Rina Sawayama Biography
Sawayama was born on August 16th, 1990 in the prefecture of Niigata in Japan.  She remained a resident of that city up until the age of five, at which point her family made the decision to relocate to London, which is where she was brought up and where she presently resides. In the United Kingdom, she has what’s known as an indefinite leave to remain (ILR) visa. Sawayama claims that the family had intended to move back to Japan when she turned ten years old, but in the end, they decided to remain in London. Sawayama had a hard time comprehending her instructors and her classmates because she was unable to speak or communicate in English. Pop music was the medium through which she eventually connected with others. She started posting music covers on Myspace when she was sixteen years old, and while she was in sixth form, she formed a hip hop group that was called Lazy Lion.
Sawayama received her education at Magdalene College, Cambridge, where she focused on the social sciences of sociology, psychology, and politics. She attended the university and earned a degree in political science before graduating.
2013–2016: Early career
Sawayama kicked off her career as a solo artist in February 2013, releasing the single “Sleeping in Waking.” The track was produced by Justin “Hoost” Tailor. Make Mine, a record label based in the United Kingdom, issued a 7-inch vinyl version of the single in April 2013, which featured a new song with the title “Who?” as the B-side. Under the stage name “Riina,” she released the single “Terror” on Halloween of that same year, which was later in the year. Sawayama would later disclose the reason why she only used her first name in an interview for the 2021 issue of Billboard. She stated that the reason was because her last name was “an inconvenience.”
She debuted the music video for her song “Tunnel Vision,” which was directed by Arvida Bystrom and published in June of 2015. In 2016, she released the single “Where U Are,” which was accompanied by a music video that Alessandra Kurr had helped direct in collaboration.  Sawayama explained how the human interaction with digital media was investigated in the single by saying: “When you’re online, you can present the version of yourself that looks and sounds the best, and the warmth of your overheating phone can stand in for actual human contact. The strangest thing of all is that despite being together, you feel incredibly isolated.” The song has been referred to as “nostalgic greatness,” “ultra-sweet and shimmering pop,” and “90s R&B pop perfection,” among other superlatives.
2017–2020: Debut EP and Sawayama
Her single “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” was released for the first time on The Fader in March of 2017. Sawayama gave the following explanations regarding the origins of the track’s themes: “The digital world has the potential to provide life-sustaining support networks, voices of solidarity, safe havens, and avenues of escape. The concepts of pessimism, optimism, anxiousness, and freedom are what the term “Cyber Stockholm Syndrome” refers to.” Following the release of her debut extended play (EP) Rina in 2017, she released the singles “Alterlife” and “Tunnel Vision,” which was a collaboration with Shamir. the time, Sawayama was an unsigned artist, and she released Rina on her own accord; she confirmed on Twitter that she worked for two to three years to save money for the EP’s release. The EP was praised by The Guardian as being “bracing and modern,” and the publication noted that Sawayama had demonstrated that “she can shepherd pop into the future, too.” Pitchfork included Rina on its list of the year’s best albums in the categories of pop and R&B. Sawayama celebrated Valentine’s Day with the release of their single “Valentine” in 2018. In June of 2018, the music video for the song “Ordinary Superstar” was made available to the public. Sawayama published the song “Cherry” in August of 2018, in which she discusses her sexual identity. Sawayama started her Ordinary Superstar Tour in late 2018, traveling all over the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. In 2019, she toured the United Kingdom as the opening act for Charli XCX’s tour as the supporting act. Sawayama released the singles “STFU!” and “Comme des Garcons (Like the Boys)” in 2020, both from her then-upcoming debut album. “STFU!” is a nu-metal, heavy metal, pop, and avant-pop song, and “Comme des Garcons (Like the Boys)” is a “homage to early 2000s dance tracks.” Sawayama signed with Dirty Hit records in 2020. On March 2, a third single titled “XS,” which was inspired by rock and R&B from the 2000s, was made available. The following month saw the release of “Chosen Family,” which was Sawayama’s second single taken from the album. Sawayama, her debut album, was released on April 17 and has garnered praise from music critics all over.
As part of the Singles series on Spotify, she unveiled her rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Dance in the Dark” in the month of June 2020. Sawayama’s rendition of the song features nu-metal-influenced electropop rather than the Europop sound featured in the original recording. The song was recorded in Sawayama’s home studio. Clarence Clarity was primarily responsible for producing both the album and the aforementioned song.
Due to the fact that Sawayama does not have British citizenship, she was unable to be considered for nominations for major British music awards such as the Mercury Prize and the BRIT Awards in late July of 2020. These awards are among the most prestigious in the UK’s music industry. Shortly after that, the hashtag “#SawayamaIsBritish” started trending on Twitter in the United Kingdom. Sawayama’s campaign received significant online support from Elton John, who wrote that he was “happy to hear that the [BPI] are reviewing the rules that led to Rina Sawayama’s well-deserved album being snubbed from this year’s [Mercury Prize] list of nominees.” Sawayama’s album was omitted from this year’s Mercury Prize list of nominees. Later on, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) modified the eligibility requirements so that anyone who had remained in the United Kingdom, including her, could compete for the award. Sawayama made her first appearance on television on October 26, 2020, when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and performed the song “XS.” The following month, she disseminated a track under the moniker “Lucid,” which was produced by BloodPop. On December 4, 2020, the deluxe edition of Sawayama was made available for purchase.
2021–present: Hold the Girl
In April 2021, Sawayama and Elton John collaborated on an updated version of their song “Chosen Family,” which was released under their respective names as a duet. Sawayama was cast in the John Wick film series’ fourth installment the following month after the announcement was made.  Sawayama was included on the list of “100 Japanese people respected by the world” that was compiled by Newsweek Japan in August 2021.  Sawayama’s rendition of “Enter Sandman,” a song originally performed by Metallica, was included on the charity tribute album The Metallica Blacklist, which was released in September 2021.  A reworked version of “Free Woman” by Lady Gaga, performed by Clarence Clarity and Sawayama, was included on the album Dawn of Chromatica, which was released by Gaga on September 3, 2021. Sawayama also began work on her second album to be recorded in a studio in the year 2021. She began the first leg of her Dynasty Tour in November 2021, in support of her debut album. During this leg of the tour, she performed songs from her 2017 EP Rina as well as songs from her 2018 album Sawayama. She performed a new song from her upcoming album titled “Catch Me in the Air” during her show in Glasgow on November 13 and her show in London at the Roundhouse on November 17. Both of these performances took place in November. Sawayama appeared as a featured artist on Charli XCX’s single “Beg for You,” which was released on January 27, 2022. And after that, “Follow Me,” which was performed by the Brazilian drag queen Pabllo Vittar and released on the 31st of March of the same year. Sawayama made the announcement on the 16th of May that her upcoming second studio album, titled Hold the Girl, would be released on the 16th of September 2022. On May 18th, the lead single, titled “This Hell,” was made available. On June 27th, “Catch Me in the Air” was presented to the public for the first time as the album’s second single. On July 27th, the album’s title track, “Hold the Girl,” was made available as the third single from the album. Another single taken from the album, “Phantom,” was made available for purchase on August 25. Hurricanes, the third and final single to be released by Hold The Girl, was made available for purchase on September 12th.
Sawayama has signed contracts with Anti-Agency and Elite Model Management respectively. In 2017, she was selected to star in the fall/winter campaign for Versus x Versace.  She has also been featured in advertising campaigns for Jourdan Dunn’s Missguided, and she penned and performed an original song for Nicola Formichetti’s MAC x Nicopanda called “Play on Me.”  She made an appearance on the Balmain runway in September 2021 as part of the festivities commemorating Olivier Rousteing’s ten-year anniversary as creative director of the French House.
In 2016, Sawayama worked on a visual series with the Taiwanese visual artist John Yuyi to critique the beauty standards of various Asian countries, including Japan. Sawayama’s series was one of those countries. After that, she was featured in an article in Vogue. During the interview, Sawayama discussed the inspiration behind the idea as well as the collaboration that it led to. She stated, “For a lot of women in Japan, these are the expectations people put on them, from anime culture, kawaii culture… that can really put women at a disadvantage, objectifying and infantilizing them.” Nicola Formichetti and Sawayama have collaborated on the MAC x Nicopanda collection. Sawayama’s “Ordinary Superstar” also has a music video that was directed by Formichetti, and it was directed by him. i-D outlined the origins of the partnership in their publication.
Artistry and public image
In 2017, Sawayama was included on two separate lists: the “18 for ’18” list published by The Guardian and the “100 people shaping culture in 2017” list published by Dazed. Sawayama was referred to as “an experimental pop visionary who refuses to play by the rules” by Lady Gaga (see reference number . Her primary musical influences came from artists who were popular in the 1990s and 2000s, such as Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga. Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne, Hikaru Utada,  Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Evanescence, NSYNC, Kylie Minogue, Limp Bizkit,  Pink, Ringo Sheena, Taylor Swift, and Janelle Monáe, among others. Limp Bizkit, Pink, Ringo Sheena, Taylor Swift, and Janelle 
Sawayama announced her sexual orientation in an interview with Broadly in August of 2018, stating: “My songs have always been about female subjects. Because I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned a guy in any of my songs, I figured this would be a good topic to discuss.” She considers herself to be bisexual as well as pansexual.
Sawayama divulged the information in May 2020 that she was attending a virtual class at the University of Oxford.
In July of 2020, she appended her signature to an open letter addressed to Liz Truss, the minister of equality for the United Kingdom, requesting that all forms of LGBT+ conversion therapy be prohibited.
Sawayama disclosed that she suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in an interview with them in September of 2022.