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Sena Kana talks about ‘Up,’ working with Wiz Khalifa and Sheppard (Includes interview)

Her passion for music began at a really young age when she was drawn to the songs and the storytelling in such musicals as The Sound of Music. Despite the language barriers, she was transfixed by the stories and sounds. As a result, she was inspired and invigorated, and she spent her days in school doing music and theater.

The ability to give others peace and joy through music is what inspired Kana to follow her dreams. While at a music academy, she majored in vocal music, where she studied classic fundamental music techniques and learned songs such as Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and “The Marriage of Figaro.”

On her song “Up,” she explained, “The inspiration that fills me when I sing this song can be described like this. I feel entrapped, surrounded by four walls. I repeatedly tell myself, ‘I’m okay, I’m okay.’ Suddenly, my body begins to go up and up, and I realize that the walls weren’t obstacles at all. That sort of feeling gave me a lot of inspiration.”

For Kana, it was a “great experience” to collaborate with rapper Wiz Khalifa and Sheppard. “Wiz Khalifa and Sheppard are artists that I truly respect. I am honored that they joined me on this song,” he said.

On her songwriting and musical inspirations, she said, “Ever since I was little, I have loved films, especially musicals. Since Japan is an island nation, for most Japanese people there is an image of foreign countries being very distant; however, thanks to movies, I felt very close to such places despite not traveling overseas very often.”

“Those films also gave me the feeling that music was like magic, that singing could make anything possible,” she said. “There are many scary things in this world. That is why music is at the center of everything for me. Even still, I feel that the power of the human heart has the ability to erase violence from this world.”

“With this magic, song, being able to accomplish anything, I came to feel that music has the ability to create a better world in which people from all nations could come together hand in hand. I wish to use songs to cross borders and help create a warmer world,” she said.

“I find myself inspired by all parts of my life, including the wind, water, nature, films, and books. Conversely, the song actually teaches me the beauty of all these things,” she added.

On being an artist in the digital age, she said, “The way we listen to music has changed a lot in the past 10 years. For artists, I feel our field for expression has greatly expanded and social media has allowed artists and fans have become closer.”

“I think these services are the number one reason that the way we listen to music has changed. For music fans, I think that they are very important tools for searching for new music. For artists, I think that these are important platforms to deliver music to even more potential fans,” she elaborated.

For young and aspiring singers, she said, “If you continue to pursue your dreams, they will come true. Believe in yourself. Envision the real, tangible steps you need to take to achieve your dreams. I also think it is important to carefully consider what you want to do once you make those dreams come true. If you envision your journey up to that point, your dreams are certain to come true. So continue to believe in yourself and work hard every day. This is not only true for aspiring singers. This is one message I would like to express to all people.”

She listed the late but great Michael Jackson as her dream collaboration choice in music. “As for currently active artists, I would like to collaborate with Ed Sheeran and Drake,” she said.

For her fans, she concluded about “Up,” “Even if you are feeling entrapped or blocked, if you simply continue to tell yourself ‘I’m okay,’ I believe that you can overcome whatever is troubling you. So let’s keep going up together and do our best.”

To learn more about Sena Kana, check out her Facebook page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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