Meet Lebanese Musical Phenom, Japan, Man

Meet Lebanese Musical Phenom, Japan, Man

Meet Lebanese Musical Phenom, Japan, Man

This über-talented 15-year-old oozes understated girl power.

This über-talented 15-year-old oozes understated girl power.

Text: Allison Foster

Laeticia Acra, a.k.a. Japan, Man, is out with a mesmerizing new visual. The song, “Cautious,” one of six from the 15-year-old’s auspicious debut, The Bad Days. Said EP, which dropped on Soundcloud last week, is a small wonder of sprawling bedroom pop, sure to (eventually) fill venues. 

In the span of the EP, Japan, Man makes her singer-songwriter chops stunningly clear: She has a knack for pairing complex lyrics and dreamy vocals, and doing justice to her cited influences, which range from Thom Yorke to The Cardigans. 

The bright and bubbly animated video is just as unique, further articulating the fact that, despite her early station in life, Japan, Man knows just what she wants. Here, V catch up with the Lebanese musician, and exclusively premiere the video for “Cautious.” 

Photo: Victor Acra

V Tell me a little bit about the motivation behind “Cautious.” What was it like writing it and creating the video? 

Japan, Man When I wrote “Cautious”, I was trying to stress how hard relationships of any form can be. In my experience, I've always felt like “the pleaser”and I’m sure many people can relate to this. All we really crave in life is affection, comfort, and we achieve this through cooperating with our counterparts.

The lyrics are purposely meant to show how a person can feel so overwhelmingly lost and trapped by these emotions of unreciprocated love. You feel as though you are lost in outer space, out of touch from your counterparts. When you’re being dragged down by a relationship, all you want is the slightest bit of gentleness and care. Lily Shaul, who actually directed and animated the video, captured these ideas majestically and I remember being blown away the first time I saw it.

Photo: Victor Acra

V This is a track from your new EP, The Bad Days. What do you want listeners to take away from that project?

JM This my very first EP, so I’m grateful for all the love I have received for it. This EP is filled with lyrics straight from my heart, I put so much of myself into these songs. So much sadness, anger, and even joy. I wrote “Stop Staring” when I just turned 14. I had this fear of time and how it stops for no one. That was just so terrifying to me. I felt like time was just always watching me hence, “stop staring”(which is basically me telling time to fuck off). From that first song, you can see how much raw emotion was poured into these songs. I’d say this EP is a look into my head and it just means a lot to me.

V Your music is super funk- and ’70s-influenced, but feels modern, too. Who are some of your biggest influences for your music? 

JM When I write my lyrics, I look up to Thom Yorke. I just love how eye-opening and phenomenal his lyrics are. And the dynamic that the lyrics have with the sound just blows me away. I aspire to be on his level one day. Sonically, Men I Trust has had a huge impact on my music. I also really like ‘The First Band on The Moon’ by The Cardigans. “Iron Man” has one of the most epic bass lines I’ve ever heard and I really like it when my songs are filled with bass lines that remind me of them.

V How have you been finding creative inspiration in quarantine? 

JM I am watching so many movies, listening to so much music, and finding new stuff too. Some films and TV shows I've seen that really inspired me are Magnolia, Juno, Breathless, and Over The Garden Wall. I’ve been rewatching some of my favorite movies like Her, Mother!, and Lost in Translation. I’ve also been listening to The Flaming Lips and Kings of Convenience during these past few months. I’ve become properly obsessed with Radiohead: I’ve found so much inspiration in Thom Yorke’s lyrics.

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