In Review: Rina Sawayama- The Girl You Want to Watch

Rina Sawayama has a unique positionality in contemporary pop. The Japanese-British singer-songwriter sings of hyperconnectivity and makes pop songs for the digital age, reflecting on the isolation a digital existence creates.

Despite her themes of loneliness, Sawayama sought to connect with her fans and largely succeeded. The rising pop artist has built a loyal following called Pixels through her personable interactions and social media posts. Similarly, Sawayama often took the time in between songs to speak with her audience and at one point, engaged them to start singing one of her more popular tracks before she took the helm. From the very beginning, Sawayama was in tune with her audience and did not let up; her energy was boundless.

Sawayama takes every possible pop-performer trope and integrates it into her set, including (but not limited to) at least three outfit changes, backup dancers and accompanying choreography. That being said, the choreography could have benefited from more use of the stage, as dancing was primarily limited to the center. Despite this dancing, Sawayama managed to maintain consistent vocal quality throughout the performance.

In the short time span of her career thus far, Sawayama has established herself a powerful new presence in music. Her unique blend of early 2000s pop, JPop, and cyberpunk influences has set her apart from many of her contemporaries. Big things are coming from Sawayama in the future and she is definitely the girl you want to watch.


Jared Ortaliza