Mari was at the opening cermony on Friday night. She had two concerts,
and two panels, one of each on Saturday and one on Sunday. Each concert was followed by an
Mari was introduced at the opening ceremony, and said a few words to her fans. She briefly mentioned her
new role in the MTV series Spyder Games.
Mari's first panel was Saturday morning. The panel was held in the pool area of the hotel.
Here's a summary of what she said:
She has made sixteen original albums. Including Christmas albums, live albums, etc., the total is 29.
Signing with a large record company may not be the best things for artists right now. If artists release
records independently, they have more freedom. If they do it well, they may be able to make more money.
Mari is talking to independent record companies in Japan and America. She wants to be better known and
recognized as a musician in the US.
She is looking for a co-producer to work with on her next album. She plans to release her next album by
next summer at the latest. She wants to release her album at Fanimecon next year if possible, but if the
timing doesn't work out, she wants to do it at Anime Expo.
She gets auditions for acting parts from her manager. Because she is Japanese, she is considered by
casting people to be "Asian", and there are not so many parts. For the last few weeks, she
has been getting lots of auditions. Recently she had an audition for Rush Hour 2, Jackie Chan's
Mari takes acting classes for 12 hours each week, which she really enjoys. It's a challenge, and she
likes challenges. She thinks the classes are helping her.
She got a part in the upcoming MTV soap opera, Spyder Games. She plays a Japanese girl shopping in a
boutique. The character is very young, cheerful, and spunky.
It's hard for her to audition for older parts, because the casting people don't believe that she's really
When she auditioned for the Pacific Blue role, she tried to be
innocent, although the character was a "bad girl." The casting people liked that.
Making an album depends on the budget. If you have a huge budget like N' Sync, you can try many musicians,
producers, and engineers. For people making an album independently, the budget isn't so big. Mari works on
songs at home, and her partner has a home studio.
She doesn't really get influenced by the musicians she works with. Instead, she is influenced by her own
favorite musicians, and the people she listened to when she was growing up.
When she was a little kid, she listened to idol singers. Later she started listening to singer/songwriters
like Yuming, and then to rock music. She listened to Queen--she liked their second, third, and fourth albums.
She loved the album "Night at the Opera". She also listened to Paul McCartney and Wings--she
performed Jet on her album Good Medicine--Hall & Oats, and Ten CC. She likes
bands that were influenced by the Beatles, like Squeeze, Enough's Enough, and King's X. Her current
favorite band is Third Eye Blind.
At the height of her popularity from Macross, she was still a college student and was taking the
train every day to her college. The popularity didn't bother her, because she likes to be noticed.
She was very frustrated by the Japanese media people, because they only saw her as Minmay. Even years
after Macross ended, radio people still didn't know that she wrote her own songs. She was
frustrated by the way they didn't bother to learn anything about her before interviewing her. When she was
making her fourth album in London, one musician told her that she could do much more internationally, and
that inspired her. She wanted to be a star in America.
She was very surprised to learn that people in America already knew about her because of Macross.
Now she feels like making it in the American show-business world is a "must," and not just a dream.
Music is what she does, so she needs to make music in order to be happy.
Anime conventions are unique. She was never involved in the anime world in Japan, so she never saw people
walking around in costumes. It's great that the anime fans all have such a strong interest in common.
She does watch some American cartoons like Batman, Powerpuff Girls, and
She likes "organic rock" with guitar sounds. That's what she wants to do for her next original
album. Her albums are so good sounding, because she uses top studio musicians. They don't make mistakes,
so everything is so perfect. She's getting kind of tired that, and wants to get more "loose".
For her next album, she wants to work with someone who has a good feel for music, but is not so perfect.
At the same time, Jellybean Benitez's record company, which specializes in dance music, is interested in her.
This is a completely different direction, so she is thinking she can do both. She played a dance song she wrote for
Jellybean called Temperature. The song was very good, and the people who were running the dance
at the convention promptly asked to borrow the CD.
American elementary schools are becoming the way Japanese elementary schools were ten years ago.
There's lots of homework and pressure about what school the students go to next.
The concert was held Saturday evening. It was outside, in the pool area of the hotel
where the convention was held. Mari performed nine songs, including one new song. She sang and played her
keyboard for all the songs.
Mari began by singing three songs from No Limit--Everybody's Lonely,
More than yesterday, and No Limit.
Next she sang Deep inside of you. This is a song by Mari's favorite band, Third Eye Blind.
Next Mari performed two songs in Japanese, Cinderella and Ai Oboeteimasuka.
Then she sang Happy Birthday, an excellent new English song.
Mari's next song was You flew to New York. This is a new song that Mari had only written three
days before. Finally, she sang Angel's Paints.
Saturday Autograph Sessions
Mari had an autograph session after her panel, and another shorter session after her concert. She also sold copies
of No Limit and T-Shirts at each session.
Mari's second panel was Sunday afternoon, right before her concert. As with her other events, this was
held in the pool area. Some of the questions were the same as yesterday, so I won't duplicate her answers here.
She talked about her fan club's trip to Los Angeles around Thanksgiving. American fans can join the trip.
She like accessories, like bracelets. She has a gift registry on Girlshop.com so people can check out what she wants.
She wrote Temperature as a demo for a dance record company that's interested in her. She
might be able to work with them.
She likes living in Los Angeles because she can have more space. Tokyo is very busy and crowded. Listening
to the radio in Tokyo was painful, because sometimes the songs are terrible. It made her sad to be
competing with that.
People fantasize about what Japan is like, which is strange to compare with her knowledge of how things
She has a Razor scooter, but she hasn't used it for a while.
She plays tennis, but her coach quit. Now she needs to find a new coach.
She went to Yosemite, but she's not a mountain person. It was beautiful, but she didn't like all the bugs. She
enjoyed Big Sur.
She was asked again about again about favorite musicians when she grew up. Besides the ones she mentioned
at the previous day's panel, she also mentioned Elton John. She was never really into folk songs. She liked
Whitesnake and hard rock stuff too. She liked rock stuff that had a great melody, and wasn't just noisy. She
liked Madonna when she was doing "Borderline".
Her favorite TV show is Sex and the City. It's so real, if guys watch it they can understand how
women think. She also likes The Sopranos.
She hadn't seen Almost Famous yet, but she wants to see it.
Acting is like a hobby, but now it's becoming more her job. Her hobbies are watching movies and tennis.
Good Medicine is a really good album. If she wanted to give an album to a rock musician to say,
"This is me, listen to it,", it would be that album. It has a good balance.
Mari got the chorus from Super Sonic Boom from something Andy was singing. She liked it, so
she used it and put his name in the credits.
Mari had a second concert on Sunday after her panel, for people who had missed the Saturday concert.
This concert was similar to the one on Saturday. Mari sang Blueberry Jam instead of
No Limit and Angel's Paints.
Sunday Autograph Sessions
Mari had an autograph session after her concert. She also sold copies of No Limit and T-Shirts.
This page was last modified on Dec 28, 2000 at 9:47 AM.