J-pop visual-kei icon Yoshiki joined BBC Outside Source‘s Kasia Madera from his home in L.A. to speak about his COVID-19 relief efforts as a musician and desire to keep his fans and friends safe.
Introduced by Madera as a musician who has been “tirelessly telling fans to stay indoors,” the X JAPAN leader explained that he has been trying to communicate the gravity of the virus to fans and friends in Japan from his own experience living in L.A., where the damage struck earlier than in his home country.
“Depending on where you live, the information you get was different,” he explained. “Japan happened to be… getting the information a little later. I was urging my Japanese fans to be prepared for this, don’t take this one lightly. I was really concerned about my fans’ health and everything.” Watch the interview below:
Yoshiki also spoke in depth about his “Sing For Life” collaboration with Bono, will.i.am and Jennifer Hudson, inspired by Italians singing from their balconies. He accompanies the other three stars on piano, and the music video shows them performing the song individually from their respective homes.
The “Forever Love” artist said the purpose of the song was to “lift up spirits.” “Even though we are kind of staying at home alone, kind of physical distancing, I’d rather take physical distancing over social distancing,” he said.
“We are not completely alone. We can still connect, you know, still share our thoughts, our hearts, everything. So that song is about ‘we are not alone.'” Watch the video below:
He also spoke earnestly about his desire to do what he can to assist medical staff battling the pandemic on the front lines. “As a musician, I would like to really support my fellow colleagues,” he said. “But at the same time, we are not the only ones hit by this COVID-19 crisis. So I would like to support, as of now, healthcare workers. I mean, they’re the ones saving our lives. I would like to keep supporting these people.”
“I really, really care about all those people,” he continued, his voice breaking at times from emotion. “Again, first of all, my fans are important. Maybe more than my life, because my life was supported by them. My father committed suicide and my band member died, and my fans are the ones who saved me, saved my life. So I really want to support my fans and my friends.”
Yoshiki recently made a $100,000 donation to the Grammy’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, which supports musicians that have been affected by the pandemic.