Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama (she/her) is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and one of the most exciting artists to break through from last year. Born in Japan and raised in London, Rina’s music confronts the issues of identity and conflict with a wild blend of nineties and early noughties influences - everything from Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani, to Evanescence and Limp Bizkit. 

Rina’s been singing since she was little, but took her first official steps into the music world by joining a hip-hop group at school with Wolf Alice’s Theo Ellis. She broke into the public eye in 2017 with her self-titled EP and in 2018, she released the sex-positive ‘Cherry’, which served as a public declaration of her pansexuality. After finishing a tour with kindred alternative pop spirit Charli XCX, Sawayama signed with Dirty Hit (also home to The 1975) and in April 2020, released her genre-defying debut album ‘Sawayama’. Rolling Stone called it a "thrilling musical adventure" and Elton John proclaimed it “the strongest album of the year by far”; "Rina Sawayama," concluded Paper Magazine, "is our favourite genre". 

Despite all this, Rina found out she was not eligible for Mercury Prize or BRIT Award nominations because she doesn’t hold a British passport, despite having lived in the UK for 25 years. Her story inspired a social media campaign and she has been in discussions with the BPI to get these rules changed - and she's succeeded!

Rina is a change-maker and true visionary and I feel honoured to be kick-starting this series with her.

Find Rina: @rinasonline

Listen to Rina’s music: http://dirtyh.it/sawayama

Find me: @venetialamanna

Find the show: @ATSTpodcast

Award nomination updates: Rina changes the game

Recommendations from this episode

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Yoga With Adriene

Brene Brown on shame and accountability

This podcast was recorded remotely, please excuse any audio errors.

All The Small Things is co-produced by Holly Falconer, edited by Venetia La Manna, with music composed by William Haxworth and artwork designed by Alex Sedano.


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