August 16, 2023 | Interview by ATTANGO | Team RJHH
The R&B singer originally from Fukuoka, 11, is one of those young artists who is energizing the music scene in Japan. Since her debut, she has captivated listeners with her enchanting voice and unique style. Her singles such as “I Love You Before I Loved You“, “We’ve Met Before“, and “Happy New Year” has made a lasting impression on audiences. However, her latest hit, “Water + Earth“, has truly caused a sensation, attracting a wide audience since the music video’s release on March 22, 2023. But 11’s achievements don’t stop there. In June 2023, she reached a new milestone in her career by collaborating with the renowned rapper A.O. Their joint contributions have added an entirely new dimension to the album “Run The Streets“. 11’s vocal melodies and A.O.’s lyrics have intertwined remarkably, creating a sound that transcends musical boundaries.
In this interview, we will delve into the musical universe of 11. We will discuss her artistic journey, her influences, and the creation of her hits. Furthermore, we will learn more about her collaboration with A.O. and her perspective on blending musical genres.
Hello, 11, thank you for accepting the first interview for Real Japanese Hip Hop Media. Can you introduce yourself to those who may not know you yet?
Very happy to connect with you! I’m 11. I’m a 2000-born Artist, in love with every style of expression of self. I am sending my music and energy out to the world from Fukuoka, Japan. As for my background, I was born in Japan and went to an international school here, in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and South Korea. My mindset is always that I am not one thing, but a remix of everything, everyone, and everywhere I have experienced. I believe that applies to everybody, which makes us so beautiful. I create my music with my clairsentience. I’m a psychic, giving me unique hardships and challenges such as seeing, hearing, and feeling deeply.
However, That is what allows me to give my Music its power, vulnerability, and honesty. 😊 I create music that is true to me.
Why did you choose the name “11” as your artist name? Does it hold a special meaning for you?
In Numerology, every Soul Born on Earth has six numbers. The Life path number, Destiny number, Soul number, Personality number, Maturity number, and Birthday number. I am born with all my numbers as 11, for I am a Pure 11 Energy! “11” is the number of synchronicities, spirituality, consciousness/subconsciousness, miracles, etc. 11, Eleven, 十一, Onze. However, you say it in your language. My name reminds me of what I came here to do and Why I came here to do it. It is Numbers because I aim to connect internationally with no barriers. Thank you for this beautiful question.
“I create music that is true to me”
How did you discover your passion for R&B music and singing?
I have always known my love for music since I was a little girl. My mother used to listen to Boyz II Men in the car, and I fell in love with the soft voices that harmonized, that felt like a hug. The more I experience the music world, I realize that To be able to touch the hearts of others with a voice is something I cannot compare to anything else. That’s when I feel my soul smiling. I truly respect the power the throat holds, the gate that connects your inner world to the outside world. I fall in love with singing the more I feel it reach and touch the hearts of others.
Your singles such as “Water + Earth“, “I Love You Before I Loved You“, “We’ve Met Before“, “Happy New Year“, and “sOber Retrograde” have gained attention abroad. What is the inspiration behind these titles?
Every song that I write is based on very real raw experiences. Whenever I feel intensely, see, or hear things, I must somehow express it out of my system. That’s when I can create the best pieces. All these tracks are written inspired by Love, relationships, and Life.
“Water + Earth”
I’m a human embodiment of water, aka. emotion, and the person I fell in love with was an Earth embodiment. Water holds Strong Emotions, unable to stabilize on its own unless there is Earth. And Earth holds Strong Stability but is afraid of feeling emotions and vulnerability. This song expresses the harmony of the two elements and also portrays the “codependent toxic Love” phase that everyone goes through when they are young. The one that you lose yourself in yet teaches you the biggest lessons. Water + Earth =🌱
“I LOVED YOU BEFORE I LOVED YOU”
This title is inspired by the feeling you get when you meet one of your soulmates. You already know them in the first 0.0001second of the moment you two meet. You’ve felt their energy before. You’re in love with everything, and they feel the same. Hence, I loved you, WAY before I “loved” you.
“We’ve Met Before / 私達はあったことが逢ったことがあるんだよ”
The process of this track is one of my favorites. It was the most subconsciously created track out of all my crafts. This song is inspired by the feeling of having a connection with someone so Deeply, yet not being able to really connect, for having been put in a circumstance that is out of your control. However, the connection comes from subconsciously knowing they met in a past life. Therefore it is written from a very patient perspective of Waiting till the next lifetime because what’s meant to be, will always be. A Patient, Wise, Dystopian love song.
“Happy New Year”
A letter to myself, created December 30th, 2022, “A couple more dreams” till the “New Years”. Words hold their power, and I wanted to make a powerful Anthem for manifesting the strength to Let go of things that no longer serve me. I visualized awakenings and courage to start a New year. Letting go, feeling Lighter, and Flying High. I created this so that whoever listens to it, can Feel and receive this Energy.
This was the very first song I wrote. The “sOber” part of the title is inspired by how Young relationships used to be anything but Sobriety. Whether that’s Liquor, Drugs, or the craziness that comes with Love. This track originally was called “sOber”, and “retrograde” means to come back. The track was re-done and improved on its anniversary, and was added that name afterward.
I took the time to listen to your eponymous debut EP “11” released in January. You showcase your vocal performances well in the Soul style. Please tell us more about the inspiration behind this EP and how you approached the recording process.
This EP is entirely dedicated to the Energy of Pisces and the number 33. And Also my Betta Fish, Alpha. Pisces and 33s are truly the most complex souls I’ve felt. They are everything and anything at the same time. There is something about their energy that I could not ignore. This Energy of unconditional love it holds for everyone and everywhere truly inspired me to create something complex, raw, and comfortably vulnerable. One day, I felt a very strong urge to create an EP, so I set up a studio in my room and decided to let 11 do her thing. 2 months later, my Ep was done, and I was beyond proud of it. Clearly, I love the soulful vibe and it loves me.
You collaborate frequently with the rapper A.O., which has resulted in several tracks like “The Worlds In My Hands“, “Run the Streets“, and “Suddenly” which is featured on his debut full-length album. How did this collaboration start, and how do you work together to create this kind of music?
One day, he sent me an Instagram message asking if I was interested in featuring him in his songs. I listened to the tracks he had sent me, and there was no way I was saying no. The beats went crazy, the melody, the lyrics. After I sent him back the DEMOs, he soon came down to where I’m from, and we had studio & Filming sessions within the span of 3 days. He has a different energy than I do, partially because we are from two very different prefectures. He has a very up-tempo vibe and I could be slower. So, we brought something very fresh to each other, which allowed something very creative to happen.
Your musical style uniquely blends R&B and Soul. Which artists or influences have contributed to shaping your distinctive sound?
My Mother and my grandmother are my favorite Artists. The way they live, move, exist. They have always been truly creative, and always encouraged me to be so as well. My mother is, well, she does everything. But my favorite Art of hers is her humor, the way she loves animals, her paintings, and her singing. My grandmother is a lover. She is the wisest, MOST caring, and selfless. I guess everybody’s Grandmothers are. 🙂 She is the reason that I am gentle with care.
Also, a very important person that I would like to mention is Ronee. He is an Artist as well in Fukuoka, with who I have had the blessing to make many songs like “Water+Earth”, “Stay the night”, “Slow”, and “We’ve Met Before”. I always used to hang around at his house, where he has a studio. One day he let me try it out, and that’s when 11 World started. 2021. He is also very magical, and when we make music together, an amazing piece is Promised.
“My only goal is to keep making music that is true to myself”
Can you name 3 of your favorite R&B artists (international or Japanese)?
I respect, Kohh, Ronee, PartyNextDoor
Live performances are an essential aspect for many artists. Do you have any touring or concert plans to allow your fans to see you on stage shortly?
I will perform at Sunset live on the stage of ADD Creative, with A.O. on the 3rd of September. At the moment, I am working on a new project so until that is finished, I will be putting my entire creative focus on that. I update my social media with content from time to time, you can find my music there too.
What are your long-term goals? Are there specific collaborations or achievements you would like to attain?
My only goal is to keep making music that is true to myself. I always want to be in love with my sound. I will always keep the same energy, and whoever/whatever gets pulled into my way, I’m beyond excited about that. But in my mind, I have already collaborated with Chris Brown and Kohh.
As a Japanese artist, how do you perceive the impact of your music beyond the borders of your home country? Do you have plans to expand your international audience?
I make bilingual music, as well as English. Therefore I believe it should come naturally to international audiences. On the other hand, it is hard for my music to be perceived the way I would like it to be out here in Japan because of language reasons. However, I believe anyone who listens to my songs will feel me.😊
To conclude, please share your upcoming projects with us in the coming months and leave a message for your European fans following you.
To the one reading this, Thank you for listening to my music. Thank you for watching me walk across the stage, Thank you for the support and love. None of it goes unnoticed. Everybody is an Artist of something. You are beautiful, God-sent. Sending you my love in 5D.