Artist Spotlight: Japan, Man

    She might be writing music under the moniker Japan, Man, but Laeticia Acra is, in fact, a 15-year-old girl hailing from Beirut. If the name leaves an impression, though, wait till you hear her music — anchoring in a sophisticated but playful blend of funk, soul, and bedroom pop, Acra’s songwriting evokes a kind of poignancy that’s way beyond her years. On ‘I Like To Wait’, from her debut EP The Bad Days, she starts by pondering the impermanence of life (“Are you afraid to die, that there’s no afterlife?”) before showcasing her dark yet quirky sense of humour with a markedly adolescent one-liner: “I’ve got some breaking news, I am so confused.” The opening title track is laced with woozy synths and a spare beat that sounds almost soothing, which is ironic for a track in which she declares that “the bad days are here”, as if in an effort to escape to that “eternal fantasy” that she sings about. With a unique sound that combines the mellow intimacy of a Clairo song with the infectious, laid-back qualities of Men I Trust, The Bad Days is a promising debut EP from a young artist who sure has a lot more to offer.

    We caught up with Laeticia Acra of Japan, Man for this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, where we showcase up-and-coming artists and give them a chance to talk a bit about their music.

    How did you come up with the name Japan, Man?

    To be honest, choosing a name was really difficult since a bunch of the ones I liked were taken. “Tiger Lily” was my first choice but, unfortunately that was already adopted by a band. I decided on going with “Japan, Man” since I wanted a name that really stuck with you. When you find out “Japan, Man” is actually an adolescent girl from Beirut, you remember it! I was also really eager to include a comma in there as a little nod to “Tyler, The Creator.”

    What inspired you to start making music?

    When I was twelve years old, I got into writing poetry. I eventually branched out in to songwriting, and made a lot of progress, very fast. I’ve always had a love for music, and the idea of making music appealed to me greatly. My family is very musically inclined, so the support was definitely present. My uncle, who is the brain behind the production of my songs, also helped me greatly with the launch of the whole project.

    What are some of your influences? 

    I will always look up to Radiohead’s music, and Thom Yorke’s eyeopening lyrics. I am also deeply inspired by the Flaming Lips and, Wayne Coyne’s way of viewing the world with a child-like wonder. Beabadoobee, and Kings of Convenience also influence the energy i’d like to radiate through the aura of my music.

    What’s your songwriting process like?

    So the songwriting process is quite simple. Most of the time it will start with my having an idea frolicking around my head, building lyrics off of that idea, and subsequently matching the mood i’m going for with simple guitar chords.

    What are some of the ideas that went into the making of ‘I Like To Wait’? 

    ‘I Like To Wait’ has lyrics anchored in the idea that good things take so much time to truly blossom. Nothing good comes easily, and you have to learn to trust the process of waiting. It’s critical to stay hopeful. It also touches on how tons of us tend to forget to live in the moment. We are always waiting for the next best thing, when in reality we need to enjoy our moments as they take place, if not we can only enjoy them as memories.

    How has the response to the EP been?

    Considering the fact that this is my first EP, I am very overwhelmed and excited with the response I’ve received. I’m truly proud of how much my uncle and I have accomplished in such a short amount of time.

    What’s next?

    It’s hard to tell what’s coming next. I’m definitely going to keep writing since it’s a great passion of mine. I’m going to keep putting out mellow tunes for people to melt into, and lyrics for people to relate to! That is the plan at least!

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