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Ena Mori Talks About New Music Inspiration And Performing Abroad

The Filipino-Japanese singer shares her preparation for her upcoming release, what inspires her, her recent show overseas, and more

In a recent Instagram post, it appears that singer ena mori is busy “plotting” something new—teasing fans with a sneak peek of her preparations for her upcoming music release. In the short video, she cozies up in her music chair while she plays with her keyboard and takes down notes in between, focused on crafting her next masterpiece. While the Filipino-Japanese artist told Metro.Style that she’s “not rushing” and “taking my time” when asked about her new project, it seems like we’re getting a fresh drop sooner than we think!

Ena Mori made her comeback with the eclectic single “Heartache Generation” just last March, two years after her highly-successful debut album DON’T BLAME THE WILD ONE! The piece chronicles the experience of having an existential crisis as one turns a year older. Originally a “cheeky heartbreak song,” as she put it, the narrative’s theme evolved into the anguish that comes with turning into an adult, specifically when one’s birthday comes around. 

“A lot of times, a lot of people—or I myself—just expect me to kind of achieve something throughout the years. Like every time my birthday comes up, I tend to think, ‘Oh my goodness, I haven't done this and this and this, and I'm turning another year,’” the singer explained. The anthem, she figured, is the perfect transitional point from her previous work—a gradual change that slowly introduces the next phase for her music. 

And now, the “VIVID” singer is on the roll, eagerly exploring uncharted territories when it comes to her sound. “I’m in the zone of creating, collecting influences and some ideas. I'm kind of keeping myself busy with just fixing all of my ideas into one project,” she shared. Ena picks up influences from the tiny bits of every day, keeping her mind open and allowing herself to absorb the wonders around her. “It's hard to find something so artistically interesting when you're just living day to day life, and I think noticing the small things in life is such a crucial thing as an artist.”

For instance, the simple act of going outdoors tickles her creative pickle. Or expanding her musical influences, with her recent fascination with medieval music, and putting herself in the shoes of the audience. “I think it's such an underrated thing for artists to actually be an audience and just take in every music that I can kind of reach out to,” the soloist mused. 

But apart from her new material in the works, the artist’s days are packed with shows, performing not just for the Philippine crowd but also abroad. Ena captivates her audience with vibrant, high-energy dream pop sets that take you on a rollercoaster ride of feelings. While she’s a consistent name in gig posters around the city, the singer inches her way internationally with stints in several music festivals abroad the past few years, including SXSW Texas and BiKNshibuya in Japan, and took over the Sofar Sounds stage in London. This June, she is set to return to South Korea for her stint at the Asian Pop Festival and, later this year, will fly to Australia for SXSW Sydney.

“One thing that I learned is how music is such a language of many, because I can just connect with anybody through music—despite of where I came from or what my background is,” she pondered on these experiences. While she admits that every performance in foreign lands offers challenges, each is wholeheartedly welcomed. She said, “[I take it as] a good practice ground for myself as an artist that, you know—‘Can I get to capture their attention, even if they don't really know me or they have never heard of me before?’ And yeah, I just always enjoy it.”

When asked about how she overcomes these challenges, the “RUNAWAY HOLIDAY!” hitmaker has a simple answer. “In my mind, no matter how big or small the stage is, if I can't really impress 10 people in the room, I can't impress 1000 people in the field.” This, and just staying true to herself. “I think that's what connects the audience with myself, because it's just so bare and raw. And I think the audience enjoys seeing something true and honest,” Ena mused.

Scroll down for more of our Q&A session with Ena Mori:

What are your dream collaborations?

“I can list out so many people, but you know what, St. Vincent might be a really good artist. St. Vincent's music is something that I always get inspired by. I think she's just a queen and she's a really cool artist. I watched her live, and she's great live! If I am able to even collaborate with St. Vincent, my mind will break and I think I'll shed a few tears. It will be a blast for me! And also, Dave Grohl—it would be a dream if he plays drums for me in one of my songs. They'll be amazing. That’s my dream.”

What’s your goal as an artist?

“I think the ultimate goal is just to be able to do what I love every day. I just want to make music and to be able to do that as much and as freely as I can without really worrying about many things in life. I'm already kind of living my dream and I just want to continue for as long as I can. The dream is that, when I'm 80 years old, I'll be onstage, still performing.”

What do you want people to remember when they hear your name?

“You know, I don't want to be remembered as an artist—I want my songs to be remembered more. That's one thing that I really want to stay in this world. Not necessarily me as an artist, but my creation to have longevity in a sense, something that my great, great, great grandchild will still get goosebumps from when they hear my songs. If they can live up to a 100 years or more, that'll be really amazing.”

What pieces of advice can you give to aspiring musicians?

“It's really scary to get into your artistry, because it’s about really being able to be vulnerable in front of people. That is the hardest part of being an artist—to kind of showcase your all. So I think my advice for them is to just not care that much. When I started out, I really did care about so many things. Now, I really don't care about what people think—and that's a really freeing thing. People have different ways of thinking and that's what creates art in the first place. So if people don't like it but you like it, then so be it. You know, if there’s one person who should like your stuff, that should be you.”

The reimagined version of “White Room” will be included in the Dimensions album available on May 31.

Lead photo by Ennuh Tiu (@ennuhchew) via @enamorimusic

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