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From Britpop to India with Maia Hirasawa

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From Britpop to India with Maia Hirasawa
12:22 CEST+02:00
When she graduated from high school, Maia Hirasawa never imagined that she would make a career out of music. Now a decade later, the 29-year-old Swedish-Japanese musician has carved out a space for herself on the Swedish music scene.

With an angelic voice that glides easily through jovial songs with melancholy undertones, Hirasawa possesses a unique musical talent that has finally been recognized by the music world in recent years.

Although music is the centre of her life now, Hirasawa reveals that singing wasn't always her main interest.

“As a kid I was really into soccer and played a lot of that,” Hirasawa tells The Local.

“I started playing classical piano at age 10, but it wasn't until I started singing at 17 that music became my main interest.”

Hirasawa recalls how her initial interest in music was sparked by her older sister's interests.

“I was listening to a lot of what my big sister listened to,” she says. “At that time she was listening to a lot of Britpop music like Suede and Blur and Manic Street Preachers. I also had my own music taste that I liked, such as The Beach Boys, but I kept that to myself because it wasn't really cool at that time. But I always loved 50s music.”

When she was 13, Hirasawa ventured out and began discovering more music on her own. Her interest continued throughout high school, and she decided to go to a Swedish music school following her high school graduation. But Hirasawa didn't decide to pursue a professional music career until a vacation put her goals into perspective.

“I think I realized it actually when I was in India for six months when I was 24,” Hirasawa explains.

“I was away from music for that period, and I realized that I really missed it, and I have to sing and write songs to be happy. That was when I decided, ‘I will try to do this as a professional.' Maybe it won't work out but at least I tried.”

As soon as she returned from India, Hirasawa started recording music and tried to get as many gigs as possible. She quickly got a music deal and then released her first solo album in 2007, titled Though, I'm Just Me. Despite her success in recent years, Hirasawa says playing live gigs is still her favorite part about her job.

“I love playing on the stage, and you get so much energy from the audience. I don't think you can compare anything to that.”

When she's not busy recording or performing music, Hirasawa chooses to use her free time to just relax and clear her mind.

“When I have some spare time, I love to be in the nature, go to the countryside and just go for walks,” she says. “I'm really not this city person. I like to be in the countryside. I love to just be with my friends. I don't really have that many hobbies.”

With her increasingly successful career, Hirasawa does not forget her roots and is always grateful for the success that she's had.

“I'm just happy to be able to live on my music, and I'm always trying to sell some records/albums,” Hirasawa says. “It's not easy in this time when everyone downloads everything, but I'm just happy to have as many gigs as possible. In a way I have already achieved my goal. I can live on my music and people come to my concerts.”

Hirasawa says no matter how her career goes in the future, music will always be her primary focus.

“I think I will make music the rest of my life, but I don't know if I will be an artist like I am now, going on tours and such,” she says. “But I like to write music, and maybe I will write music for other artists as well. I've also written music for a TV drama that was on Swedish TV this past winter."

Hirasawa will be performing throughout Sweden for the rest of the summer. Her sophomore album titled GBG vs STHLM was released in Sweden recently. Hirasawa says the album should be available in the US in the upcoming months.

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