Exclusive Interview with Tokyo, based Singer-songwriter, Risa Kumon

Today, we’re introducing one of the most talented R&B/Soul singer-songwriters on the rise that you need to know in 2022. Risa Kumon is a Bilingual Singer-songwriter originally from Sasebo-City, Nagasaki, but now resides in Tokyo, Japan. Risa sings a variety of genres but mainly specializes in R&B, Jazz, and Soul.

Besides being a singer-songwriter, Risa is a notable media name as a multilingual Radio personality who interviews celebrities and other entertainers on their visits to Japan. Risa has previously interviewed Kirk Franklin, Corinne Bailey Rae, Brian McKnight, and many more.

Risa has also performed at some of the largest music festivals in Japan and has reached the top of the charts multiple times in her career already. Her new single “FREE” has been making noise globally, so we got a chance to get an exclusive interview to talk about her music career, inspiration, and the latest in her life so far in the music industry.


1. What inspired you to sing?

From a young age, I was naturally attracted to music and singing. I think it may be because My father listened to various genres of music and that naturally created a comfortable place between me and music. Singing brought me joy, a feeling of accomplishment, and I always felt comfortable doing it.

I was impressed by the new sounds and voices I heard daily. I was introduced to Hip-hop/ R&B and Gospel music from the movie Sister’s Act 2 as a child. It was a particularly shocking experience for me. I got goosebumps and was surprised that there was music that existed like that. I still vividly remember my body responding to the rhythms and voices I heard. I was overwhelmed by Lauryn Hill’s unique singing voice, and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since.

2. How was your musical Journey growing up in Japan?

Due to a sickness I lost my eyesight when I was 3 years old, but I miraculously recovered my vision around the age of 4. That happens to be around the same time I started learning to play the piano and ear training. I was playing classical music at the time and liked it in its own way, but I felt a little unfulfilled when playing certain scores of music.

In high school, I changed my major from piano to vocal music, majoring in Italian Opera and that made me realize how much I liked singing better. At the time, I was singing Japanese and American Pop music at karaoke’s and imitating various ways of singing.

In particular, I would sing songs from Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Misia, and practice many other challenging songs. Among them, I sang Western music at school events, learned hip-hop dances, sang R&B and Soul in clubs when I was in college and listened to Dj mixes. I also started a jazz band, played Saxophone , and enjoyed doing what I wanted to do musically.