The stage that she was performing on, was not in her beloved Akihabara, but the bubbly, energetic, anime loving Idol Rio Hiiragi was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at Japan Expo LA. After delivering a high energy performance, it was followed by a meet and greet session that brought the full wota experience to those that attended, an experience foreign fans seldom get!
For those who do not know her, Hiiragi Rio is a Japanese Idol known more commonly by her nickname “RioRio” and her catch phrase is “Takama Riorio!”. Rio made her solo debut in 2011, releasing her first single in 2013, followed by four more singles and a another due to be released on April 6th, 2016. Japan Expo LA was Hiiragi Rio’s first performance in the US and we were fortunate enough to get an interview with her.
For your old fans and new fans alike, could you please introduce yourself to every one?
OK so everyone, please raise both your arms in the air,
Sparkle sparkle sparkle~ A round wide smile,
I’m Rio Hiiragi, also known as Rio-Rio.
Everyone let’s say it all together, Takama~ Rio Rio~!
It’s nice to be here.
Why did you want to become a singer?
I really enjoyed singing since I was a little girl, I really liked anime too, see…well, I was an otaku who liked anime, I was sort of a shut-in, and when I was feeling down, singing made me feel better, it gave me power. I soon started to feel that I would like to make others feel the same way through singing, so that’s why I decided to become a singer.
What animes do you like?
Anime I like…Code Geass, I like that one. Also Pokemon.
What type of music do you like?
I really like anime songs. Artists like Mizuki Nana, LiSA, as for idols I like Momoiro Clover Z, and Dempagumi Inc.
What are your future goals?
My goal is to bring smiles, happiness, and excitement to people around the world. Little by little, I am being able to travel around the world to deliver my songs. I’d like to travel even more and make people smile.
What are your thoughts and feelings towards your LA Fans?
My LA fans? A message to them? I was able to come to LA for the first time, the people in the city are so friendly, and of course the people I met here are kind, I feel so blessed. I really want to come back to LA again in the future, and I would also like to visit other places in the states and perform there too.
If you could be a dessert, what dessert would you like to be and why?
I’d like to be a chocolate cake, because you easily get hooked on it, and you always want to have another slice.
(Translator Notes: Chocolate Cake is her favorite dessert.)
How did you first become involved in the entertainment business?
I was originally looking for a part time job in Akihabara, and I came across this place where the whole concept of the store/office was to raise and create idols, and I was able to join. From there, I slowly started to gain the experience of singing at live concerts.
Is there something new you would like to try, like a new genre?
New, as in something I would like to challenge myself to?
Hmm, let’s see, this year I was given the opportunity to try new things, and I tried DJ-ing. I’d like to get better at that too, and also I want to improve my LP skills.
Besides the states, where have you performed in the past?
Let’s see, I’ve performed live in the US, UK, France, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. I’d like to go to Singapore because…sorry, can I start over?
US, UK, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, I’ve performed there, but I’d also like to go to Singapore because I heard that Nico Nico Douga (video/film) is very popular there, and because I have my own Nico Nico live show everyday.
Do you have any message for your US fans?
The US fans?
America! You guys are great! I love you! I love you all very very much. I will be back to see you again. I hope you come and see me too.
Are you confident with your English skills?
English? Umm, a little! A little. Just a bit.
Can you give them a short message in English then?
A short one?
I will come back to LA and America!
Please look forward to seeing me again.
Ok, now in Japanese please. The final message.
I am performing an everyday broadcast on Nico Nico Broadcast, Twitcasting, SHOWROOM, Afreeca TV and Youtube. Please check it out! Also more places to find information about myself, my twitter and Facebook, and Ameba blog. And yes, the daily broadcast, you can check things out there. Please come and visit them! I’ll be waiting~
What’s your twitter name?
Ah, my twitter ID is @hiiragirio. Search me!
If you wish to learn more about Rio Hiiragi, be sure to check her website and social media websites listed here:
Interview and photography by Serrina Lam and Zach Keo.
Interview edit by Garry Mackenzie.