Kanon Wakeshima

a cello vocalist

"Cello vocalist", Kanon Wakeshima, took up the cello at age 3. While in school, she studied Cello and actively performed in classical ensembles. At this time, she began composing music herself and sang in a pop/rock group. Not long after, she entered an audition held by Sony Music Japan, in which she was chosen as a finalist-- winning a contract with Sony label DefSTAR Records.
Kanon's incredible talent caught attention of Visual-kei star Mana (Moi dix Mois, ex-MALICE MIZER). Kanon's rich, haunting sound fit well with the "Gothic & Lolita" street fashion culture for which Mana is well known.  Mana became the producer of Kanon's debut single "still doll" (released in May 2008), and her 1st album "Shinshoku Dolce", which was released in February 2009.  This album saw its release in Europe before Japan; kicked off with the world premiere showcase and an in-store performance at FNAC, the largest media chain in France.  The event was such a success, in fact, that it set a store record for the most people to ever attend an event!  Skyrocketing in international popularity, in July this year she performed at JAPAN EXPO in Paris as well as at OTAKON in Baltimore, USA--also with record audiences for each event.  To promote the release of her U.S. release, she toured the West Coast, performing at such places as the San Francisco Amoeba Music. In August, she sold out her first headlining solo concert, "Kaigateki Ongakukai" at Shibuya O-WEST. In October, she appeared at HELLWEEN LIVE 2009, hosted by VAMPS, and gave a critically acclaimed performance.
Kanon also shows a great talent in drawing. In Fall 2008, she had her first exhibition as a visual artist.  Held at one of the biggest fashion plazas in Japan, Laforet Harajuku, it was a huge success. During her brief West Coast tour in US in 2009, another exhibition of her art was held at LA's Royal-T cafe. She also shares her new works regularly where they can be found posted alongside her diaries on her official website and MySpace.
Kanon Wakeshima will be releasing her much-anticipated 2nd album, "LOLITAWORK LIBRETTO", in July 2010. The title track will feature a French vocalist Solita, daughter of French singer Clementine. A concert tour of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka will follow the album release.


1st ALBUM: "Shinshoku Dolce" [2009]
* including the lead singles "still doll" and "Suna no Oshiro" (theme song to Vampire Knight)


〜The Debut Story of Kanon Wakeshima × Mana〜

To sing, to play the cello, to collect cute things, to draw. Not to forget fabulous clothes and sweets. That is the nineteen year old that stands before us. Her name is Kanon Wakeshima.

“My parents had made up their minds before I was even born that I was to take up music because they’re such great fans of music. The even gave me a musical name. Kanon, is actually taken from canon (and also written as ‘sound of flowers’ in Japanese).”

Thus at the urging of her parents, Kanon, who started playing the cello at age 3, found herself pulled deeper and deeper into the world of music as she grew older. It was when she hit adolescence that her musical interests expanded beyond classical music and into the realm of popular music. That was when she discovered the joy of singing. It was not long before she started songwriting and found her present innovative style of singing and playing the cello.

It was no less than Mana himself that expressed great interest in the incredible anomaly that is Kanon Wakeshima. Not only was Mana the leader of the ultimate art experience MALICE MIZER, but his present Goth Rock Project Moi dix Mois is gaining huge popularity not just in Japan but especially in Europe and other territories overseas. It is this same Mana who announced that he will be producing a female artist for the first time.

“I instinctively knew she was the one when I first saw her not only singing, but also playing the cello. As a lover of classical music, it was the fact that she sang and played the cello that I sensed a world of future possibilities.”

In addition to his musical talents, Mana’s sophisticated aesthetic has led him to branch out from his musical activities and start his own fashion label, Moi-même-moitié. It was Mana that coined the term “Gothic and Lolita” and became the leading figure in the Goth Lolita fashion concept. It goes without being said that this Goth Loli movement which started in Japan has subsequently spread far and wide throughout the world, together with the music genre now known as Visual-Kei. And it is a fact that Mana, the leading authority in both genres is heralded as an iconic figure.

What was it about Kana Wakeshima that captured the imagination of the ingenious Mana? It wasn’t just her perfect pitch cultivated as a result of early training, nor was it that she is the one and only singing cellist. The possibilities he saw in her were many fold.

“There were things about her other than music that intrigued me. First of all, her love of drawing. I share a love for drawings and paintings as well. I’ve seen some of her work and was quite impressed. I was also drawn to her personality. She has a very mature side for a teenager, but at the same time, she’s likely to wear a ring in the shape of a cookie or a piece of candy. She has both the air of a mature adult and a childlike side which is what makes her such a unique individual.”

These endless possibilities that Mana saw in Kanon Wakeshima, together with certain images of her that sparked his imagination eventually took shape in the form of her debut single, “Still Doll”. This song has been used as the ending theme to the popular TV anime, Vampire Knight since April on TV Tokyo.

The illusionary notes to the waltz. The elegant melody of the cello (played by Kanon Wakeshima herself). A touch of electronic new wave hidden in a classical ambience. Kanon Wakeshima’s vocals that glide over this most extraordinary sound has the silky softness of an exquisite piece of chiffon cake, a sweetness that leaves you dreamy eyed and will surely spread gracefully within your ears.

“When I first listened to this song from Mana-sama, I felt as though I was lost , wandering inside a castle…”

That is how Wakeshima describes the song to which she wrote the lyrics to. Her lyrics, that have a way of enhancing the music, have a storytelling quality and a complicated psychological narrative that seem to reflect her own fragile sensibility.

“She and I take a very different lyrical approach. The lyrics to the B-side track called “Kuroi Torikago” (The Black Birdcage) have a totally different feel to them so she’s changed her singing style accordingly. Childlike and yet mature. Her unique personality encompassing these two different sides is quite evident in this debut single.”

This coming May 28th, right in the midst of May flower season, the blossom that is Kanon Wakeshima, cultivated by Mana, will come into full bloom. Experience for yourself how precious and beautiful this flower is.

interview & text by Yuki Sugie