Hello! Thank you for preordering my first album "Do me a favor".
It's a product that marks the debut of my activities as a solo artist and I really put a lot of work in it. As I wanted to show you in advance how "Suzuki Airi" will be, I made this DVD. Please watch it until the end! Even though it's just me talking (laughs)
(Note: This DVD has been shot during the rehearsals for Airi's first live at COTTON CLUB.)
In what state of mind were you when your solo activities were decided?
Well it was decided that °C-ute would disband, and that Momoko would withdraw from entertainment, That's when I fully understood that everything I was doing since 15 years was going to end all at once. Just before °C-ute's disband, each member had an individual meeting to decide what we would do from now on, and to be honest at this time ; well, of course I love singing but, these 15 years as °C-ute and Buono! were really fruitful to me, I had a very happy time as an Idol, and as these were only fun times, I thought I should properly end these activities and step on another ground. I thought I didn't want to sing if I couldn't end these years with these two groups, the experience they've taught me, if I couldn't come back as a brand new leveled-up me ; and that I should spread my wings elsewhere.
But I've discussed a lot with people and I've received a lot of the fans' opinions during the handshake events, and from comments on my blog. There were a lot of people who've expressed their wish for me to continue to sing, and as I've loved this "sing & dance" way of doing - and as I really wanted to do this, I thought that if I was able to make my debut as a solo artist and become way bigger, then I wanted to do it. It took a lot of time to reach that point. But now I'm really glad I've said "I want to debut as a solo artist". Thinking of it now, I think that if I picked another road I would've losen my inner self. Like, I understood that I was the happiest singing and dancing on stage, and now I'm really happy to be able to do it, even if I haven't officially made my debut yet.
Did your feelings change on something compared to your previous activities?
Well, when I was in a group, of course we would be able to discuss our opinion but, there's this "group" way of thinking and when somebody expresses a feeling we're like "well this time let's go her way" and such. When I was asked my opinion I wasn't able to say "I want to do it that way!", there were only few times where I was able to properly express it individually. But now, I'm able to say what I want to do and then make it real and create it. I have to think of everything by myself, it doesn't matter if I fail or win, it's all depending on me. I won't say that I'm determined but... Well I'm doing everything with that kind of feeling. That the only thing where I thought "Ah, this environment is different".
How is going to be "Airi Suzuki" from now on?
As an Idol, you tend to really care about peoples' or fans' opinions. And one thing I was the most told about was like "In the group, you participate in everything, but in reality there's nothing in particular Airi is in charge of, right?". And I knew it myself, but when you're a part of a group, you cannot put every single efforts you can do into every single thing because every member has to participate a bit, and that's what a group is! And so when I started my activities I received a lot of comments saying "Aren't you worried about it?" (t/n doing every single thing by yourself) but as I'm a a pretty positive person I thought "If I'm not somebody who jumps in with both feets, then let's make it a part of my identity as an artist!". So I try to challenge a lot of things, and touch everything, and I think that's what the artist Airi Suzuki is. I thought it may be a bit difficult to understand for others because there aren't a lot of people like this but it's more like me!
Also, I really thought I wouldn't want to do activities refuting my Idol days. I wanted to use this experience to claim "This everything is Airi Suzuki!".
Yeah, I don't want to waste my previous experiences, and changing the things I'm lacking of as positive points is really important to me. So I'm doing these activities while keeping these thoughts in my head.
About the live performance of "Mikansei Girl" which started your solo activities...
It was a surprise performance and I couldn't say "I'm going to perform there!" to all the fans who were waiting for me since so long ; also it was a stage where a lot of Hello! Project fans were present. So I thought I should pick a song which would be liked by both parties, and that's why I picked that outfit too ; they've created an outfit which ressemble the ones I was wearing during my Idol days. I thought that suddenly coming on stage dancing a club-like song would be really weird, and as I was really unperfect (t/n Mikansei), I wanted to show that unperfect me, but at the same time convey the feeling of "I'm counting on your support from now on!".
I was so stressed at the time of the performance, during the rehearsal all of my juniors were watching in the audience seats and I thought "Don't look at me! It's so embarassing!". But on the other end, all of the Berikyuu members appearing as a guest were in the same dressing room, thus I was reassured about it. It reassured me to know I was not alone.
About the reactions of the fans after your performance?
I was so stressed... I thought "Please, everyone...". But just after the second chorus started I could hear some fanchants and I thought "You're all so quick!". I again realized how great Hello! Project fans were, like, I really respect them a lot. Also Saki NAKAJIMA just cried next to me and it really felt like "Same generation!!" and moved me a lot. That was a moment where we realized that even thought we chose different paths after the disbanding, everyone is doing their best. That's when I really started to get determined, thinking "Okay, I HAVE TO do my best as an artist!".
What kind of album is "Do me a favor"?
This is album which I want, after people have listened to every single song on it, to make them understand "Ah, that shows what Airi wants to do from now on!". There are a lot of type of songs and you may feel lost about "What is the real Airi-chan?", but that's exactly what I want you to feel.
There are still many things that I cannot express in this album and that's what I want to challenge from now on. I wanted to make an album which properly shows how I was as an Idol and how I'm going to be from now on. I wouldn't have been happy with it if it made people only feel "Okay so Airi became an artist huh...", or "She cannot get further than an Idol". That's why there are band-like songs and dance-like songs. That's also why I chose to differentiate the setlist of my two lives at COTTON CLUB and Zepp Tokyo. By watching these two you can get a complete Airi Suzuki! If I could make fans understand that, that'd be great. If I could make them like at least one song, that'd be great too.
Are there been things really different from your recordings until now?
About the dance songs... The style of the songs ressemble the songs of the artists I was longing for since a long time, but I've never really had the opportunity to sing such kind of songs. So while doing my recordings of the song I was also taking vocal training lessons to think about the best way to sing those songs... Since the beginning, before any real recordings I had practice recordings sessions and such. It was a period where instead of thinking "I cannot do that, I'm really bad!", I thought "I cannot do it properly yet and that's what's fun!". Even now, that's what I think, I'm really glad there are still many things I cannot do. That's fun!
How about the band-like songs?
Well for "Kimi no sukina hito", before the recording started, I thought "Let's do the demo tape by myself!". Usually it's made by another person than the singer/group, but I thought well, let's make a recording space at home, and let's try to think about the microphones adjustment that would fit my voice and such. So I had a mic, the sound absorption panel and the... how do you say that, interface? that allows you to modify the parameters of the mic, and my laptop. I connected everything, but the instruction manual was all in english so I couldn't understand anything, and did it by intuition. "Well this should be that way right...".
Thanks to that, I was able to easily picture the image of the song at home, and the next day I went to the real recording. Except for the songs with Akai Kouen and SCANDAL, I usually did the demo tape and tried harmonies at home and such. Even during the real recordings, I tried a lot of different voices "This should be right", "What if I tried singing that way?".
Both of the recording sessions for the two styles of songs were very different and I'm glad I was able to do everything I've wanted. Sorry for talking so long... (laughs)
About the song #DMAF which you've wrote the lyrics of...
It was the first time for me to put lyrics on a melody that was already created. I thought it was so difficult and it took a lot of time but I've wrote it thinking of the fans, the members, my family, everyone that supported me, but it's alright for me if it's perceived as an usual love song.
The title is a shortened version of "Do me a favor", which I'm also using on my official goods, so I wanted to put that feeling into it, but I also thought it could be translated as "Domo Arigatou Fan no Minna" (t/n thank you to my fans) in japanese. I know, it's too much (laughs), but really, I thought it fit perfectly! Thank you Fans. Thank you Family. Thank you Friends. "Oh man I've got something!" that's what I thought, and as I didn't have a title track for the album I thought "Let's use this one!" and I've decided it would be it. I hope that through this song, I'll be able to convey my feelings to fans. That's embarrassing...
How are you feeling, starting your first live soon?
At COTTON CLUB, I'll be performing dance songs, without any band, and that's a first time for me. I'll be showing myself dancing and singing for the first time in 9 months. Fans will see me perform for the first time in 9 months and I'm super stressed about it. I'm feeling the exact same as Miyabi NATSUYAKI, when it was decided that Buono! would perform at Nippon Budokan. She said she was really stressed because a lot of time passed since Berryz Kobo's hiatus.
However I've become more and more impatient and I'm really decided to show a "cool and fierce" Airi at COTTON CLUB instead of the "cute and sparkly" Airi. So I've been doing rehearsals thinking about it. It's really fun, I'm feeling the change in my body too because of the dancing. I'm reharsing while thinking "I wonder how it's going to be seen by the fans?".
While doing the rehearsals for COTTON CLUB lives I'm also thinking about the setlists to the Zepp Tokyo and Nanba Hatch lives. "I want to make this kind of corner", "I want to show that type of footages". I think they'll be really different lives and I'll show a different image of me. COTTON CLUB equals dancing; and the others, instead of dancing are more... Playing, having fun. I want fans to experience boths, and it's my battle to show how the "band side" Suzuki would be as there's only 3 lives for the band version... When COTTON CLUB lives will be ended I'll fully concentrate on the band lives.
How are going to be your activities from now on?
They've just started so right now I'm in the mood to challenge everything! Before °C-ute disbanded I had a lot of footages and interviews were journalists said to me "You're the Idol respected by a lot of Idols, what do you think about it?". So now I think I want to make activities that, when the Idols graduate and think about their future, will make a lot of them think "I want to be an artist! I want to create music too!".
The only difference about my Idol days is that I'm standing alone, so instead of "changing something" I want to make activities true to myself. While hearing the fans' advices and "I want Airi to make this!" comments, I want to continue making activities that shows how I am. Until now there haven't been a lot of times where I was able to express my own feelings through songs so I think that will increase in the future. I feel that I have to talk more about my own feelings and daily life.
But for the time being I just feel it'd be great if a lot more people know about Airi Suzuki.
Anyway, please wait for the album release for a bit!
I'm counting on your support from now on!
It was Airi Suzuki!