Japanese Singer-Songwriter MASUMI is ready to unapologetically reveal herself fully in her music. The Los Angeles based artist bares her soul on her latest single, “Run Baby, Run” with accompanying emotive music video.

We recently had a chat with MASUMI about the story behind “Run Baby, Run” and her aspirations to empower her listeners through her music to live their own truth among others things.

SR: What is your story?

MASUMI: I’m an ordinary girl who came from Tokyo, Japan to pursue my dream of being a Singer/songwriter and to spread love one note at a time! I was attending an University, studying Anthropology when a big earthquake hit and made me realize what I really wanted to do in life.

I moved to Los Angeles a couple months after and haven’t regretted my decision of choosing music as my profession since. My goal is to bring hope through my music and inspire people to live their truth. I grew up in a society where people valued privatizing others and their happiness. A lot of times an attitude like that can leave us feeling lost in what we truly want to do in life, and who we are meant to be. I want my journey to empower others to believe in their voice and their passion.

SR: How would you describe your music style?

MASUMI: I’d say Indie/Folk/Pop with a soul! 🙂

SR: What is the story behind “Run Baby, Run”? What was the recording session like?

MASUMI: Last year I had to make a very difficult decision of turing down a life changing offer to be managed by a dream team in Japan. I chose to walk away from the offer because I felt like the offer wasn’t completely aligned with what I wanted to do as an Artist. That decision brought me a long depression of doubt and confusion. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to see success for myself anymore after turning down something like that. One day, I met this stranger. He left me with a message that hit me so hard it slapped me out of my depression. The stranger told me that “time is running out” and I had to leave my mark on this earth before my time was up. The encounter helped me find the fuel in me again and I wanted to remember the message that he gave me. The Japanese tag line I have in the Chorus sums up the message- “爪痕残せよ/ Tsumeato Nokoseyo”, meaning “leave your nail mark = leave your legacy”. My producer, Marko Fazio and I talked about the song and the story for many hours tweaking the chords and melodies to fit the emotion and the message. I had key words for how I wanted the song to sound like (“Biork-esque elements, sultry and edgy but still pop…”) but I honestly had no idea how that was going to sound at the end. Marko worked relentlessly and patiently until I found the right sound. There was a moment when I knew we arrived there finally and there was no changing of anything. 

SR: What inspired the music video concept for “Run Baby, Run” and what was the filming process like?

MASUMI: My older brother Itta, who I always looked up to growing up, wanted to be an Astronaut when he was young. He was somebody who always made the impossible, possible to me. He made a path where there was none, and always had a certain confidence that empowered me as a little sister. When I was thinking about the story line of the MV of “Run Baby, Run”, I had a strong vision of depicting the stranger, who inspired me to write “Run Baby, Run” and who snapped me out of my depression, as this Astronaut. Some higher power figuer that comes to lend his hand and wisdom to wake me up. That’s how the stranger made me feel anyways. So that’s how the Astronaut came about. 

I was incredibly fortunate to have Loic Zimmerman, who worked in films like: Ghost in the Shell, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter, True Grit, Prisoners, to also work for my Music Video. He beautifully captured the visions I had and the story I wanted to tell. We shot in the midst of the California desert under the tempreture of 104F, since shooting at the desert was also somethign I really wanted for the Music Video. Luckily no one got sick that day but although it was a brutal condition. It’s one of my fondest memory now. I had incredibly talented people to help me out throughout the shoot and I’m forever grateful for each one of them.

SR: Was it important for you to create a video as thought provoking and positive as the track itself? 

MASUMI: Yes, it was important for me to communicate the message accurately through the visuals as well. I took a long time to find the right director that can understand and capture the vision that I had because, I believe when visuals and sound work together it can be a poweful ecperience for the reciever. Something beyond what music can do solely. But it both had to serve the message of the song accurately, and I’m happy with what we produced as a team.

SR: What do you want your listeners to take with them after seeing the music video? 

MASUMI: We all go through ups and downs in life, and the darkest of days are just a part of our human experience. But sometimes we get stuck there. I hope this song can serve as a fight song for those who are struggling in the midst of those not-so-sunny days. I want the MV to encourage the viewers to find their strength in them, that warrior within us all that can push through the hardships and help believe in their own greatness. It’s easier said then done, but if you really listen to the song, you can hear that I had to find that warrior for myself too. I wrote this song as a fight song for myself, as a reminder of what the stranger taught me. I hope this serves the listener the same. 

SR: What can we expect from you next?

MASUMI: I’m currently recording my second single! I have been the type of person that kept my edge and the bitter side to myself, and tried to keep a positive out front at all times. I think that reflected in my songs as well. Sort of always being safe even in my writing. With “Run Baby, Run” I allowed my edge and my dark side to show fully, because I wanted to empower my own voice. The single that I’m releasing next is also about empowerment, and letting the world hear my true thoughts. Even if its not clean and nice, it is my authentic opinion/expression and I’m letting out of the cage finally. I’m excited to share it.

Catch all the latest news on MASUMI on her official website