His front as “Samurai Guitarist” is a global phenomenon and his skill on the instrument is unmistakably amazing. By birth, he is known as “Takamasa Ishihara” but to the world, “Miyavi”.
Over the years, he has conquered Japan and even international waters with his one and only “samurai weapon”. But like all musicians, getting to where he is today wasn’t just a walk in the park. He too, began with being a struggling guitarist who was just trying to make ends meet before making his mark as an accomplished musician in the Japanese music scene.
Let’s take a look now at Miyavi’s journey to super-stardom – or should we say, super-rockstar-dom.
Hi Miyavi! Welcome to Kuala Lumpur. Tell us a little bit more on the visual kei scene and how it is being accepted by your fans outside of Japan.
“I always want to make something new. Like, new experiments. That’s the only reason why I make music. I’m a musician, I’m not a model, I’m not an actor – although I want to be! The most important thing for me is for people to feel my music. So in terms of my music being accepted by my fans – I’m really happy to be able to perform for them live, like in Malaysia. Right now. If there’s nobody waiting for me here, I wouldn’t be here.”
Who are you musical influences these days? Are you currently listening to anyone?
“When I first touched a guitar, I had no role model. I was willing to be a professional soccer player because that’s what I loved. But I had an injury and after that I had nothing to do. Then I found something that I could get in to – playing the guitar. My start as a musician is a little different from others. Usually people get influenced by artistes but it was different for me. I was just a boy living in the countryside until I found something that I could get crazy with. Then I got influenced by bass players and I also have high respect for blues guitarists such as SoundHouse, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan..”
How has the devastation of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake changed your outlook in life? Has it become a source of inspiration for your music?
“It changed everything. Not only as a person, musician, a dad, or simply a creature on this Earth. When Mother Earth gets upset, there’s nothing we can do. Since the horrible earthquake and tsunami, it got me thinking a lot more about what I can do. My purpose. In fact, I was supposed to travel right after it happened and I was really hesitant about it, you know, leaving my family..my wife and kids behind. But it was something I had to do. For music, for life.”
We see you have a lot of body art on you. Do you ever count your tattoos? How many do you currently have?
“I never counted! I’ll just keep adding on to them until I die. I have a lot, especially on my upper body. I’ve been doing this (body art) for 10 years. Each piece has a message, of course. On my back, I’ve got a big one of my name in Korean.”
What can we expect from you on Wednesday night?
“I hope that people can enjoy my show, my music. It’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be alright! We’re gonna have fun.”