artist or producer in the world, who would you choose and why?

Keina Suda: I would choose Charlie Puth. I’d like to feel his ability to transform mundane ideas from everyday life into music.

Do you have any interest in performing overseas? If so, is there anywhere in particular you dream of travelling to?

Keina Suda: I’d like to perform in the New York, Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei. I’m interested to see what kind of reaction I can get to my music beyond the language barrier.

What else can fans look forward to from Keina Suda in 2024?

Keina Suda: I want to make music that is more expansive, that transcends age and language barriers. I would also be happy to collaborate with other musicians.

Please leave a message for your fans around the world.

Keina Suda: Thank you very much for reading! I released a new song April on March 29th. It’s a song about encounters and partings. I hope you will listen to it a lot. Someday, I’ll visit your country for a live performance.

JaME would like to thank Keina Suda for making time for this interview.

You can listen to April below, and links to download and stream the song on various music platforms are available here.

 Download or stream "Utopia"  Download or stream "April"

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Suda Keina © Keina Suda. All rights reserved.
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