Home Featured Rina Sawayama Says Being Groomed at 17 Informed Second Album

Rina Sawayama Says Being Groomed at 17 Informed Second Album

Rina Sawayama Says Being Groomed at 17 Informed Second Album


Rina Sawayama says being groomed at 17 informed her recent album Hold the Girl, speaking with the BBC’s In Conversation program. She said that sex and relationship therapy made her realize, in her thirties, the reality of a teenage relationship with a schoolteacher. “Seventeen to me is a child,” she said. “You’re in school. If a school teacher is coming onto you, that’s an abuse of power. But I didn’t realize until I was his age.”

The experience particularly informed the song “Your Age” from Hold the Girl. “I remember distinctly how uncomfortable that made me, but I didn’t put the two and two together,” Sawayama said. “And it was through this very intense form of therapy, which I feel so lucky to be able to have access to, that I was able to come to terms with that, and it completely broke my whole world apart.” 

Sawayama continued, “I was so badly slut-shamed that I developed so much shame around my sexuality, and lost completely my sense of self, I detached from my skin, like, inside. I don’t know how to describe it. But I just felt so afraid of things. And I’d have anxiety attacks.” She added that she hopes her third album will move on from traumatic experiences. “I would love a day where I can just write a song that’s just about love or sex. I’m getting there.”

Elsewhere in the interview, she voiced concern about the record label model. “There’s a lot of people outside of the music industry who don’t know about the music industry,” she said. “Recording artists don’t have exit clauses between albums, for example. There needs to be some sort of overhaul, because currently it’s very much benefiting music labels and record labels, and not artists.”

At Glastonbury back in June, Sawayama denounced Matthew Healy of the 1975, who had previously held a senior position at the company behind her label, Dirty Hit. Alluding to his controversial appearance on The Adam Friedland Show podcast, she told the crowd that “a white man that watches Ghetto Gaggers and mocks Asian people on a podcast” owns her masters, adding, “I’ve had enough!” 


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