Aimer’s “Zankyosanka” rules Billboard Japan’s 2022 year-end Japan Hot 100, the comprehensive song chart that includes CD sales, streaming, and video views. The J-pop singer’s smash hit, featured as the opener for the entertainment district story arc of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, topped the mid-year chart and continued to be loved by listeners during the second half of 2022, becoming a hit number that symbolizes this past year in Japan.
The 32-year-old songstress celebrated the 10th anniversary of her debut in September 2021, marking the milestone with her domestic arena tour entitled Cycle de 10 ans that ended in October this year. Aimer is wrapping up her anniversary celebrations with the release of a new mini-album called Deep down Dec. 14 and spoke to Billboard Japan over email about her progress over the past year, as well as the turning points and dreams that have come true in the decade since her debut.
“Zankyosanka” hit No. 1 on Billboard Japan’s mid-year Japan Hot 100 and has since remained a long-running favorite for many music listeners. Congratulations on the song topping the 2022 year-end chart.
The song was written by the team I’ve been working with since my debut, and I’m so happy and touched that so many more people than we imagined in the beginning have listened to it. I’m very honored.
What kind of year was 2022 for you?
It was an exciting year, like I’ve been riding various roller coasters repeatedly without getting bored.
If you were to compile a personal song chart for 2022, which song would be No. 1?
I’ve been giving my full attention to my own music, so sometimes there are moments when I distance myself from listening to music, but Lizzo’s “About Damn Time” gave me a lot of energy, so that’s my choice.
Your 10th anniversary concert in October was great. How do you look back on it now?
Thank you so much. It was a live show that we carefully created so we could trace our past ten years and depict the next ten together. I recalled so many memories of each song as I sang them during the concert, which was something I’d never experienced before. I was able to express my gratitude in the form of a live performance to each and every person who discovered me, and was overcome with deep emotion to see people accepting my appreciation.
Could you share a moment from the past decade that you consider to be a turning point?
I think that making my fourth album daydream was a turning point. I was celebrating the fifth anniversary of my debut at the time, and to be able to create music with artists that I respected was a rewarding opportunity. It was very inspiring for me as a musician, and was an occasion that turned my focus outward.
Tell us about your dreams that have come true since your debut. Also, what kind of future do you envision for next year and beyond?
I feel that my biggest dream of continuing to sing has been fulfilled for the past decade in a very gratifying way. I’d like to continue to express and pursue various kinds of music more voraciously in the next ten years, and would like to stand on many stages that I’ve never been to before together with everyone who supports me.
Could you tell us about your new mini album Deep down, which comes out on December 14?
Since I was able to meet many new people through “Zankyosanka,” something I had in mind for one of the themes for the album was “to kick off the next ten years, I want to make music from a perspective I’ve never encountered before.” A number of songs were created during the tour, and “Ivy Ivy Ivy” was written while thinking of all the people I was able to meet at each stop.
The title track “Deep down” is the ending theme for the animated series Chainsaw Man. What was your initial reaction when they offered it to you? Also, what was your impression of Chainsaw Man and what aspects of it did you want to incorporate into the music?
The episode I was offered to write the ending theme for was where “the story suddenly plunges into deep muddy waters,” and I was very honored that they thought I was the right person for the role. I wanted to create a song that symbolized the dark side of Chainsaw Man, which permeates the episode I wrote for, and would trace the deepest parts of the heart with both hands and go even deeper.
Which song do you feel like you were able to break new ground with on Deep down?
All of the songs were written from a slightly new perspective, but I particularly like the title track “Deep down” because I feel like I was able to reach out to the bottom of darkness more than any of my previous songs.
Do you have a message for your audience?
If you discovered me through “Zankyosanka,” it’d make me really happy if you could also get to know the music that I’ve been expressing for the past decade, including my new mini album Deep down.