In my opinion, the morning (2 hours after you wake up) is the best time to come up with new ideas using your brain. Try to get some ideas for your business, plans, compositions (if you are a musician), 2 hours after you get up. That would be the movement I’d like to start.
As part of my series featuring the rising stars in the music industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Masa Takumi. Masa is an award-winning Japanese musician, composer, songwriter, and producer. Most of his work has been done in Japan, but he has also won acclaim for his work internationally. Notably, he received Grammy nominations for his work with SLY & ROBBIE in 2014 and 2015. Masa was born in Osaka, Japan. His journey as a musician began at age 8 playing the trumpet in his elementary school’s brass band. Influenced by YOSHIKI from X JAPAN then He was 13 years And discovering his love for music, he began playing the drums and composing at the young age of 12. By the time he had graduated high school, he had also already learned the drums, guitar, bass, and piano on his own. In 2000, Masa debuted under the major record label BMG JAPAN in the rock band “siren” as a drummer, songwriter, and sound producer. After disbanding in 2004, he switched to working full time as a composer and producer. In Asia, he produced hits for many majors artists such as EXILE, DA PUMP, AAA, KARA, FT ISLAND, Park Yong Ha,ViViD,Alice Nine and DIR EN GREY among others. His top album sold over 2 million copies, and his work on AAA’s album “Call” won the Excellence Album Award at The 53rd Japan Record Awards. He has worked with several major US artists, including the renowned US rock artists, vocalist Eric Martin and drummer Terry Bozzio. Masa worked on Martin’s 2012 album “MR.ROCK VOCALIST” as the producer, guitarist and drummer; and as the music director for Bozzio’s Japan solo live performance “History of Terry Bozzio.” Masa has also done soundtrack work for Japanese animation titles such as “Claymore” and “Witchcraft.” In 2014, Masa received a nomination at the 56th Grammy Awards for the album “REGGAE CONNECTION,” where he worked as a guitarist and keyboardist with the legendary reggae musicians and producers SLY & ROBBIE. He also received another Grammy nomination in 2015 working with them on the album “REGGAE POWER.” And now, under the name “MASA,” he has begun his work as an true multi-instrumental artist, performing all the instruments on his albums.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was in elementary school, my teacher suggested that I join the brass band as a trumpeter. That was my first step into the music world. I performed with almost 50 people and the musical harmony created by all these instruments was really inspiring. This pushed me onto the path of music.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your music career?
In 2010, I just happened to join in on an album called “One Pop Reggae” as a guitarist and this album was nominated at the 53rd Grammys. I attended the Grammys for the first time and this experience changed my life.
I couldn’t speak English at the time but the Grammys motivated me to study the language.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
I am producing my next album called “Heritage” which is a traditional Japanese instrumental album. This album will be released in 2020.
I play the Piano, Drums, Bass, Guitar, and Shamisen.
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
All musicians, writers, and producers. Even a child playing sounds is very unique and interesting to me. When I write music with U.S. musicians, I’m very influenced by the difference in the way they create music.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Hideki Saijo, who is a very famous singer in Japan and also happens to be my uncle, and YOSHIKI (from the band X Japan).
From the time I was born I would always listen to my uncle’s songs and since he would be first to cover English songs for the first time in Japan, I was very influenced by this.
After I started a rock band, I was extremely influenced by YOSHIKI’s Speedy double bass drums, beautiful melody and compositions. I became a multi instrumentalist because Yoshiki plays both the Piano and the Drums.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to heal everyone’s sadness and farewells to passed family members because I too lost my father as a young man.
My main song called “Eternal Love” is about beauty of the family.
My thoughts are that even if one family member passes away, we must stay connected to one another no matter where we are.
So I try to express this feeling through my music.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
In my opinion, the morning (2 hours after you wake up) is the best time to come up with new ideas using your brain.
Try to get some ideas for your business, plans, compositions (if you are a musician), 2 hours after you get up. That would be the movement I’d like to start.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
If you’re tired, just stop and rest for a while but don’t quit. You don’t need to decide to “Quit” because we can restart everything whenever we want. If you decide to quit, that makes you stop mentally. And If you get depressed by someone else’s success, just give yourself a compliment on something that you already achieved no matter what that may be.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Copy the people you respect first
2. Don’t be afraid of mistakes
3. Don’t focus solely on the results. Take care of the process
4. Don’t mind the people who laugh at what you are trying to accomplish
5. Fake it ’til you make it
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
That would be Alan Silvestri, who is the composer for the film “Back To The Future.” That’s my favorite film and music.
He made this film a huge success through his music and I feel my heart becoming whole whenever I hear this theme song. In addition to the music, my favorite line in the film is “Your future hasn’t been written yet”
I love this line and it’s true as a decade ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself being interviewed by you for this article!
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Thank you for these great insights. This was very inspiring!