Sena Kana reached new heights with her song ‘Up,’ and now, she tells us how she wants to raise spirits during the coronavirus epidemic, and how she’s staying positive while under quarantine.
It was a different world when Sena Kana visited HollywoodLife. Her song “Up,” a banger of a collab with Sheppard and Wiz Khalifa, was about to be officially certified Gold by the RIAA, making her the first female Japanese solo artist to accomplish such a feat. She was visiting New York City, the location where her idol Audrey Hepburn filmed Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It felt like Sena – with her powerful songwriting, undeniable charisma, and captivating voice – was about to become the next big sensation to take over America. Then, the novel coronavirus outbreak happened, interrupting everything.
The pandemic might have put life on pause, but it cannot stop Sena’s ascent to the top of the music world. The Tokyo, Japan native first broke out in 2017 with the single, “Live Your Dreams.” It was an international hit, and the song reached No. 1 on the European iTunes Chart. Her second song, “Truth Or Dare,” became a hit in France. Sena’s global success earned her legions of fans across many countries, and her mind has turned towards her followers during this time of crisis. Though she is one person, one voice, she is ready to lend it to offer a moment of relief.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of news about people suffering,” she tells HollywoodLife via email, “facing harsh moments and losing kindness to the ones around since the corona pandemic. I am sure that it will take time, but I want to keep on singing to make these people smile and live with hope. I wish for the day that peace will prevail on Earth.” Sena also spoke with us about the success of her song, “Up” (she recently released the Dzeko remix), why she relates so profoundly to Audrey Hepburn, and what she’s been doing to keep herself grounded during the quarantine.
HollywoodLife: What have you been listening to or watching or reading during your time within quarantine?
Sena Kana: Since I’ve been spending a lot of my time at home, I’ve been watching movies and listening to music that I’ve enjoyed in the past, as well as ones that I had been meaning to watch from before. Music and other subscription services had made movies and music more and more accessible, and I am grateful to have access to them whenever. I’ve also been playing some video games, which I hadn’t since I was a child, and it brought back a lot of childhood memories. But after all, I’ve been singing the most. I appreciate that I can sing still during these times and have been singing many new songs too.
What was your first thought after hearing you became the first Japanese female solo act to be certified Gold in the United States?
I was so honored. I want to continue to share my music with everyone in the US and across the world!
Why do you think your song “Up” resonated with listeners in America?
With “Up,” the inspiration that filled me can be described like this. I feel entrapped, surrounded by four walls. I repeatedly tell myself, “I’m okay, I’m okay.” Suddenly, my body begins to go up and up, and I realize that the walls weren’t obstacles at all. I feel like in our modern world, this sense of being entrapped is universal. While I am Japanese, I feel like I can share that feeling of becoming free with everyone in the US. Through this song, I wish that everyone can be filled with a sense of hope.
The song features Wiz Khalifa. Was he someone you’ve always wanted to work with? What was it like to shoot the video with him?
Wiz Khalifa is an artist I respect. I always knew of him, of course, but actually working with him allowed me to see for myself how incredibly talented he is.
I read that you presented Wiz Khalifa a 300-year-old samurai sword. What was his reaction to such a thoughtful and unique gift?
When the samurai sword I presented to him was forged in Japan 300 years ago, it was a weapon used in battle. Now, 300 years later, it has become a work of art that represents Japan and has the ability to enrich people’s hearts. He was really happy to hold such a cool piece of art in his hands.
You also cite Audrey Hepburn as an influence. Why is it about Audrey that draws you to her?
Audrey Hepburn was elegant, graceful, and dignified. Her fashion inspired women across the world, so that even now her look is one that people try to mimic. As she also worked toward world peace, I am drawn to her as a figure who nurtured the world around her.
With your love for movies, do you think you will branch out into films? Perhaps make a short film for one of your songs in the year?
Yes, I would love to take on that sort of challenge!
When the quarantine is lifted, and it’s safe to go out and socialize again?
Although I’ve been singing during the quarantine, I want to be able to sing in front of everyone and delivery my music directly as soon as possible. Also, I’ve been hearing a lot of news about people suffering, facing harsh moments, and losing kindness to the ones around since the corona pandemic. I am sure that it will take time, but I want to keep on singing to make these people smile and live with hope. I wish for the day that peace will prevail on Earth.
“Up” is out now.