Mirei recently impressed listeners with her cover of by the 90s hit “No Ordinary Love” by Sade. Inspired to recreate the song during an extraordinary and very unique time in the world, Mirei decided to mark her comeback and return to releasing music following her album Take Me Away which she shared with listeners earlier this year. A portion of the sales from “No Ordinary Love” will be donated to the NAACP, a non-profit organization. Mirei appreciates and stands by the organization’s actions regarding Asian Americans responding to COVID-19 and their #WeAreDoneDying campaign. In an exclusive interview with United By Pop, Mirei opens up about her music, inspirations and more.
What can you tell us about your new single “No Ordinary Love” and the process behind recreating it?
It all started because of the COVID-19 outbreak. I had to stay home in Tokyo for a while. My tour got canceled in Japan, and I was yearning for an intimate connection with my fans. All I could do was sing from home and then I started going live on my Instagram, renaming it MIREITV. Around this same time, I was digging into the classic 90s hits and “No Ordinary Love” by Sade just hit different with everything happening around the world. The song is about a one-way relationship, but to me, the meaning changed into humans just trying to love each other while being kept apart by this novel virus. I talked to my friend Zak (who also co-produced and co-wrote my album earlier this year) about the idea, and then this version was born. It was made entirely online across oceans since Zak is in the US. The track was also a hit on my livestreams.
You were able to film the music video in Tokyo! What was that experience like and are you happy to have had that opportunity prior to the global pandemic getting in the way of lots of production plans? Unless you filmed this during? Can you tell us about the places you went to shoot?
I shot this music video two days after Tokyo re-opened from lockdown and I was able to shoot it in the evening at the center of Shibuya Junction. It was around 9pm, and if it was before the pandemic, there’s no way I could have filmed there because there would have been a swarm of people constantly. I also went to Toyosu, which is a Bay Area in Tokyo. The great view, winds and waves, and sounds from the ocean empowered me. It really brought great energy to the set. This video shoot was the very first thing I did outside of my apartment for many months. It felt so good to be back together with my team and create together, especially going to my favorite parts of the city of Tokyo.
What was the response like from listeners after releasing your album ‘Take Me Away’ earlier this year?
I have so many new fans who love Asian culture, which I was very happy and thankful for. My music is a mixture of cool, modern electronic music with an R&B vibe, but the message is deep and I’m talking about the important issues in Japan. I got so many DMs like “if you listen to this lyric carefully, it brings you to a totally different place from what you would have expected” and that’s what I love to hear! That’s exactly what I want listeners to feel. I want the music to compel you, but I want you to shine a light on so many things that are happening in Japan over the cool beats.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the music industry?
When I was little, I grew up listening to songs produced by Timbaland a lot. He was part of all the hits and I’d love to work with him in the future someday! I also really respect Charli XCX’s vibe and personality. I want to represent the kawaii culture with her if I am able to.
Speaking of other artists, who or what has inspired your current sound?
Growing up, I had idols like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. All of those [are] pop but unique and catchy-sounding artists with a message [that] inspired me a lot. I was also really into the rhythm game called “Dance Dance Revolution” when I was three. Maybe that’s why I really love techno and electronic music!
What can fans look forward to in the near or distant future?
First, I’m doing a weekly livestream on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Twitch now. It’s being updated and I’m testing many new things [out] that you might enjoy, so please come and see me there! Next, when the pandemic is through, I really want to go see my fans directly. First, I want to go to my second hometown NYC and then go tour all [of] the countries where my fans are around the world. I also look forward to meeting YOU, so when it’ll be possible, come and see me!