JUNNA is an emerging prodigy making waves in the world of Jpop, Jrock, and anime music. This extraordinary talent burst onto the scene at a mere 16 years old, captivating audiences with her commanding and soul-stirring vocals. You may recognize her as the captivating voice behind Mikumo Guynemer, the vocalist for the legendary fictional band Walküre in the sensational anime series Macross Delta.

JUNNA made her mark on the anime scene, providing theme songs for series such as Mahoutsukai no Yome (known in English as The Ancient Magus’ Bride), Kakegurui, Sabikui Bisco (Rust-Eater Bisco), and more.

Today, we invite you to delve deeper into her journey as a solo artist, as we engage in an exclusive conversation with JUNNA, a rising star destined to illuminate the music industry with her incredible talent. This interview holds a special significance, as it marks JUNNA’s very first interview conducted in English, adding an exciting element to our exploration of her remarkable career.


JUNNA enchants fans with her soul-stirring musicJunichi Tsukagoshi

It’s lovely being able to speak with you today, JUNNA. You’re already such a household name in the anime scene. Despite your young age, you’ve already accomplished a lot already.

Let’s start off by congratulating you on your fifth anniversary and the new album, Dear.

Thank you.

Dear is your third full-length album. Can you tell us about its concept and the significance behind it?

The concept of this album is to say “thank you” to everyone who supported me since my solo debut. I want to say thank you to my fans, and I wanted to sing not only for the composers who have worked with me over the past five years but also for the new composers to express a new side of me. As such, I tried to sing a wide variety of songs in this album.

The album is celebrated together with your fifth anniversary since your solo debut. How would you say it reflects your growth as an artist?

I think my expression and vocal range grew through singing a wide variety of songs in this album.

Would you say that there’s anything specifically that you’ve learned during your debut?

For all the albums I made, I always try to challenge something new. So, when I try new things for each album, I get the feeling that I am growing and improving, little by little.

Through that, have you fostered any kind of new skills or abilities from one album to the next?

I don’t know if it’s from making the album, but my vocal range is getting wider. I take vocal lessons once a week and I also think that I have learned to sing in many different ways from each composer. I think the variation of my voice became much more diverse.

Yes, I can completely feel that throughout the years of the songs that you put out. So during those five years, do you feel like your relationship with music has changed in any way?

I debuted at 16 years old. Before that, music was just a hobby and I was just singing for myself. I didn’t think of it as a career, so I was very happy to work in that field. Recently, I still enjoy singing, but I’m always thinking, “How can I influence people with my singing?”. Through these five years, my perspective changed to “It’s for everyone else” or “It’s to influence someone”. That’s the biggest change.

If we look back at your journey again, what would you say have been your biggest challenges so far?

For me, the biggest challenge was to sing and perform as a solo artist in front of many people. Because I started from Walküre, which performs as a five-member group. When performing solo and to have a successful performance, there are so many things to think about besides just singing. It was very difficult for me. During my first solo concert, I could only concentrate on singing, not stage performance [laughs].

Yes, there’s a lot of pressure.

Yes. I feel pressure a lot. That was the only thing in my head. But recently, I started dancing and moving more on stage during my live performances. That was challenging because I have to concentrate on many things for that. Also, I focus on having fun during the concert. It is the most important thing. It’s okay to go off-script sometimes.

Did you have any previous experience with dance?

Yes, I started taking lessons in vocal and dance when I was 10 years old.

JUNNA enraptured in an emotional performanceJunichi Tsukagoshi

Oh, wow. You also have some new live performances coming up in conjunction with your fifth anniversary. Tell us how you feel about that.

I‘m really looking forward to those performances. I think the audience will be able to speak, sing, and cheer again, for the first time since COVID-19 hit Japan. So I’m very happy to hear their voices throughout the live performance again.

Also, I’ll sing all the songs from my new album Dear for the first time. I’m so happy and looking forward to it.

Yes, the album Dear was just released as well. I’m sure many fans have already started listening to it. But for you personally, what do you hope that the listener will take away from the album?

For those who supported me these past five years and people who have never heard of me before, I think they can enjoy listening to this album and get a sense of who I am. As far as concepts, there are a lot of uplifting and supportive songs on this album. I hope it empowers people and gives them courage in their lives.

About the first song and the title track of the album called Dear. It’s not only a fantastic song, but we also see it in the second season of the anime Mahoutsukai no Yome. Before we talk about that, let’s rewind and talk a little bit about the first season’s song, which is called Here. So, Dear and Here.

Yes [laughs].

When Here was released, it actually reached first place in the 10 major streaming sites in the rankings. How did that feel, when you learned how well-received the song was?

It was surprising for me because I didn’t expect a lot of people to listen to that song. Also, I was very happy because it was my first single. The purpose of the first single is to introduce yourself to your listeners, like “Who is JUNNA?”. I was extremely happy to hear how well it was received, and that people also came out to my live performances.

And not only was this your first single, but it was also your first solo anime theme song, right?

Yes.

For me as a fan, I would say Here is a very iconic song of JUNNA. Also, it really suited the anime Mahoutsukai no Yome. How did you approach this work given the distinct medieval fantasy style it presents?

It was a challenging song for me because I had to change my singing approach. I tried to be the main character, Chise, and channel the feelings of loneliness she experienced at the beginning of the show, without family or anyone around her. At that time, she and I were of similar age, so I felt a strong connection to the character.

Also, as I said, Chise is a very lonely character at the beginning of the show. But by the end of season one, she gets to meet Elias and other characters and finds a place where she can belong, Here. So, I wanted to express those strong emotions in this song.

JUNNA 「Here」 Music Video (Full ver.) (TVアニメ「魔法使いの嫁」オープニングテーマ)

That’s very interesting. With the season two opening, Dear, did you do anything differently this time, maybe influenced by something you learned from the past experience?

The story of Mahoutsukai no Yome progresses in season two, so Chise’s environment will change as she meets more people. So, I didn’t change my approach of trying to act as Chise, but the way I expressed her was different. I wanted to express her relationships growing as she enters a new world for her. My singing adapted and grew to show a wider scope of emotions—since she was in a new environment. In my opinion, that is the biggest difference between Here and Dear.

You also released the new music video for Dear. It’s very artistic, can you tell us how that ties in with the song?

The studio set for Dear was a very tight and closed space. As the singing, I sang with a closed voice at the beginning of the song. There was also a web of strings, all on a monochromatic set. But then, the song and my voice open up wider and wider, along with the set. And finally, the scene opens up to a vibrant ocean sea. In that way, you can see how the visuals were linked with the song composition.

Also, the wind was great that day, when we were shooting. It made for a very nice and dynamic visual. The song is also dynamic, so it reflected that unintentionally.

JUNNA 「Dear」 Music Video (Full ver.) (TVアニメ「魔法使いの嫁 SEASON2」オープニングテーマ)

Dear is composed by Shirato Yusuke, who also composed Here. Did you have any direct interaction with him when working on the song?

I couldn’t talk to him on our first recording day. That made me nervous because he composed really hard choruses for me, and I wasn’t able to ask him for advice. They were so difficult, I almost cried during recording [laughs]. But I didn’t!

But since then, we’ve had many opportunities to meet. We have built a kind of relationship in which we can say anything to each other. We have a very good relationship, and he gives me so much singing advice. We create great music together.

In the new album, you also have worked with a lot of other notable composers. For example, the songs Umi to Shinju (海と真珠) and Taiyou no Kouro (太陽の航路) are featured in the anime Kaizoku Oujo (Fena: Pirate Princess). These songs are by Yuki Kajiura, who is of course well-known for producing anime songs for very big titles.

What was your initial reaction upon discovering that Yuki Kajiura would be composing the music for your songs?

I was really glad to hear that because she composed for so many big anime titles. I knew her name and her music, and I was very happy I’d get to sing her songs. It was a very big event for me in my artist career.

Yuki Kajiura has a very distinct style. Did you have to adapt your way of singing in any kind of way when you started working on those songs?

Yes. When I first listened to Umi to Shinju, I thought I’d have to change my singing style and approach to express this song. The beat of the song is very fast, even though it’s sung like a ballad with a very open style. I had to adapt my style in order to accomplish that. That was the biggest challenge for me.

But since I took those challenges, it became a learning experience. She [Yuki Kajiura] taught me to cherish and emphasize the words of each song, and to sing in one breath. These are valuable lessons I can use during live performances and for new songs.

JUNNA displays her undeniable power and vocal rangeJunichi Tsukagoshi

You worked with other composers like n-buna and also RON from STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION.

Specifically, the song with RON was a very energetic rock, Kaze no Oto sae Kikoenai (風の音さえ聞こえない) from the anime Sabikui Bisco (Rust-Eater Bisco).

What aspects do you pay attention to when you do such an energetic song? Because for me, I think you’re very good at these powerful songs.

Thank you. While recording, I always imagine that I am singing at a live performance. Usually during recording, we separate the song into sections, instead of recording it all in one take. But for powerful or energetic or rock songs, I sing it all in one take and do it three or four times. That is the big difference between singing ballads and rock songs.

Why do you do that for rock songs?

Because I want to make the recording environment reflect a live performance. If I separate the song into parts, I think each part can be perfect, and that’s the one approach. However, if I do it all in one take, maybe it’s not perfect, but the parts that are not perfect make me feel more powerful, like a live performance.

So, that’s the most important thing for me to sing rock songs.

About n-buna, who is known for being a Vocaloid producer, also known as Yorushika. The song Haru no Yume (春の夢) that he composed for you was for the sentimental anime Fuyu no okurimono (冬のおくりもの). How was it working with him on that song?

I was a fan of the artist Yorushika, so I was so happy to sing his song. He is a Vocaloid composer, but I didn’t feel the difference between his composition and the past work I’ve sung. So, my singing approach didn’t change.

Before the recording of this song, the director told me the story of Fuyu no okurimono and that was very important for me, because I have to express this story through my singing.

The most surprising point, or different point, was that he hardly used reverb for my singing. Other composers use reverb to make my singing wider, but he hardly used it. The story starts in winter and ends in spring. I think winter is a lonely atmosphere, so to express the change of seasons, he hardly used reverb to express the sentiments directly.

Indeed, it becomes less artificial that way. As this song is very sentimental, it makes sense that he went that route. You also mentioned that you were a fan of him already. Did you listen to a lot of Vocaloid songs in the past?

Not a lot, but some artists like Yorushika and ZUTOMAYO.

You’ve done theme songs for a lot of anime, but also, you recently provided the theme song for the TV drama Kojinsa Arimasu with the song Aimai na Futari (曖昧な2人). How was it working with that song compared to anime?

I thought there was no difference between singing for an anime series or a drama because they both have a story that I can express in my singing.

Before recording, I read the story of the anime or the drama. For instance, like with Here and Dear, I tried to become the main character, Chise. And for this TV drama, I knew the story I had to tell, but didn’t have to restrict myself to expressing just one character. So, I think that’s the difference between anime and drama—I can take a wider approach, and focus on the story as a whole.

Since Aimai na Futari is a show where the main character switches sex from being male to female constantly, while being in a relationship, I guess expressing the story would have been easier than putting yourself in the shoe of the main character? [Laughs]

Yes, yes [laughs].

For Aimai na Futari, I focused more on the last scene of the drama. Like, to us, the characters’ relationship may seem strange, but they have adapted and improved their relationship since the beginning of the drama. So that became the point I focused on while singing.

So very similar approaches, but still some slight differences there.

I want to continue speaking about your vocal range. You already have quite an arsenal of songs that showcase how diverse and skillful you are. Would you say that this is a deliberate choice or is that something that kind of just happened because you worked with so many composers or producers?

I think that happened naturally over the past five years, from working with different composers and trying all the different songs.

When you started your solo debut, you were just 16 years old. How did you feel about embarking on a solo career at such a young age?

Part of me thinks it was a good thing, to start my career at 16. One good point is that now, at my fifth anniversary, or later on my tenth anniversary, I feel I am still young for that age.

Starting my career at a young age also meant I could challenge many things. I also think I’m not scared to make mistakes because I’m young—and have the support of others, so I can be more active with any songs or any performance. That’s a good point for me to start my career at a young age.

The bad point is—it’s not related to my career, but—my private time became limited. When I debuted as a solo artist, I was in high school. Compared to my friends, I had twice as many responsibilities—school and my career. I wasn’t able to spend as much time with my friends.

Ultimately, because of my career choice, I could experience many different things my friends couldn’t experience. So I guess that’s a good point too.

How did you try to balance your work and your private life then?

It’s difficult, but my friends in high school understood my career. They would come to my concerts and be very supportive of me. They tried to adapt to my schedule like, “She has this day off, so let’s go to like Disneyland or something” [laughs]. So yes, my friends are very supportive and understanding, so I can balance my schedule for work and also schoolwork.

That’s pretty funny, and also, I’m happy that you had friends that could understand your career choice. But, what made you want to become a singer in the first place?

The artist who inspired me was Superfly. I respect her as an artist and love her a lot. I covered her song Hi-Five on my YouTube channel. I also love the band ONE OK ROCK. Those two inspired me to become an artist.

Superfly「Hi-Five」(Cover by JUNNA)

Was there any kind of initiator that made you like, “At this moment, I want to become a singer too”?

As I said, I started taking vocal and dance lessons at age 10. At that point, it was just for fun, and to make friends. But at age 12, I had the opportunity to be on stage and sing in front of many people. I felt it was very fun, and I was happy. So from that time, I felt I wanted to become a singer to influence people

I started to try out for many auditions. At first, I failed an audition, but, a person who listened to my singing performance there suggested that I try out another audition, to act as Mikumo, in the anime Macross Delta.

Then I started to be Mikumo in Walküre [the fictional group in the anime Macross Delta].

Oh, that’s very fortunate that you got that opportunity. Is it from this point where you started getting into the anisong industry?

Yes, yes. Before that, I didn’t watch anime, and I didn’t listen to anisong, so I didn’t know about the world of anime. If it weren’t for the opportunity to audition for the role of Mikumo, maybe, I would never have known about anime. So it was quite a blessing.

Yeah, absolutely. As we mentioned, this is your fifth anniversary, but you still have a very long way to go. What are your goals and aspirations as an artist?

I don’t have a specific goal as an artist. I want to sing, sing until I die [laughs]. Like, all I want to do is sing and meet fans at concerts every year. I want to always challenge new things, that’s my goal.

I also want to go abroad and meet fans around the world. I know my English skills are not good, so I have to improve my English skills to go abroad and do live performances in front of many people. I’d also like to improve my English and go on a worldwide tour as a solo artist.

I just want to add that I think your English is very good, so I think you will do really well outside Japan [laughs].

As you mentioned, you wanted to meet more of your fans. When you’re on stage, how do you try to interact with the fans? I think that’s probably one of the important aspects of doing concerts, right?

Yeah. Like in my concerts, I have MC sessions, where I talk about my performance or the song I will sing next. Or, I will ask a question and the audience will all respond. I want to hear their cheers and communicate with each person through that dialogue, so that’s one important way I interact with fans during my performances.

I also enjoy it when the audience sings along with me. There are many parts in my songs that can be sung with the audience, so they try to remember the lyrics and sing with me. That’s also one interaction in my live performances.

Yes, it’s very lovely to have that interaction as a fan. Considering your English proficiency, have you thought of doing more work singing in English?

Yes, I try to have at least one English song for each album that I release. That’s my challenge for each album for me. Also, I want to try to post on social media in English, for example on Instagram, I write in Japanese and also in English to interact with fans abroad.

Have you done any social media posts in English that is specifically for the foreign audience yet?

When I go to events in other countries, I write in English after I’m done with the live performance, and when I go abroad and sing in front of my fans, I try to speak and do MC in English.

Something I wanted to mention is that you have a radio program on bayfm called “CrosSing You”, how is that going? Because you’ve been doing that for a while now.

It’s my first time to have a solo radio program. It is a very good experience to talk about myself, and listeners send me messages, so I talk about that also. I named this program “CrosSing You” because the purpose of this radio program is to cross many people or many songs. I’m trying to cross paths with my fans through messages and sometimes on the telephone [laughs]. Also, I’m always doing performances with singing and that is also my challenge in “CrosSing You”.

So, before we round off. I want to do a quick game of “this or that”. Are you ready?

Yes [smiles].

Cats or dogs?

Dogs.

Mountains or beach?

Beach.

Coffee or tea?

Ah… Tea! [Laughs]

Japanese food or western food?

Japanese food.

Guitar or piano?

[Struggles and puts hands on head] Argh, g- guitar! [Laughs]

Anime or manga?

Anime.

Summer or winter?

Winter [laughs].

That was interesting [laughs]. Before we go, please leave a message to all your overseas fans who tuned in.

It was my first time having an interview in English. I was very nervous, but it was a good experience for me and I enjoyed this time. I’m trying to improve my English to meet everyone, speak and sing in English.

I want to do a world tour in the future. So, if I visit your country, please come to my concert and let’s enjoy the time with me. Thank you!

Thank you very much!


It was a lovely experience talking with JUNNA, and we are excited to see where her bright career will lead her. We are also deeply honored to have conducted JUNNA’s first-ever interview in English, and we wish JUNNA all the best in her journey and look forward to following her future endeavors!

If you’re interested, you can catch her latest album Dear via the links below.

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Stream
CD
  1. DEAR
    Dear
  2. THE SEA AND A PEARL
    海と真珠
  3. FUREBA AMAGASA
    振レバ、雨傘。
  4. AIMAI NA FUTARI
    曖昧な2人
  5. AYAMACHI
    あやまち
  6. HARUNOYUME
    春の夢
  7. THE ROUTE OF THE SUN
    太陽の航路
  8. THE END
    THE END
  9. KAZENOOTOSAE KIKOENAI
    風の音さえ聞こえない
  10. REVOLUTION
    REVOLUTION
  11. YOU + ME = ?
    You + Me = ?
  12. SEIZA
    星座
CD
  1. DEAR
    Dear
  2. THE SEA AND A PEARL
    海と真珠
  3. FUREBA AMAGASA
    振レバ、雨傘。
  4. AIMAI NA FUTARI
    曖昧な2人
  5. AYAMACHI
    あやまち
  6. HARUNOYUME
    春の夢
  7. THE ROUTE OF THE SUN
    太陽の航路
  8. THE END
    THE END
  9. KAZENOOTOSAE KIKOENAI
    風の音さえ聞こえない
  10. REVOLUTION
    REVOLUTION
  11. YOU + ME = ?
    You + Me = ?
  12. SEIZA
    星座
  13. MELODY OF REVOLUTION
    革命のメロディ
  14. THE ROUTE OF THE SUN
    the route of the sun
Blu-ray
  1. ORIGINAL SHORT ANIME WINTER GIFT
    オリジナルショートアニメ「冬のおくりもの」
  2. DEAR (Music Video)
    Dear (Music Video)
  3. KAZENOOTOSAE KIKOENAI (Music Video)
    風の音さえ聞こえない (Music Video)
  4. OPENING
    Opening
  5. FREEDOM-NEVER END-
    FREEDOM~Never End~
  6. STEPPIN'OUT
    Steppin’Out ~extended version~
  7. LA VIE EN ROSE
    La Vie en rose
  8. MC1
    MC1
  9. ABAYO YESTERDAY
    あばよイエスタデイ
  10. SLEEPLESS
    Sleepless
  11. KONOYUBITOMARE
    コノユビトマレ -20×20 ver.-
  12. MC2
    MC2
  13. NAMIUCHIGIWA
    波打ち際
  14. HERE
    Here
  15. MC3
    MC3
  16. IMA
    いま
  17. SKY
    Sky
  18. HIASOBI
    火遊び
  19. BELIEVE IN MYSELF
    Believe In Myself
  20. NOW OR NEVER
    Now or Never
  21. MC4
    MC4
  22. WE ARE
    We are
  23. SEKAIWO KETOBASE
    世界を蹴飛ばせ!
  24. VAI! YA! VAI!
    Vai! Ya! Vai!
  25. WARE HA SHOUSETSUYORIMO KI NARI
    我は小説よりも奇なり
  26. IRUIMI
    イルイミ
  27. MC5
    MC5
  28. THE SEA AND A PEARL
    海と真珠
  29. MC6
    MC6
  30. HAJIMARINO UTA
    はじまりの唄
  31. ENDING
    Ending