Here are the salient points about Rina Sawayama:
1. She was born in Japan but largely raised in London where she attened a Japanese school.
2. She has a degree in politics from Cambridge University.
3. She was once in a rap group called Lazy Lion with Wolf Alice's Theo Ellis!
4. Her last single "Tunnel Vision" boasted a video that was a vision of pastel and sparkles directed by (rightly) hyped Swedish photographer-Arvida Byström, (who is also making some forays into the music scene as a singer). It's a record that in part addresses false personas and perception manipulation in this era of digital love desperation. Which is a theme she returns to in her new single "Where U Are"—premiering below.
5. "Where U Are" is 90s R&B pop perfection. Very lounge. A little Solange. A smidge of peak-era Mariah. With a beat that has just the right amount of boom, especially in those crucial opening bars. Crazily, this isn't an original song, but rather a totally unrecognizable rework of The Jackson 5 song "I Wanna Be Where You Are."
Rina had this to say about the track: "Online you can present your best edited self, and bypass lots of the messiness and awkwardness that comes with real human interactions. Your overheating phone substitutes human warmth. Weirdest of all—you’re together, but also very alone.”
Which is a great reminder to listen to The Strokes' "Alone Together," but before that, check out this supreme cut from a very promising new star.