If you want a clear indication of where pop music is headed, Rina Sawayama is your answer. It was prolific Italian-Japanese stylist Nicola Formichetti (the genius behind some of Lady Gaga’s very first iconic looks) who first noted the potential of Japan-born, London-raised Sawayama. ‘I love you so much! I’m gonna turn you into Asia’s biggest pop star,’ he sent her in a video via Snapchat a few years back.
After modelling for the likes of Alexander Wang and Versus Versace, Rina has been honing her sound and image to pure perfection, quietly self-releasing music since 2013. Now at the age of 28, this past summer has proven to be particularly noteworthy for the rising star. Having already made a video in June, (styled by Formichetti himself) for her track "Ordinary Superstar" (think noughties Kylie-meets-Janet Jackson with notes of Christina Milian), she recently released the shimmering frothy pop single, "Cherry", which saw an incredible 230,000 YouTube views in its first month of release.
Rina’s all-encompassing vibe is a breath of fresh air in the pop world. A half-retro, half-millennial fusion of sheer joy and experimentation, clad in chokers and vintage Adidas crooning lyrics about the rapid pace of internet life visualised in outlandish shows. It’s an arresting formula that’s simply impossible to ignore. Intrigued? So are we.
Cherry is available on Spotify now
Click below to watch Layla Kardan and Dana Dajani's original music paying tribute to female empowerment.