A glimpse into Ichiko Aoba’s world as she shares with us her inspirations, dreams and music stories.

Ahead of her show at the Esplanade Recital Studio next month, we had a chance to ask the young artist about her music, and see her world through her eyes.
Both ‘amuletum’ and ‘bouquet’ are Aoba’s newest singles, which were released just last month.

ASL365:  Hi Ichiko Aoba. Vanessa here from Asialive365. Thank you for taking the time to have this interview with us. We hope that you’ll enjoy your stay in Singapore. You’ve been in Singapore in 2015 and 2018. How excited are you to be back?

Ichiko Aoba: I am so excited to meet everyone in Singapore again!

ASL365: It will also be your third concert with Aspidistrafly, who will be opening for you again for the upcoming gig. What are thoughts on their music? For instance; when did you first hear them?

Ichiko Aoba: I see a lot of visuals from Aspidistrafly’s music. It is like a fairytale, beautiful but with a little bit of fear. The light and colors are brighter and stronger in that world than real life. I feel a distortion in time as well. We met in 2012, when a Japanese artist Haruka Nakamura from the kitchen label introduced us.
“A Little Fable” is one of my favorites and I often listen to it.

ASL365: You’ve mentioned that you get your energy for creating stories from dreams. Do you get this energy for your songs too? Or do you often dream of songs too?

Ichiko Aoba: I write what I dreamed about a lot actually. My songs “Ikinokori Bokura” and “A hill of the moon” are some of them. I also dream while I am awake. When creating something, I feel like, going deep into your dreams or imagination is something that allows you to naturally fly.

ASL365: Do you have a favourite artist that you admire?

Ichiko Aoba: Jun Miyake

ASL365: We love your new singles ‘amuletum’ and ‘bouquet’! Tell us more about the textures of these two songs and what stories were they inspired by?

Ichiko Aoba: “amuletum” is a protection song for sailing.
In 2019, I spent time at a city where whale-catching is a culture, and I got inspiration from the time there. I feel like the echolocation of whales that exist in fairy tales or cultures also exist in music. I always create songs with vocals and instrument (classic guitar), but since I always had an internal music and orchestra as an image for that one, I worked with the composer Taro Umebayashi to bring my imagination to life.
I wrote “bouquet” just like I have always written with vocals and instrument (classic guitar). I wanted to express different types of species living together on one planet as a flower bouquet. The flowers could be real flowers or they could be emotions.
I wanted to express that everything that happens in life is a gift.

ASL365: What do you have lined-up in the future – can we expect a new album soon?

Ichiko Aoba: I am trying to write an album for a mythical movie. I hope to have it done this year.

ASL365: If you could pick a favourite song from all your albums, which one would it be and why?

Ichiko Aoba: テリフリアメ – The rain from light and shadow.

ASL365: You were the singer of ‘The Ballad of the Wind Fish’ in the commercial for ‘The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening’ – what was that experience like? Do you also play video games?

Ichiko Aoba: I was really happy about it. Having my voice used as the material was something new for me. I used to play Nintendo games when I was in elementary to middle school.
See also: Folk singer-songwriter Ichiko Aoba will be performing at the Esplanade!

ASL365: What sort of music did you listen to growing up or who were your inspirations?

Ichiko Aoba: Studio Ghibli or Disney music.

ASL365: You started to play the classical guitar at the age of 17? What was the first song that you ever learnt/played?

Ichiko Aoba: J.S.Bach : Prelude

ASL365: Do you play any other instruments besides the guitar?

Ichiko Aoba: Yes, I play piano, clarinet, accordion, flute for fun.

ASL365: What sort of experience can folks look forward to at your show on March 13?

Ichiko Aoba: It will be the same as always but I will be playing with my freshest cell.

ASL365: Thank you so much Ichiko! We look forward to seeing you next month!

Ichiko Aoba: Amuletum Bouquet Concert featuring opening act Aspidistrafly will take place on March 13 as part of Esplanade’s Mosaic Music Series.
Tickets available via SISTIC.
Special thanks to the Esplanade and Esplanade Presents: Mosaic.