This Super-Talented Singer is Making Major Moves. Better Keep Up.
We get a lot of submissions from musicians, and when we heard some of the songs from Japanese native Mio Soul, we were more than pleasantly surprised, mainly because she has a really great voice that we couldn’t believe. Mio has been living in New Yor City for 3 years and is slowly gaining more ground. She’s worked with Vibe Magazine, performed at BB King’s and even won a gospel competition in Harlem. Did we mention that Mio is a former cheerleader and biologist? With New York’s Japan Society, Mio helped a team of musicians raise money to donate toward the Japan Tsunami/Earthquake relief efforts. With a combination of exotic looks, a beautiful voice, and brains, Mio Soul is definitely one to watch out for.
We got a chance to talk to Mio about her career, where she’s headed. Enjoy!
So Mio, your real name is Mio Fujii. What made you choose Mio Soul as your stage name?
I love old school classic soul music, so this is my dedication to that. Also Mio means “my” in Spanish, so that means ” my soul. ” Whatever style I sing, I put my soul in it, that’s the spirit.
What part of Japan are you from? Or were you born here?
I was born in Tokyo but I spent time in Ohio in the United States with my family up until Kindergarten.
Did the Tsunami/Earthquake in Japan affect you a lot? What, if anything did you do to help out there?
That was such a shocking event. We we got severely damaged physically, geographically and economically. It was blessing that my family and friends are all safe but it was heartbreaking to know there are so many people that lost their family and loved ones. The radiation is a serious problem now me and my friends from NYC organized a charity event last summer and donated the profit to Japan.
Is Japanese your first language? Because your voice is amazing! Did you, or do you have a voice coach?
Yes it is, (laughs) thank you. I had a few vocal coaches before and now I’m looking for one.
How long have you been in the United States? Has it been difficult for you to adjust to things here at all?
It’s been almost 4 years. I love this NYC vibe. All my experiences are memorable and great. I didnt really have a problem communicating with people even though I don’t have any of my family and friends here. I wasn’t really lonely. It was difficult to make friends but it’s easy to meet many people, you get many opportunities here. I guess I was adjusting myself to this culture unconsciously.
Have people been pretty receptive of you as an artist since you’ve been here?
They were pretty nice to me. Some people gave me some compliments after my live performances and I always appreciate that. It made me feel good inside and I was happy that my song or my performance reached to this person. Some people might not have felt me at all, some like to put me in a box, and some just dont care. But overall, many talented people are coming here from all over the world so you can do whatever you want to do and they accept you.
What is your music background?
My parents like to listen to pretty much everything from classic opera to jazz and soul music. My mother is a pianist so I grew up playing classical music. When I was younger I was into musical and theater things. That’s how I started singing.
From what we heard, your album is primarily an R&B album. What drew you that genre instead of going for J-pop?
Because this is the genre of music that I like. I didn’t really feel J-pop back then because I saw that industry was controlling the artists and created the crazy idol type of image. That was not acceptable to me and I didn’t see myself fitting in. Instead of me searching for my own style living in Japan, I decided to move to New York and do the same thing but in a different field.
Your video “I Wish” was described as a tribute to the [Twilight] “Breaking Dawn” movie. So we have to ask, do you have a thing for vampires?
Yes. Me and label mate MeccaGodZilla came up with the idea because both of us like Vampires and grew up watching Dracula and horror movies as well.
Being in New York, do you feel that you have a lot of competition out there?
Yes of course ! Everybody is somebody in NYC. So I’m very excited about who I’m gonna bump into every day. All the R&B singers or pop singers may be my competition just like all of the Japanese artists here might be my competition. It’s always good to go out and watch other artists perform or listen to other artists’ music. But at the end of the day, everybody’s style of art is different and nobody is my competition.
What makes you stand out from other female artists doing the same things as you?
The way I look, the way I sing, and I try to sing in both languages more and more!
Are you seeing anyone? Do we stand a chance with you?
Well for men and women there’s always a chance. (laughs)
Who produced your album?
A few producers that I know (MeccaGodZilla, Jaysage, Trackmkh) and myself.
Do you write your own songs? What are your songs about?
Yes. I like to talk about relationships, dreams and encouragement.
Who are your musical influences?
I really like old school singers like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Tina turner and some 90s RnB. I like Aaliyah and I like neo soul like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
Who are your fans?
Mostly all the people that love R&B & hip-hop, and all the people who like to get a little bit crazy sometimes will probably like my music.
What live performance experience have you had? Any industry showcases?
I’ve opened for other artist before, that is always fun. I also did show at The Singer’s Room event sponsored by Vibe Magazine and it was held at the legendary B.B. King’s. I also enjoyed doing the live acoustic set at my pre-EP release party in NYC, that was great and was just me singing with my friend who is a guitarist.
How do you rate your live performance ability?
5 stars! (laughs)
How do you sell your music?
I have my EP’s CD available for purchase online and at shows. I also have the music up on iTunes and Amazon.
Have you affiliated with a performance rights organization?
I have started the process, I’ll be with BMI officially very soon.
Have you had any print, broadcast media exposure, or reviews?
Not yet, but all press is good press right? I have been on Brooklyn Bodega Radio by way of The Company Man. The show was fun and they have an awesome view of the Brooklyn Bridge there. The gospel group I am in, Pure Worship won the Cool JC Competition and we got some notoriety in the “Love Express” gospel news paper. I have more that I posted on my Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.163192203763763.40701.122390467843937&type=3
How would you define the word “success”?
Success is to achieve true happiness and satisfaction of your spirit by accomplishing your goals.
What are your immediate music career goals, in the next 1 to 3 years?
My goal is to release more music and try to do live performances. I want to really consider touring and I would love to get some feature artists on my upcoming albums.
How can potential fans hear more of your music?
They can visit my homepage http://www.IamMioSoul.com and also Manafest Vision Media’s homepage and YouTube at http://www.manafestvision.com and http://www.youtube.com/user/manafestvision/videos
We’re pretty sure that you want to hear some of Mio Soul’s music, right? Of course you do. Well, here is her single “I Wish”.