Q.Tell us about who you are & what you do?
My name is Masaki Araya, leader of the three member group, Masaki. I am not only an artist, but I am also a songwriter, producer, arranger, recording and mixing engineer. I wear many hats. Some at the same time.
Q: Describe your music in 5 words
Soulful, dreamy, spacey, enigmatic, & varied.
Q.Please give your fans 3 fun facts about you
I am a hermit by choice, because I have so much work that has to be done. I haven't seen a TV series or TV really since Smallville ended its run in May 2011. I get as much as sleep as I could throughout the day to make up the sleep I didn't get at night!
Q. What makes your voice stand out from other artists?
While most artists has one central voice as in the artist who is performing, they may, and most likely, have different voices via songwriters and/ or producers. In my work, it's quite the opposite. I do not have a central voice as they are all different in work. In "M.E.", there is a rap group, two spoken word poets (a man and a woman), three different vocalists and a harmonica player. Most of the songs are written, co-written, produced or co-produced by... Well, M.E. [Laughs]
Do you write your own material?
Yes, I write my own materials, but I also arrange other people’s tunes as well. Three of the five tunes on M.E. were either fully arranged, or was a collaborative effort in the arrangements that was written by the artist themselves (in this case, TJ Ward, Hawk, & The Asylum) who performed the tunes. While many love to only write and produce their own tunes, I tend to take the Quincy Jones/ David Foster route also by producing/ arranging songs written by others, if not by the artists themselves, when I may not have a song written for a specific artist at that time.
Q: What are your current projects that you are working on?
Aside from M.E., I also recorded the Billy Tuggle's vocal part on the Eat or Die Intro by Waffle Gang from their “Eat or Die” release that was featured on this very website (http://harsharanlanda.
blogspot.com/2012/10/harshtv- features-waffle-gang-wafflega. html), I did a couple of other vocal recordings this year. Similar to Waffle Gang, I recorded Billy Tuggle's vocal part again on a J. Rawls' track. I don't know the name of the track or the release date, but I'll keep you posted on that. I also recorded voice over for an actor, Josh Pertler, for a romantic dramedy, Mouthpiece (http://www.imdb.com/name/ nm5402993/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1), which is scheduled to be released sometime in March 2013. A business associate, who assisted me in the Mouthpiece project as well contributed on the "M.E." project, Jonathan Short, and I are planning to attend the 55th Grammy Awards in February, pending that the Mayan calendar does not happen. [Laughs]
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Good question. I am not sure. I’d like to live in the moment and in the present. I’d like to live for today, but of course live for tomorrow as well. However, I can’t start thinking about tomorrow if I don’t finish what must be done today.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
That's hard to say. It varies day to day, time to time, moment to moment. Inspiration could happen anywhere at anytime. That's the beauty of it. You never know what to expect when inspiration, but don't wait for it come. It's 99.9% perspiration, and .1% inspiration. You have to work hard at whatever you want to accomplish in life.
Q: Who would you rather listen to UK or US Music?
A combination of both. I believe they both have something to offer. I love what Motown, Stax/ Volt and Atlantic gave to the masses, but at the same time I love what the British Invasion brought to America's ears.
Q:What artists do you listen to?
I listen to an array of artists in all sorts of genre, but I am definitely an R&B head until the end. I grew up listening to my older brother’s collection that consisted of Queen, The Beatles, Wilson Phillips, The Cure, Air Supply, Earth Wind & Fire, Luther Vandross, Prince, The B-52’s, The Beach Boys, Duran Duran, but then I started to find my own way through the aforementioned Luther Vandross, Earth Wind & Fire, and Prince by listening to songs written by pop/ r&b songwriters from Burt Bacharach/ Hal David (A House Is Not A Home, Any Day Now, etc.), David Foster (After The Love Is Gone, Through The Fire, I Have Nothing, etc.), Babyface (End of The Road, When Can I See You, Exhale, Superwoman, etc.), Quincy Jones (Love Dance, One Hundred Ways, etc.), Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Control, On Bended Knee, Can You Stand The Rain, Human, etc.), Rod Temperton (Always and Forever, Rock With You, Mystery, You Put A Move On My Heart, etc.), Diane Warren (For You I Will, UnBreak My Heart, etc.), among others.
Q:Who influences your music?
There are so many artists that influence my music, but as far as Masaki, the group, is concerned, it is a combination of Quincy Jones, Zero 7, and Massive Attack to name a few. However, I am heavily influenced by the songwriters I mentioned in the previous question. Babyface would quite possibly the one who I look up to from the list.
Q: Please describe your fashion style in 5 words?
Fashion style? I'm normally in recording/ mixing engineer mode as opposed to being in artist mode. So, to answer this question, it will be jeans, tee, socks, sneakers, and cap [Laughs]
Q: How can people contact you & collaborate with you?
They could reach me by my e-mail on http://www.masakiaraya.com, but I encourage to collaborate with the other artists I collaborated with on my "M.E." project. They all have something to give.