The girls of Little Glee Monster brought harmony rather than discord to a floored audience at this years J-Pop Summit. Check out our photo gallery below!
To describe the group as just your ordinary pop idol act would be a travesty as the girls of Little Glee Monster brought their honed vocals and years of training to sunny San Francisco. Prior to their debut last October, they performed at huge summer festivals and with many youth idol groups. Little Glee Monster, the result of an open audition held jointly by Watanabe Entertainment Co. Ltd. and Sony Music Records, made a name for themselves performing live on some of Japan’s hottest music talent shows.
The group gained notoriety covering songs from notable bands and artists including AI, Che’nelle, BUMP OF CHICKEN, Southern All Stars, Ikimonogakari, and MISIA along with covering chart-topping Disney hits including Frozen’s Let It Go and High School Musical’s What Time Is It?. The Japanese audience, entranced by the groups’ angelic voices, helped Little Glee Monster sell out their debut concert at the Shibuya Duo in just a matter of days. The group went on to release their debut self-titled mini-album on March 16th, 2014 with a major label debut single titled Houkago High Five shortly thereafter that October. Their most recent double-A sided single Gao Gao All Star / Jinsei wa Ichido Kiri, released on July 15th, is pulling dual duty with Jinsei ha Ichidokiriserving as backing track in Yoyogi Seminar’s latest commercial campaigns and Gao Gao All-Starbeing featured as the ending theme song to TV Tokyo’s Pokemon XY animated cartoon series.
It’s difficult to believe that the girls of Little Glee Monster; Serina Hasegawa, Asahi Kobayashi, Karen Koga, Manaka Fukumoto, Maju Arai, and Mayu Yoshida, whose average age is only 16 are still only High School students. We sat down with Little Glee Monster at this years J-Pop Summit.
For your old fans and new, please introduce yourselves and tell us one unique thing about yourselves that people may not know.
Maju: My name is Maju. I’m 17 and I am in my second year of high school. I really like lips.
Karen: My name is Karen. I’m 17 and I am in my second year of high school. I love to dance.
Serina: My name is Serina. I’m 17 and I am in my second year of high school.
Asahi: My name is Asahi and I love french fries.
Manaka: My name is Manaka and I love the Beatles.
Mayu: My name is Mayu and I like leopard prints.
What inspired you to get into singing?
Manaka: We all like music and we were probably influenced by parents. As for me, when I watch live concerts, it makes me want to sing too. It’s different for each member but what we all have in common is that we’ve been singing and dreaming of becoming a singer ever since we were little.
Mayu: In my case, my parents like Koda Kumi so when I went to her concert when I was in first grade of elementary with my parents, it made me want to become a singer.
Your renditions of Disney’s “Let It Go” and miwa’s “Hikari E” stand out as a couple of your most popular videos on YouTube, are there songs you would like to cover in the near future?
Serina: There are a lot of songs that we’d like to cover…
Maju: Genre-wise, we haven’t covered any cool, rock-like songs yet so something like Lady Marmalade is something that we’d want to do. We want to bring in those cool-sounding songs.
So you’ve just released your 4th single last month, do you have anything coming up in the pipeline?
Mayu: The 4th CD is…
Serina: On September 23rd, “Suki da”
Mayu: Yeah, will be released on September 23rd.
Now that you’ve spent a little bit of time in San Francisco, what do you miss the most about Japan?
Everyone: Rice (laughs).
While on your tour and between shows, have you ever played pranks on each other?
Everyone: All the time.
What kind of pranks do you play on each other?
Serina: Kind of like talking really loudly.
Mayu: For example, we might just yell out of nowhere.
Serina & Manaka: Right, like suddenly shouting in a really loud voice.
Serina: Like animals in a zoo.
If you weren’t in Little Glee Monsters, what do you think you would be doing instead?
Serina & Maju: Probably a normal girl in high school.
Serina: Yeah I’d probably be a normal girl.
You’re still attending high school right now?
Serina: We are attending school.
So you would just be in High School and wouldn’t be singing?
Serina: Yeah, a normal girl who would be focusing on her studies.
We were able to see you perform earlier today and you’ll be performing again tomorrow, do you have a parting message for your fans who came today and to your fans who will come tomorrow?
Asahi: I think there are still many people here in San Francisco who don’t know us so I will work hard leaving my mark here.
Serina: I think that the music can break the language barrier so I think it would be great if we and the people of San Francisco are able to understand each other through our music.
Manaka: I’d like to make more Gaora (the term for Little Glee Monster fans) here in San Francisco so I will do my best!
Maju: We sing a lot of Western songs in our concerts abroad so we are going to sing a lot of familiar songs and we want the audience to sing with us. It would be great if can make an exciting performance. I want to make it a fun concert.
Karen: During our autograph event today, there were many people who spoke to us in Japanese and they were all such nice people. It would be great if we could get many more people to know about us.
Mayu: I think many of the people who came to see us were people who came to see us for the first time but they watched us perform with a different warmth than what I feel in Japan. Like, even though they were seeing for the first time, I felt that they were all very passionate and I hope that there are many other Gaora like that increase within San Francisco.
Little Glee Monster is currently on a 13-show concert tour, Little Glee Monster LIVE TOUR 2015, with stops all around Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Shizuoka, Chiba, and Miyagi.
Little Glee Monster Official Website
Little Glee Monster Official YouTube Page
Little Glee Monster Official Twitter Account
Little Glee Monster Official Facebook Page
Japan Foundation Official Website
Photography by David Chang.
This was a joint production with Nihongogo.com