Masako is a pianist from Japan who lives in the US now and has released a number of albums, the recent one being “Hidden Flowers.” Her music is subtle and brings a unique perspective owing to her background of Asian origin and settling in the Western part of the world, and her collaborations with musicians who bring a wide repertoire of art and genres to the table.
We talked to Masako through an e-interview about her journey as a musician and moving from Japan to the US. You can check her music and get to know more about her from her website: https://www.masako-music.com
Q1. Share with us your earliest memory of wanting to pursue music as a career, and how was the family support regarding this decision?
My father played the violin and he wanted me to start taking piano lessons at the age of four. This was the start. At that time, I was actually not fond of staying in front of the piano even for half an hour, so I was not a good student. My father, at that time, was a strong believer in classical music and wanted me to play only classical music. So I studied jazz and another kind of music without letting him find out about it.
I soon began playing in bands and worked as a keyboardist in various clubs and venues in and around Tokyo. I also worked for Yamaha Music Foundation for years.
Q2. When did you decide to move to the US and how confident were you that you will make it in terms of a musician in a new country?
I moved to the US because of my husband’s business. If my husband had declined the offer from his company asking him if he could work in their new office in the World Trade Center, New York City, I wouldn’t have been here now.
Although I totally don’t care where I live, I’ve been enjoying living in the US.
Q3. How did you pick the piano as your favorite instrument?
Before being a good pianist, I’d rather focus to be a good artist. As far as I can express myself, it doesn’t have to be the piano. I hope to learn to play the guitar someday! Since I’m a trail hiker, I can bring my guitar anywhere with my hiking equipment. The piano is too heavy to carry around! I once considered carrying a portable piano, like Peanuts Gang’s Schroders. But I suspect it doesn’t have 88 keys and will not fit the style of my compositions.
Q4. You have released multiple albums now–what is the most intimate thought or feeling that you want to convey to your listeners?
My determination is to provide good music. I think each musician has a different concept of what he thinks good music is, though. I want to create something that leaves beautiful feelings in the listeners.
Sometimes they will feel being uplifted, will sympathize, will feel purified, and will feel nostalgic. These are amazing effects what music can make on people.
I’ve been interested in almost all kinds of music, from classical, jazz, New Age to R&B. I love Bollywood Dance–what energy! Indonesian Gamelan always fascinates me.
In each genre, I can find good tunes and performances which speak to me and leave something good in me. Music is like food. If we don’t even try to widen ourselves and don’t listen to what we aren’t used to, we’ll never come to know different tastes of music.
Q5. Share your experience with collaboration with other musicians, and you being a composer.
I’m so grateful that I came to know those great musicians through Imaginary Road Studios. Each musician has his/her own unique gift of music. They are not only very gifted but also truly creative! It’s awesome that Will Ackerman amazingly chose these real geniuses.
Q6. What challenges did you experience with the outbreak of the Corona Pandemic and what is the way forward?
It is sad that many musicians, including myself, are forced to cut down our activities drastically, canceling our concerts, etc. Having concerts streamed is certainly convenient, but it lacks that special feeling you can only get at a live venue. I guess we all need to adjust because the world keeps changing so quickly.
Q7. Any message for our readers?
Please, stay safe in this difficult time! Keep your hopes alive! Enjoy fully what you have now!
Find a good music designed and waiting just for you! Thank you so much!