- Album list
- Singer Intro
Rina Sawayama is a Japanese-English singer-songwriter and model. She was born in Japan, and is based in London. Her debut mini-album, Rina, was released in 2017.
Rina Sawayama was born on August 1990 in Niigata, Japan. She lived there until the age of five when her family decided to move out to London, England, where she was raised and currently lives. While studying politics, psychology and sociology at the University of Cambridge, she decided to pursue music and modeling. During her time at university, she was in a hip hop group called Lazy Lion with Theo Ellis from the indie rock band Wolf Alice. She graduated from the university with a degree in politics.
Sawayama began her solo career in 2013, with the single 'Sleeping in Waking'. In June 2015, she released a music video, directed by Arvida Byström, to her track 'Tunnel Vision'.
In 2016, she released the single 'Where U Are', with an accompanying music video co-directed by Alessandra Kurr. The release was described as 'nostalgic greatness... ultra-sweet and shimmering pop', and '90s R&B pop perfection. Very lounge. A little Solange. A smidge of peak-era Mariah'. The single explored human interaction with digital media, with Sawayama explaining: 'Online you can present your best edited self, and bypass lots of the messiness and awkwardness that comes with real human interactions. Your overheating phone substitutes human warmth. Weirdest of all—you’re together, but also very alone.' Later that year, she was included in Noisey' '25 Women Under 25 Who Are Absolutely Killing It Right Now' list.
In January 2017, Sawayama was included in The Fader's '13 Artists You Need To Know About In 2017' list. In March 2017, her single 'Cyber Stockholm Syndrome' premiered on The Fader. Sawayma described the genesis of the themes of the track as follows: 'I see embracing a positive relationship with our online selves as an act of self-preservation and defiance. In this age, the digital world can offer vital support networks, voices of solidarity, refuge, escape. Marginalized people, or socially anxious people like myself can, in fact, be freed. That’s what ‘Cyber Stockholm Syndrome’ is about: pessimism, optimism, anxiety, and freedom.' Erica Russell of V magazine called Sawayama a 'digital-age pop pioneer' and praised the single as an 'intoxicating [slice] of sleek, glossy dream-R&B and digi-pop [in which]...the artist confronts her digital addiction over a sparkling soundscape of midtempo Destiny's Child-esque beats, tick-tocks and twinkling synths.'
Sawayama signed to Anti Agency after the release of her debut single 'Sleeping in Waking', and has subsequently featured in numerous publications including Pop, i-D, Dazed, Vice, Idol, Hunger, Schon and Nylon Japan magazine as well as shot campaigns for Monki, Lazy Oaf, Illustrated People, Juju Footwear, Ally Capellino and Nasty Gal. She is also signed to Elite Model Management. In 2017, she starred in Jourdan Dunn's Missguided campaign.
In 2016, Sawayama collaborated with artist John Yuyi on a visual series critiquing Asian, and Japanese, beauty standards. Subsequently, she was profiled in Vogue Magazine. In the interview, Sawayama described the genesis of the idea and collaboration: 'For a lot of women in Japan, these are the expectations people put on them, from anime culture, kawaii culture... that can really put women at a disadvantage, objectifying and infantilizing them.'
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