|LIFE IN JAPAN
Photos Courtesy of Mary
Professional Singer / Songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor
Time in Japan:
Where are you from?
Boulder, Colorado, USA.
What brought you to Japan?
I was assigned here as an entertainer for the US Air Force.
How did you get started in the singing business?
I started singing harmonies with my mother at age eight, and then after taking piano and
trumpet lessons, I wrote my first song at age ten on the piano. I have been singing
professionally for five years and stared my singing career in Japan fronting a Glen Miller
show, which toured across Japans civic centers. The receptions we received were
amazing-I was spoiled with Japans great hospitality!
Whats it like to sing and write jingles for Japanese commercials?
I think the talent of ESP would be helpful in singing commercial jingles
producers have a very specific idea of what sound they have in mind, and its your
job to find out what that is, or youll be in their studio for days! As far as
writing jingles, I recently sang a TV commercial for one of the cell phone companies. The
recording session began at 11:30pm, and the background tracks had still not been finished.
After about an hour the producer brought the lead sheet in and asked me to write lyrics.
That was a surprise! So in a woozy midnight daze, I think I remember writing some rather
I still have not heard the commercial, but Id be really
interested to know how it turned out!
You have a new music video out?
Yes! The video is for my original song, Too Late, featured in a commercial for
TVK42s Friday Night Sony Music Access non-stop music video program. It
will air every Friday night in December between 11:30pm and 12:45am. Last year I got back
into songwriting and I started crashing concerts by bringing my demo packet
backstage to major concerts during sound checks so I could introduce myself to the
artists manager. I did this at the Pet Shop Boys concert last May, and was offered a
seat next to Tetsuo Yamazaki, program producer of the production department of TVK42. A
few months after our introduction, he offered to produce and air this video. The video
turned out wonderful, so now we are working on a three song CD to be given as a gift to
the TV stations listeners this Christmas.
In what genre would you place your music?
The music on this Christmas CD is leaning toward the dance genre, although I write songs
in many different styles.
What do you hope to contribute to the music industry?
My goal is to write music that brings passion back into the lives of people who have lost
sight of what really matters to them.
Whats the weirdest thing youve seen or experienced in Japan?
This may not be the weirdest, but I remember when I first got here thinking how strange it
was to be walking around in Shibuya and Roppongi and being bombarded with kanji porn
advertisements and tissue dial-a-numbers at every corner. I wrote a silly song about this
experience called Wakarimasen which will be released next year. The funny
thing is that if I didnt receive the kanji porn and elicit tissue like everyone
else, I think I would feel very left out.
Whats your recipie for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Experience everything. Be spontaneous. Fear nothing. And surround yourself with caring,
supportive and creative people. Contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org or Freewave,
Marys management company at email@example.com
Mary Frenzel spoke to Melanie C. Redmond.
Do you know someone who
has an interesting life in Japan? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org