“Everything in this world is connected and all is one,” Japanese rapper Awich tells Apple Music. “But with the pandemic and issues like Black Lives Matter, the world seems so divided. People separate themselves from one another and point at each other when all humans are one species. The name of the EP is ironic, because all the partitions we believe to exist are artificially constructed and not real.” The Okinawa-born singer’s stage name stands for “Asia Wish Child,” a play on her real name, Akiko (whose Japanese characters translate to “Asia,” “wish,” and “child”). She relocated to the US to study after high school—and was stricken with tragedy when her husband was fatally shot after the birth of their child. She’s since used her music to depict the sadness and sense of loss she has felt. “My fans let me know they are with me through any and everything,” she says. “They say it makes them feel like we’ve grown together. With this EP, my producer, Chaki Zulu, and I wanted to embrace those who’ve been with us from the jump as well as to deliver my music to people who don't know me and my story. The process let us shed our egos and gain more compassion in our hearts. It was a profound experience.” Here, she tells Apple Music about the inspiration behind each song.
“This song is about my attitude to simply enjoy everything no matter what. I wanted to open the EP with this song. It clowns those who always fuss about what I do when I simply always enjoy everything. The cheerleader-chant hook was a cute new challenge for me, and we just had fun with the song. I had the idea of ‘Sign’ for a while—the word has various meanings, from signing a major record deal to spiritual signs.”
“I’ve been getting great responses to this song, not only from the female audiences but also from LGBTQ communities and other minorities. I did a headline set at an event with a whole bunch of dude rappers. When I got onstage, I saw surprised looks on the audience's faces, like, ‘A girl?’ This song was written about that experience. In the Japanese and Asian markets, there are people who still think that a girl can’t headline a big event. I don’t know what the right answer is to this, but if a girl wants to compete outside the box of ‘girls,' why not let her? When people argue if I am the No. 1 female artist in Japan, it makes me smile, because I know soon the ‘female’ part will be gone.”
“This song is a dramatization of my husband’s death. It’s about a woman who is determined to have a ‘don’t fuck with my friends and family’ kind of attitude. After he passed, I was consumed by so many emotions: anger, hatred, sadness, fear, and so on. This song turned all that into really dark and vengeful energy. The lyrics include quotes from Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. My husband and I loved The Art of War and we used to read it together all the time. I was inspired by Tupac to start reading about Machiavelli.”
“This is an answer song to ‘Patrona.’ After going through the dark side with that song, you realize true revenge is happiness—not hurting others. This song talks about the journey of realization. My husband used to always say ‘keep on going’ and now I know the importance of it. I also realized forgiveness is the key to happiness. The lyrics say, ‘Forgive. That’s all.’ This is a very special song for me.”
“‘Awake’ is about the current world situation and how I feel about it. I started making this EP at the beginning of 2020 when everyone was still excited about the new year. There was still no coronavirus, no George Floyd. This EP came into shape as the world was rapidly changing, and I didn't want to release a body of work without talking about the changes we were going through.”
“This is our interpretation of J-pop. It’s about a complicated love relationship. I do shows every night, meet a lot of people, stay at the club till morning, get up when I want to, go into the studio, repeat. My lifestyle can make my loved ones worry a lot. I sometimes think that a man can be happier with a normal girl. And even though we both know that, we end up with each other again and again and it doesn't make any sense. I’m a hypocrite and selfish and don't know what to do but to beg: ‘Please don’t say goodbye.’ It’s a simple, honest take on that dilemma, based on my own experiences.”
“This is about beginning of a new love. Sometimes, it makes you unstable and confused, like, ‘I was happy before meeting this guy, so why can’t I live without you now?' This person comes into your life and turns it upside down. But at the same time, when you feel you’re loved by him, it makes you strong. It feels like you can take over the world. This song talks about both the strength and weakness a new love brings into your life. Also, 098 is an area code for Okinawa, the island where I was born and raised. 098 gyal is a strong island girl that does not play with anybody or anything that messed with her loved ones.”