Since the age of five, Miki Ishikawa has shown a passion for singing, dancing, and acting. She spent much of her childhood honing her skills while appearing in a number of commercials, TV shows, and working with the music group T-Squad. Now, as she’s about to launch her solo career, she talks to Cliché about some of her current projects, including new upcoming music.
Cliché: Earlier this year you appeared in the dance romance film Make Your Move. Can you tell us a little about your role in the film?
Miki Ishikawa: My role in the film was Natsumi, which was Aya’s best friend and roommate, so you see me throughout the film supporting her since we live together. I also dated her boyfriend and I am also a part of the Cobu Girls.
Besides that film, you worked on a drama entitled Sway. What kind of person do you play in that?
It’s an independent feature, which I have already finished shooting and will be premiering at the Toronto film festival. It was basically shot in three different portions. It focused on a first generation of Asians that had to make the decision to move to another country and the family that has to deal with that decision. My role in the film was in the family. My mother passed away and I kind of take the blame for everything. It’s kind of like your typical family drama, and the elements that happen when you have an identity crisis while you’re having to deal with that. The final part of the film focuses on the second generation that is growing up and growing into his or her own person, [and how they] identify with their parents.
Would it be safe to say we’ll see you in a musical in the future, or would you rather keep music and acting separate?
No, I would definitely do a musical eventually. When I was younger, I had my little taste of Broadway, not on Broadway, but working in theater. So, eventually I would like to tackle that. As far as putting it together, music and acting kind of go hand-in-hand in general because you have to have music in those projects, too. So, yeah. That is definitely something I would love to do.
Who were your role models growing up?
As far as acting, I would say two of my favorite actresses are Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet. They are still my heroes, as far as actresses go. I think that they have such grace and poise. They can play so many different roles and characters, and they are always challenging themselves. I think that is really, really admirable, and that is something that I strive for.
As far as music, that is really hard for me to say who I have been influenced by because I have been influenced by so many different kinds of genres and musicians. Right now, I’m working on music, too. I finished my EP, Frame Of Mind, not too long ago, but for this album I was definitely inspired by Portishead, Little Dragon, and James Blake. Those are the three musicians right now that I am kind of listening to and taking some notes from, I guess you would say.
Before going out for your own solo career in music, you were a part of a group called T-Squad. So, is your solo album and EP kind of in a different style from that, or is it similar?
Oh no, it’s totally different. T-Squad was technically when I was still a kid. I have definitely gone through direction, as far as music. I went through kind of a pop phase and doing dance to pop music. But this last year I kind of honed in on what I wanted to do, rather than what people told me how I should sound or be. So, I’ve been working with my producer Mikezilla. We sat down and we kind of vibed with each other. Like I mentioned before, this EP and album was kind of influenced by Portishead and Little Dragon. So, I guess it is more of an indie, alternative sound. Yeah, I would definitely say that I have grown up a lot in my music, from lyric content to just the tone of the music. I hope that people won’t put two and two together and see me with that kind of background because I really want to shy away from that and create a new persona for myself.
To listen to her EP, Frame Of Mind, and keep up-to-date with all Miki’s news, visit her website at thisismiki.com.
The Miki Ishikawa Interview original appeared as “The Whirling Miki” in the August/September 2014 Issue of Cliché Magazine
Photographed by Chuck Willis