We asked this Suzuki Airi, the exclusive Ray model and "Idol admired by other Idols" such as Kikuchi Moa (BABYMETAL), Watanabe Koume (SUPER☆GiRLS) or Yamamoto Sayaka (former NMB48) about the source of her lives always praised by musicians, the production secrets of her next tour, the highlights of her upcoming DVD and Blu-Ray releases, and her feelings towards her second year as a solo artist.
――You started a solo career on June 2018. Did you have any change of mind up to this ?
As an Idol, I was "Suzuki Airi as a part of ℃-ute's image" and often had to sing according to that. As a solo artist, I really wanted to express my individuality. A more... human touch ?
――What type of person do you think you are ?
I don't know (laughs) I don't know and that's why I would like to pull it out. It would be great if I could make music that shows an image of me that even I don't know. I think it's not something that comes out because I do a specific thing. Maybe the humaneness of that me who lived 25 years will come out by innocently enjoying the music. Someday, I would like to sing a song full of such personalness (laughs).
――Did your solo activities change you in any way ?
I've been in the industry for 15 years now, and the fans who follow me since then must be very surprised when they suddenly see, for example, a very serious Airi (laughs). I think that if I was a fan, I would get a bit colder and think "I wanted to see a laughing Airi". I thought it wasn't necessary to let go of everything that I have cherished so far. While starting new things, I try not to forget the past.
――What are you goals this year ?
2019 will be the second year of my solo career, so I would like to try new things.
I've been making a lot of encounters during my various work opportunities, and I've seen that people who freely express their individuality and humanity are not limited to the musical world. I think that's so cool. They're real... Of course, there are many times when it's cooler to pretend an image, and I think I shouldn't forget that too, but if I'm able to be fully upfront and down to earth, maybe I'll be able to once again exceed my own limits.
――There are many people who completely graduate from being Idols when starting a solo career. What do you think about it ?
These 15 years spent as an Idol are 15 years of my life and I can be proud of, therefore I can't throw them away, and I think there's no need for me to. I was able to make important encounters, and got many rewards, and I would like to try new things while carrying this experience on my back. And if I'm being told that the "old Airi was better", well that's pretty sad but, I determined to try new challenges.
――These feelings can be seen through the setlist of your lives.
I told the staff "If I was to do solo lives, then I would like them to be that way". Because I love singing, I didn't want to do it anymore if it would be half done.
――On May 22 are releasing the DVD and Blu-Ray of your 2018 tour.
"PARALLEL DATE" is a live I shaped the way I wanted to. I wanted to do a live that you go to forget your daily life in a good way, and which makes you enter in a completely different atmosphere. "Parallel date" is a word I came up with, to make fans look at the live through the eyes of a boyfriend, but in fact it was all a dream. In the end, you get back to reality and go home. That's the type of live I wanted to do.
――Going back home while basking in the afterglow of the live.On fans' social medias, it was not written "I went to a live" but "I had a date with Airi-chan", and that made me pretty happy. To me, the title of a tour must be like a book, and I want to wrap the whole tour like a book series. During "PARALLEL DATE" too, until the encore there is not one single personal conversation of Suzuki Airi, but only conversations created in this world, and it's only during the ENCORE that the real Suzuki Airi is talking. It's shown in the DVD and Blu-Ray so I would like you to see it. We used and switched images of me singing on the stage and pre-recorded footages. During a live, it's pretty hard to see both the monitor and the stage. So we arranged it in a way that we can see both.
――The jacket of the product also show such a world.
That's right. There are pictures used during the show, with the clothes I'm also wearing during the live. The booklet also is having many picture so you can think "Ah, these are memories pictures of my date with Airi-chan". I made it so everything is tied. It took a lot of time (laughs)
――Like a producer.I thought about a lot of details ! Because using pictures from the live only doesn't really reflet that "date" feeling, so I designed a collage like a memory album of the date.