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Celebrity Travel: Go away with Kento

Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Content Agency on

Singer-songwriter-producer Kentö said that growing up in Japan, Canada, Brazil and the United States with his multicultural family (Japanese, French, Canadian, Brazilian) had a positive impact on his music. “I get a lot of inspiration from both Brazilian and Japanese drum beats as well as traditional instruments,” said the "Silhouette" singer, who is based out of New York City. “You can hear these influences a lot in my music wrapped up in a little pop bow, of course. I grew up listening to singers from all over the world like Freddie Mercury, Ivete Sangalo, Ayumi Hamasaki and Sylvie Vartan. (They’re) very different artists, but all iconic voices that I tried to emulate growing up and, in my own way, shaped the style and tone of my voice today.” Kentö stays in touch with fans on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/kentoofficial/), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kentoofficial) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/kentoofficial).

Q: What was it like growing up in Japan?

A: Japan is an extremely safe place for children. I feel like you really feel a sense of community all around you. I feel really lucky to have had a major part of my life there. As an artistic child, being surrounded by festivals, beautiful landscape, architecture, fashion, art and, of course, food was inspiring every single day.

Q: Did you deal with any kind of prejudice or microaggressions growing up?

A: I definitely did. I try to keep an open mind in understanding the why instead of being upset about it. However, there were definitely times where I found myself feeling like I wasn’t Japanese enough. Constantly being called gaijin (foreigner) and feeling this need to reassure people that I spoke Japanese are just a few examples of what it is like on a daily basis. That being said, Japan is home and I have immense love in my heart for the way I grew up and for my adult years back there. In 2013, I got to compose the opening theme for a documentary film that was shown in major theaters all across the country called “Hafu,” about what it’s like to be a mixed-race person in Japan.

Q: If you had travel plans for these past two years and had to cancel due to the pandemic, where were they to?

 

A: My 2020 and 2021 were meant to be very different. Right before the pandemic began, I had spent a month in Los Angeles, Calif., writing and recording. The day after I returned to New York, we were going into lockdown. It was all very scary at first. I think we all sort of thought things would just be postponed for a short amount of time. But then after that first month, things got very real. Shows I had lined up, recording sessions and travel and tour dates all over the United States, as well as to Tokyo and London, had to be indefinitely canceled.

Q: What are your hopes for the upcoming years?

A: Definitely being able to make up for lost time is important. However, I’ve also realized that it is very important to be able to let go and make new plans. I am still planning on making trips and also starting to plan my show schedule right now. Will definitely be making those announcements soon. Very grateful we are starting to see things getting to a place where we can travel and do what we love once again.

Q: What is your favorite vacation destination?

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