Rina Sawayama 25 London
Categories: Model, Music, Musician

Posted: 17th November 2015

You know when you meet certain people and they're so eye-wateringly talented that you just conclude that they have to be like, really socially awkward or a total nutter or something and then they usually are. Well, our next girl, Rina Sawayama; singer, anti-agency model, Cambridge graduate and Tumblr princess is about to burst your big fat cynic-bubble. Why? Because Riri is just about the most charming individual you'll ever meet.
BFF to photographer Petra Collins' muse and and babe du-jour Arvida Byström, Rina's world is a baby pink infusion of faux fur; screen-shots of Whatsapp convos, glittery cat-eye sunglasses and sandy boobs.

The Cambridge politics graduate (we know, we know) was born in Niigata, Japan and lived there until the age of five. She's now a member of South London (hold tight) and when she's not busy walking for Nasir Mazhar or filling up the glossy ol' pages of i-D and Pop magazine, the babe is mostly squirrelling away in the studio making the shimmeriest of shimmery noughties pop music. Rina's love affair with music, like all great genii of our time, sprang from a love affair with Arvil Lavigne. After seeing Avril on TV, aged 12, Rina begged her dad for a guitar. Needless to say, he caved (can you imagine how cute she was…) and she began teaching herself chords. It was then that a teenage Rina began actually sourcing music herself and spending all of her pocket money on CDs and at age sixteen, sneaking into random gigs. Attending a Japanese school in London meant Rina was still tapped into the J-pop music scene, which she credits for her formulaic song writing and kawaii sound, but she was imbibing other sounds too. She was so passionately attached to Justin Timberlake by that age, that she'd bunk off school and camp out outside holes he was staying in. Later, she tunnelled that energy into attending a performing arts school where, thankfully, that kind of behaviour was encouraged.

When the video for her sleepy single, Tunnel Vision, that's all about not being able to put your iPhone down, dropped early this year it was quite clear that Rina had arrived. Her SoundCloud has over 480,000 plays and Zane Lowe wants in. Her next single, Where U Are, is being released in first week of December with a badass video directed with Ali Kurr to boot, and it's all about that Catch 22 we all find ourselves in every Friday night- sit at home on your iPhone and lament how shit your life is, or, leave the house IRL and go show 'em what you're made of (we're typing this from bed, FYI). She's also releasing a concept EP early next year called Alone Together, which hangs on similar themes lamenting our strange and wonderful 21st century life online. Go follow our girl, now.

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO:Hi I'm Rina, people call me Riri which I love cos it brings me THAT much closer to Rihanna. I'm a singer-songwriter based in London, born in Japan. I have a dog called Momo and we live with my mum in Clapham where apparently only estate agents and bankers live. I have a unhealthy obsession with homemade hummus that has resulted from an unhealthy obsession with healthy cookbooks. #kaleWHAT'S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET UP?Check up on my twitter followers (all 2 of them), mindlessly scroll through insta until the screen brightness tricks my brain into thinking it's the morning and that I should be doing something more productive, like taking my dog out for a poo. WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?When I’m with my weird and wonderful friends, or when I’m at an amazing gig or listening to inspiring music. And also when I’m in the studio making music that’s not a total flop.WHO DO YOU ADMIRE?Lady Gaga. I recently rewatched all her videos with my friend and she is a fucking visionary. Whether you like her music or not, her contribution to pop music, art and culture is immense. She’s taken music videos to another level, it really steps up the game for singers to do more than just sing. She’s also done so much for the LGBT youth, spoken out about sexual abuse and the music industry. A real human hero.WHAT'S YOUR CURRENT OBSESSION?Eating unhealthily, the new kale. WHAT’S YOUR BEST ADVICE?STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS. WHAT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?Squid rings and garlic. BEST PARTY YOU'VE EVER BEEN TO?My own, actually. I hosted a 20th birthday and invited all my closest friends, of which only 1 turned up. My mum clutching the ready made pizzas from the fridge like, “well I’ll pop these in the freezer then” was a blooooooow on a epic scale. TRUE SAD STORY. BUT the amazing thing was that the one girl who turned up made a door-stopper size Victoria Sponge Cake and made sure I had an amazing time, and she’s been my best friend ever since. Seriously good things can come from the seriously bad.SONG TO BE PLAYING AS YOU ENTER THE CLUB?Any 90s Mariah or Aaliyah. Or obviously BBHMM by Rihanna cos we have the same nickname and intentions to slay guys who don’t pay on time. ONE ITEM OF CLOTHING THAT BEST SUMS YOU UP?My pink puffa jacket from UNIF, cos its cute and pink and cosy. It’s like crawling into a warm vagina. WHAT THREE THINGS WOULD BE ON YOUR RIDER?Maker’s Mark, condoms and kale. BIGGEST LIE YOU WERE TOLD/THAT YOU TOLD AS A KID?That I had to work in the City to succeed (my family still tells me this #tigermom).WHAT'S YOUR PET HATE?Donald Trump.A DAY IN THE LIFE OF YOU...Would love to say that I get up and roll into my chauffeured Bentley and into a trendy juice bar on the way to a headline gig at Madison Square Gardens but actually I take my dog out for a poo in my pjs, splodge together some semi-decent looking porridge before either a day in the studio or a productive day crying about life replying to emails/editing/going to castings <3 WHAT'S NEXT?Well my next single is being released first week of December with a video that I directed with a badass music video director called Ali Kurr. It’s called “Where U Are”, and is all about dreaming of a bigger and better life but wasting time online instead, stalking more successful people’s instagram and youtube rather than going out IRL and achieving your goals. I think we all do it but no one talks about it so I’m excited to put it out there. I’m also releasing a concept EP early next year called Alone Together, which is based around similar themes of our 21st century life online. Gonna collab with Arvida again and gig hopefully <3 AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Ali Kurr
Why: She’s just graduated uni but is already killing it as a music video director, taking on projects from major labels. She’s a babe!
Contact Rina Sawayama