My second guest is Mayumi Sudō (nickname: Sudopā), who sings backup vocals at my concerts!
We were on the stage together at my second concert and also the school festival concert. She’s short, has a small face, and tiny hands, and is just the cutest thing ever. She’s even great at cooking. The quintessential picture of that girl you just know has to be popular. And in fact, she’s popular among both girls and guys. That’s for sure.
The caricature I drew on the right is a fairly zoomed-in look at her girlish features, but the mental picture I have of Sudopā is actually much more than that. First off, she’s a hard worker! She never gives less than 100%, and her valiant, never-say-die (in a good sense) attitude is one of my favorite things about her.
For concerts it’s crucial to communicate with the backup vocalist. We’re always talking about this and that during our rehearsals. But beyond that, she lends an ear to many of my worries, and like Director Inoue, last time’s guest, is like a reliable big sister.
So then, I wonder exactly how I look in this sister’s eyes.
1) What do you normally call Maaya?
Right when we meet, and in texts, “Maayacchi”.
And about five minutes later, “Maaya”.
I’m rather self-conscious.
2) What was your first impression of Maaya Sakamoto (and when did you meet)?
How many years ago was it? There was a Komadori event at Shibuya Quattro. You were singing “Platinum” and an English song.
Wow, she’s good—what a great voice…I wonder what the English means…she’s cute like [Ryōko?] Hirosue…she could be huge… That’s what I was thinking as I watched.
3) Share one of your “Legends of Maaya Sakamoto”.
Supposedly you don’t like sparklers. (Did I not mention that?)
4) Something about Maaya Sakamoto that bothers you or you want her to stop doing?
I want to find something like that so I can say just once, “You drive me crazy! ^^”
5) Her most charming feature (or your strongest memory of her)?
The way she’s mindful of what’s around her is wonderful.
At concerts she’ll make her own original goods and give them to the staff as presents (clear file folders with her own drawings, collages of everyone’s photos…things made with love and good taste), and when we’re sharing a taxi she’ll buy her own bottle of water and one for me, too.
The casual attitude she has makes me happy.
Right, that, and the first time she asked me to sing backup, I received a very thorough e-mail from her. She wrote about what kind of concept she had for the concert in a very easy-to-understand and passionate way.
I sensed it was a thought-out production, and it occurred to me that it wasn’t an ordinary concert. That’s for sure.
6) If Maaya Sakamoto were a color?
Sky blue, and deep crimson.
7) And if she were a food (or a dish)?
Bone-in salted beef ribs. Not sure why, but she’s some kind of meat dish.
8) If she were an animal?
9) Name some areas where you and Maaya Sakamoto are alike, or completely opposite.
Alike: Our sensitive side (You’re not supposed to say that yourself!)
Opposite: The quickness with which she thinks. That sort of strength to brush things off and press forward. The size of our eyes. Our preferences in men.
10) Your most favorite Maaya Sakamoto song?
I can’t pick just one! Hmm.
First, “DIVE”. During concert rehearsals, I cried when I heard this song. The music and lyrics and Maayacchi’s voice hit me all at once when I wasn’t expecting it. I was blown away. It’s one of my favorite songs.
The lyrics of “Strobe Sky” impress me (of course I love the music, too) with that line, “Those who grant dreams, those who are loved, take in pain just as they take in joy with their entire bodies as they keep striving,” which really stood out to me. It made me inadvertently look back at myself and ask whether I was striving (laugh).
I can’t put it into words well, but being able to write these lyrics at this age tells me Maaya Sakamoto is not to underestimated.
“The Day the Wind Blows”, “Honey bunny”, “Mameshiba”…there’s so many more….
I think that ability to write things like, “From those pitch-black lungs, cough out your love for me,” and add a brilliant line to a brilliant melody just like that, is truly amazing.
11) There’s a lot to her, but if you were to sum up Maaya Sakamoto in one line?
She keeps her back perfectly straight.
She’s the kind of person…who makes you wonder what kind of expression she’s wearing on the other side.
↑I guess that’s more than one line, isn’t it?
12) What big things do you anticipate for Maaya Sakamoto’s future?
I think she’ll grow up to be a fantastic woman.
I can tell she’s taking in all sorts of things left and right these days.
So much that it makes me envy her.
Her singer side, lyricist side, and that normal feminine side…
I bet they’ll all sparkle.
13) Please put whatever you’d like in a message to Maaya Sakamoto.
I may be quite a bit older than you, but please keep that frank attitude you have when we hang out (laugh)
Made her debut in 1994 as part of a duo called Tokyo Q Channel.
After its first four years, the duo ceased to be active.
Mayumi continues to write lyrics, sing backup and commercial vocals, and also plays in concerts with an original band.
Get info on her concerts at her site! (http://www.beborn.net/myna/ [TL note: page is no longer up])
Maaya Sakamoto’s Response
It kind of sounds like the last time—aren’t you being too nice to me?! Just so there’s no misunderstanding, the purpose for starting this series was not because I wanted to be praised! I was practically quivering when I imagined the candid opinions I’d probably hear from everyone, but surprisingly everyone is really kind. I’m so grateful. And humbled.
And sparklers are definitely something I don’t like. I prefer the fireworks that go off with a boom. Now that you mention it, we might have talked about that last summer when I went with you to see fireworks. Hahaha. Also, about that “comparison to a food”, meat again?! It would appear my fondness for meat leaves quite a strong impression. Although I’d take peaches over meat if I had the choice.
Oh, and when I glanced over at you after singing “DIVE” in rehearsals for last year’s concert and happened to see you wiping away tears, I was really shocked! That made me so happy. And when I first asked you if you’d be willing to do a concert with me, I sent a super-long e-mail to you. “This is the kind of concert I want to do, and if it sounds like fun to you I’d be thrilled if you’d join us!”—I went all-out in inviting you. It paid off—you kindly accepted my offer, and ever since I’ve had the privilege of spending a truly delightful time with you.
Our preferences in men certainly differ, don’t they? That’s a relief, since it means the peace will be preserved! Hahaha. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you! Everyone at the concerts, when you see that tiny-yet-big person, that’s Sudopā, so keep your eye on her, OK?
Well then, stay tuned to find out who’ll appear next! I probably can’t keep getting nothing but compliments like this, so maybe the real me will eventually start to show through…?