“The most ridiculous thing I’ve read about myself,” pop star Rina Sawayama said in a TikTok that went viral two weeks ago. “That I’m an industry plant. Sis, I’m 31. Whoever tried to plant me did not do a great job.”
It took nearly a decade of publishing music before Sawayama’s career took off. When her debut album, Sawayama, came out, during the early months of the pandemic in April 2020, promotion was stuck exclusively online. “I wasn’t doing any shows. I wasn’t doing anything in person. My screentime was probably insane,” she told BuzzFeed News
Still, Sawayama, a mind-bending Y2K time capsule that focused largely on social identity (pansexualness, Asianness, womanness), blew up regardless. The Guardian named it one of the 50 best albums of 2020, and it peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Top 100 Dance chart. Now she’s back with a sophomore effort, Hold the Girl, and even as her star rises in the mainstream pop world, her standard for success remains grounded:
“I guess it is just to be able to look at someone at my show and be like, This is the truest version of me,” she said. “And this is the truest version of you. And we’re in the room together. And we’re having an amazing time. And that’s really like, all I can hope for.”
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