All photos taken by Faith Orcino.

I had the chance to sit down with one of the musical Guests of Honor, haru before his performance on Day One of Anime California 2019. The singer visited several anime events including those in European countries.

Q: How did you get your start in the anime industry?
haru (via translator): He did his major debut with his former band universe and there was talk about universe doing an anime-type song. Actually Tite Kubo who wrote “Bleach” the manga really liked their song “echoes”. So he ended up choosing “echoes” to use for an ending for “Bleach“. That’s how he got into the anime song world.

Q: Were you always wanting to be a musician since you were young?
H: As a kid, he played a lot of baseball. He was super duper into baseball. During the games, his voice was always very loud and people noticed that. Because of that, other students would ask him to join bands, “Your voice is so loud. Can you join our band?” Once he joined a band, his dream of a professional baseball player switched almost immediately to wanting to be a musician and that was when he was 15.

Q: Do you still have interest in baseball even though you are a professional musician?
H: Yeah, he still loves baseball.

Q: I read your bio online and saw how you were in this commercial music competition. Of course, not much news of it was made in the States so could you tell me more about it?
H: Basically they (universe) just have been an indie group for a long time but they thought they wanted to try to play bigger stages and get a little bigger. So they auditioned for that contest and they got in. They were halfway thinking there was no way they were going to win it but they tried and ended up getting the championship. That is what led them to their major debut.

Q: When making music, are there certain artists or genres that you like to look into and take in as inspiration?
H: When he was growing up, he listened to a lot of soul music actually so he really has a love for soul music and of course rock and roll as well. But he doesn’t pay attention to any genre in particular. He sort of listens to music and pulls bits and pieces of what he likes from them.
Also anime music has a lot of different genres as well. It’s not really limited to on specific genre so that’s also kinda changing out to be anything.

Q: Are there any specific artists you think of at the moment?
H: There’s a lot of artists obviously he gets inspiration from but one of his biggest ones is Aretha Franklin which is kind of unexpected but it’s true.

Q: Is there something about her music that draws you to it?
H: So ever since he was a child, he’s always had kind of a higher voice, higher registered voice. It was something he had a huge complex about it and kids teased him and bullied him about it. But when he heard Aretha Franklin’s music, she also had a very high voice but it was powerful. So the face that you can still have a high voice but invoke all this emotion and power was really encouraging to him. “If she can do it, I can do it.” So he got a lot of inspiration from that. Basically that’s why he likes her so much.

Q: By any chance, are there any anime series that you’re watching? Do you have any favorite series?
H: So if he had to list more recent anime, it’s “Natsume Yujin-cho” but as like for overall, he likes “Evangelion and “Fullmetal Alchemist”. He of course likes “Dragon Ball” and “One Piece” like everyone else.

Q: Is there an anime that you dreamed of making a theme song for?
H: “Waah!” So many! There’s a lot but probably “Attack on Titan” or anime called “Kingdom”. He’s not sure if it’s popular here or not but “Kingdom” is one he also really likes right now.

Q: Are there any projects that are in the works or any upcoming tours and appearances?
H: He’s involved in several projects like GOOD THRU DATE as you mentioned and A.I.R PROJECT. Some other ones he can’t really talk about yet. He’d really like to focus on keep coming to Europe and America but he would like to extend his performances to places places like Asia and everywhere and spread Japanese culture through anime and music. He’s thinking about maybe getting involved behind the scenes as well like writing music for anime or doing stuff of music involvement.

Message to the Fans:
H: They’ve definitely helped a lot in supporting him so far and he’s grateful for that. He wants to continue to bring them more and more exciting shows. So please check out his instagram, twitter and social media and follow him so that next time he comes nearby, they can get together and experience a live show together and have a really fun time.

haru speaking at the opening ceremony.

We here at Anime Ushi thank the Anime California staff for helping us coordinate the interview, Chaotic Harmony Imports for translating and of course haru for taking the time to talk with us. For more information on Anime California, please visit their website.

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