Gwen Stefani shares her love for everything Japanese
NO DOUBT Gwen Stefani is hoping her latest super kawaii (cute) venture is a hit with the younger generation.
The American singer, songwriter and fashion designer has tapped into production companies Moody Street Kids and Vision Animation to create a new children's TV series inspired by her own experiences.
Herself and her sidekicks, the Harajuku Girls.
The main character is G, lead singer of the animated girl band HJ5 which features the Harajuku Girls, and with her big blonde hair, eye for fashion and musical flair she is the lead singer of the animated girl band HJ5, G is as much a superstar as the woman who inspired the character.
The series, Kuu-Kuu Harajuku, is a collision of cultures, a kaleidoscope of music, fashion and style.
Gwen Stefani took time out of her busy schedule to explain her connection with the new project to APN.
Q. What sparked your passion for the Harajuku street fashion and youth culture? How has this influenced you creatively?
A. I feel like travelling the world impacted me in ways that I never even knew possible. The first time I went to Japan I felt this incredible pull toward the culture because of all of the traditions and then all the futurist, modern sensibilities. In Japan, the attention to detail and care about everything, whether it be food presentation or layering outfits or wrapping gifts and packages, it's all completely inspiring to me. Everything is telling a story. I love when Japanese culture takes other cultures and interprets it in its own unique way. I was immediately attracted to all of these things and will continue to be for the rest of my life.
Q. How did the project with Moody Street and Vision Animation come about?
A. I've been wanting to do an animated or live-action Harajuku TV show or movie since the conception of my dance records Love Angel Music Baby. It was one of the first things that I wanted to do. I wanted to do that along with the music. That was over 10 years ago now. It is a dream come true that it's now actually happening. I never really dreamed that it would come to life in the way that it has. It is such a quality work of art with a team that is so devoted.
Q. What are the core values of the Harajuku Girl characters that you want young viewers to embrace?
A. Self-expression, confidence in who you are, uniqueness and individuality, be sparkly, be curious, never give up, be resilient, be determined, be stylish, be creative. Basically they need to be me.
Q. The artwork is amazing. What was your reaction when you first saw this world come to life?
A. It took my breath away. The level of them understanding in terms of my taste and my vision, the team just took it to a place that I couldn't have even dreamt of in my mind. To me the artwork is so beautiful and everything about it is perfect and super kawaii. I couldn't even imagine it any better.
Q. Why do you think this series will resonate with kids, what gives it its international appeal?
A. I think this will resonate with kids globally because kids want to laugh, and kids want to see silly things happen. Kids love to be in an imaginary world and this cartoon has no boundaries. It literally has so much fantasy going on that your mind can go anywhere and I think that that is a global and universal thing. People like to escape.
Q. The show is also filled with music, is music an important tool for reaching kids today?
A. Music is an important tool for reaching all human beings. Music is one of the biggest gifts that we have been given in this world. It's kind of an unexplainable thing when you see a baby react to music the way that they do. You see that it's an inborn gift that we all gravitate towards and that brings so much joy. Music captures emotion so well. Music will always be important in life and it was really important to me that it be incorporated into the series.
Q. What's been your experience working on the series, and what are your hopes for it as it launches?
A. The experience of working on the show has been nothing short of mind blowing. With this brand, every artist and collaborator that has gotten involved took it to a place that I couldn't even dream of. The characters are unstoppable. The Harajuku Girls can do anything, they can wear anything, and they can be anything. And that's what this cartoon has been. Everybody that's touching this show is so passionate about it and believes in it and really gets it. It has saturated DNA.
Kuu Kuu Harajuku airs Sundays at 10am on ELEVEN.