Interview with Rockleetist

Image Source: Rockleetist

It’s been awhile since Vocaloidism spoke with Rockleetist, so we decided to catch up with the famous singer and bring her in for an interview.


Vism: First off, thank you very much for taking your time out of your busy schedule. What has been happening since you were last featured on Vocaloidism?

Rockleetist: Well, there’s been quite a bit going on since then. I’ve had a chance to work with some really amazing people in the Vocaloid industry (composers & remixers) as well as had the honor of hitting the charts on Nico. I’m very grateful that there are so many new subscribers.

It feels pretty amazing to be able to say that I’m a smidge under 15,000 subscribers now (in comparison to the 2,000 since my last contact with Vocaloidism). My name is becoming more well-known throughout the Vocaloid community, both Japanese and English alike, and I’m thankful that I have so many supporters behind me.

Vism: What got you introduced to Vocaloid music?

Rockleetist: I found it through a close friend that had discovered it before me. She had been listening to a collective of random music and when I asked what it was, she explained it to me. From that point, I began to explore and discover the genre on my own.

That feels like a very long time ago as I’ve been following the Vocaloid trend for several years now.

Vism: What got you into singing? Has it been something you’ve always wanted to do?

Rockleetist: I’ve been singing since I was very young; since I was about 12 years old and I’ll be 27 this year. I’ve had formal training for at least 5 of those in three different vocal genres.

My family is very musical and we can all play at least two instruments and sing each. My father was DJ before he retired, as well as was in a band with my mother. I suppose music runs in the blood with us. Though it is always something I’ve enjoyed.

There’s rarely any moment in my life when I’m not singing, but it has always been a hobby and never a main focus career due to time and lack of connection with a professional.

Vism: What preparations go into singing a Vocaloid song?

Rockleetist: There’s a lot more work than listeners realize.

When I first hear a song, it (usually) isn’t translated and if it is, it’s translated poorly. Direct translations, especially if it’s metaphorical, don’t always translate well to another language so you have to improve a bit for the culture change.

Most of the time is spent with a thesaurus and a notebook, listening to the song several hours on repeat at times. If a translated line doesn’t make sense, I have to take additional time to reword it so that English audiences can understand it. There are a number of technical aspects that people don’t think about; matching vowel sounds, knowing the right and wrong way to rhyme syllables, never using constants at the end of lines, etc.

Doing this for some songs is very tedious work and can take days to do, while simple songs (“BPM” for example) may take only 6-10 hours.

Additional time is taken to review it, and create a rhyme scheme for the translation that flows properly in time with the music. That there are no extra syllables or shoved in sounds where there isn’t in the original Japanese versions.

Then recording it usually takes another 1-2 days with mixing and such, also.

A very long process, but it’s one that I work very diligently on. I never simplify it and I never go the easy way. Quality and accuracy is important to me.

Vism: Were you surprised when your videos got popular among the English speaking Vocaloid community?

Rockleetist: Actually, yes.

It was a completely random occurrence. I put up a video that I had decided to sing which had been my very first attempt at covering Vocaloid. Suddenly, it was passed and shared around the community and the next thing I knew I was doing interviews and being introduced to new people.

It’s a truly incredible feeling to know that people enjoy my work so much! English dubwork is always frowned upon simply because it’s ‘not the original’ or ‘it’s not in Japanese’. I dislike hearing comments like that.

My mission statement is to prove that when time is spent to perfect what you do; effort and heart put into your work, it can turn heads. I’m proud of myself for being able to do just that and get this far. Not everyone is fluent in Japanese, and it feels good to help others understand the meaning behind the music.

Vism: Are there any Vocaloid cover artists that you follow on Youtube or Nico Nico Douga?

Rockleetist: Yes, I do. ♥ I follow Lushka, Kran, Ashestoashesjc, and Kuri~n mostly.

Vism: Finally, is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Rockleetist: Absolutely!

I hope that I can be an inspiration to others to pursue their musical interests; of any that you may have even if it isn’t Vocaloid related. It’s important to view all music with respect, even if it’s a genre that you don’t like.

Don’t let the comments of others deter you from what makes you happy. If I took to heart all of the negativity that I’ve seen objectively in my direction for ‘ruining the song’ or ‘changing the translation’ or ‘messing up the lyrics to not include cussing’, I would have quit a long time ago.

Keep your head up, your heart strong, ignore trolls, and keep practicing. Your own biggest critic is not your subscribers, but yourself. If you have confidence in yourself, you can do anything. ♥

Good luck to everyone and thank you so very much for your support and friendship. I hope to continue to sing for you in the future!

Vism: Thank you very much for your time.

Rockleetist: Anytime! Glad to. ♥


If you haven’t already, please feel free to check out some of Rockleetist’s covers.






33 thoughts on “Interview with Rockleetist”

  1. An interview with Rockleetist? *sigh* what a good day to be alive <3

    You can truly notice all the effort and passion she puts into her songs, which I believe are just as good (if not better like Just Be Friends) as the originals, anyway I’m not going to plague her whit request of songs I wish she would sing *cough* Because merge to you *cough*, and I’ll simply say thank you Rockleetist from the bottom of my heart (and ears).

  2. It's good that she's putting in so much effort into english dubwork. But I think the real reason why english dubwork is generally frowned upon is not because "it's not japanese", or "it's not the original" or anything like that, but because most of the time, it simply isn't very good…

    But rockleeist turns that around, because of all the work that she puts into it… it's still not japanese, and it's still not the original (though it is original in other senses of the word), but that doesn't stop her from being successful! >=D

  3. yes , finally she is in the spotlight once again
    ive been a a fan of her for years now.
    and almost all of her songs i have downloaded LEGALLY.
    ^_^

    1. what do you mean by you downloaded all of her songs legally. most of her music is vocaloid,which is public domain which means you cant illegally download. in fact everything about vocaloid is public domain so none of it is copyright protected. which means you can download anything related to vocaloid for free legally from any site.

        1. public domain doesnt work like that. the only thing that i think is copyrighted is vocaloid software,tthe manga,and the games,the music itself is public domain so any of it is free to download no matter who produces it.you can make an vocaloid album and sell it but its not protected by law so its freely legal to download any vocaloid song. thats what the people who made vocaloid intend for it so i dont see what the problem is.

          1. …What? Public domain doesn't work like that. Nothing a person makes is public domain unless it's very old or the author purposely releases it into public domain. Everything is automatically copyrighted, people just officially file copyright claims so they have something to show before a judge. This has to be possibly the most uninformed statement I've ever heard (in fact, I'm wondering if you even know what public domain is). So you're saying Lady Gaga–or some young classical composer–can write a song, post it on Youtube to advertise, /tell everyone to please purchase it legally on iTunes/, and if they include one Vocaloid, it's legal to go on some Youtube-to-MP3 site and steal it? Downloading something made by someone without their permission is piracy. Vocaloid is just a tool, like a piano or FL Studio. It does not come with a license that says "you must release this under public domain." It does not make something free to download. So many musicians and artists are trying to make a living selling Vocaloid stuff while you seem to think you're entitled to it. That offends me.

          2. I'm not sure if 'everything is automatically copyrighted' is correct either. I assume we're going by American laws here, so I'll give an example.

            If you submit a logo to a company for a contest (or a vocaloid song or why not a book) without copyrighting it first (mail a copy of it to yourself, that's a poor man's copyright, look it up, it's legit!) they are entirely entitled to use what you've created. So I don't think saying it goes straight to public domain is correct, nor do I think saying it is immediately copyrighted is correct. I wish I was more knowledgeable about this though. >_<;

            I do agree that it is slightly offensive that some may find themselves entitled to music but maybe it isn't entitlement so much as misunderstanding. Copyright laws are very confusing, especially across nations (Like Japan and the US.)

          3. But not all songs made with vocaloid are "public domain".

            Vocaloid (no matter how the characters on the boxes make us feel) is nothing more than a synthesizer used to produce songs. For example, there are certain types of piano synths. One of my personal favorites is the Rhodes piano. It's used in a number of songs, some that are free for anyone to use and some that are used as part of songs in albums artists produce. I can download some rhodes piano songs, but not, say, Radiohead's ' Subterranean Homesick Alien' legally because it is copyrighted and owned by that band– even if the tool is used freely in other public domain songs.

            Keep in mind vocaloid is used a very popular synthesizer in a lot of Japanese music and it's not always legal to download every song. I'm not entirely sure of the situation with some songs (I saw some album on iTunes recently with 'moon' on it but I'm sure I had my copy long before Project Diva came out. I'm not sure what the situation for those songs would be now.)

          4. the only time when something is not public domain is when you get the companies permission to do the song..being that vocaloid has premade characters and software,that makes it public domain since the property doesnt belong to the person covering the song.if they do try to make a profit off of a song without paying royalties then that person would be breaking copyright laws. in terms of vocaloid if no permission is granted by yamaha then its public domain and free to download. if you want to make money off of vocaloid music you have to first get yamaha's permission and pay royalities.until thats done its considered public domain.

          5. That doesn't make sense to me…

            Going by that logic, I would have to pay royalties to any company for using their music synthesizing software. So, continuing with my Rhodes piano example, that means if I buy a Rhodes piano keyboard, using it to play songs to earn money would be illegal unless I called the company and paid them royalties each time I made a song? That doesn't make sense. Because when you get right down to it, how is a vocaloid different, than say, a violin? If I use Crayola markers and make a $300 drawing do I owe them part of the cut because I used their markers?

            Obviously not. But that doesn't mean anyone can just take my painting because I don't have rights to Crayola markers.

          6. Vocaloid fans have had this discussion before.

            Videos posted on NND and YouTube are already automatically protected by copyright laws. Nobody can reuse them or copy them as long as there is no permission given. For personal use, it's perfectly acceptable to download these, but redistribution of such works is illegal, unless a change to this rule is explicitly stated. Therefore, technically, reprints on YT are illegal, unless it's a translation or gives enough information about the song or artist behind it to qualify as "informational" or for "commentary" purposes. (Though I'm hoping this will be fixed with niconico.com's compatibility feature.)

            Albums and videos and songs cannot be redistributed, and especially not albums, which are supposed to be protected by record companies. (i.e. If you download a song from a Vocaloid PV, it's safe. When you send it to others, it's not allowed.)

            "Public domain" describes works like Shakesphere and Alice in Wonderland that are old or that are explicitly unprotected by copyright laws. They are old, or the creator simply gives up the rights. (That's why Alice in Wonderland is such a popular subject; nobody is pressured by laws.) I believe there's a 70+ year time period after the copyright hasn't been updated before a work becomes public domain. Vocaloid is not public domain.

  4. Wow, I got mentioned by rockleetist. *A* -shot- I'm really honored that she supports my work so much.

    Everything she says is true. It really takes a lot of work to do English translyrics especially if you want to keep the original feel and meaning of the song. I remember I had to ask my friends who were quite familiar with the Japanese language to help me out with some translations on my Romeo and Cinderella lyrics because the translations I found online weren't too good.
    You need to do a lot of writing and rewriting to make sure that you do everything right.

  5. Wow, Rockleetist has gone a long way~

    Personally, I never was really into Rockleetist. Not really out of jealousy as a fandubber myself (though I get jealous sometimes of pretty much anyone who can sing well… XD) but because that her translyrics never really felt true to the true meaning of the song to me. To me, it seems like any song that doesn't have a strict story (songs that aren't "Kokoro" or "Daughter of Evil") gets lost in the translation, and it ends up rounding out into a love song, which often, the songs aren't.

    However, it's great that Rockleetist has gotten so much attention – she has a great voice, and definitely deserves something for that. Still, as a Vocaloid fandubber… eh.

    On that note, she should totally try out for American Idol and completely own the competition. I'd support her~

  6. This was a really cool interview, but I do have a big concern.

    Not to be a prick, but I think it's slightly unfair that only Rockleetist is interviewed.

    No offence, she's a great singer, but there are more dubbers than JUST HER. I love Rockleetist, but I'm a big fan of TBOEandJW and Zoozbuh, but no one gives them credit. Even Razzyness or Kran! I just find it unfair that someone has to be iconed and the others who work just as hard, if not harder, are forced down.

    I say take the top 5-10 and interview all of them! Not just Rockleetist. I mean, don't make Vocaloid lovers pigeon hole to just one dubber. That just degrades others who also work in the same field.

    1. I can see where you are coming from. Perhaps more interviews are in order. The reason why I interviewed her is because she gained a following very quickly and her works were some of the first dubs to be on a professional level. That is not to say that the other dubbers are not important by far means. They have all greatly contributed to the Vocaloid community and I think the fact that Rockleetist is pointing them out shows that. This is the first interview we at Vocaloidism has done with a dubber, so please try to understand that we do not recognize only Rockleetist, but the dubbing movement in general.

    2. i think she was mentioned because of her ways in dubbing the songs,
      and i think because of her singing in Kokoro , Happy Synthesizer , and BPM
      no offence also for all of the dubbers out there.

    3. OOOOOOO~!!!! INTERVIEW TBOE!!!!! HER PARODIES ARE AWESOME!!!!! and didn't TBOE and rockleetist do something together? o-o Razzyness too!!! he has so many fangirls (shot for being one)
      <
      3
      <
      ~Meow~

  7. people keep wondering why rockteelist was interviewed it should be obvious. shes very good at what she does and to date she is the best vocaloid dubber. but to be honest though she doesnt make enough music. there was a 6 month gap in her youtube channel where she didnt post anything new. as far as other dubbers go most of them are not very good at singing. its a hard task to find a good dubber. mainly because there are so many crappy ones out there its hard to find the good ones,its like a treasure hunt in a snake pit. you have a 1 /3000 chance of finding a diamond,the other 2999/3000 times your going to be biting to death.

  8. Wow! I love the Masaki remix of Kokoro, and rockteelist's translation is fabulous too! Please keep up the good work, rockteelist!!! <3:p<3 I suppose my suggestion to anyone in the fandubbing community (and me too!) is to be extra-mindful of English's pentameter. I'm certainly no expert, but as an example: how about, instead of "I will always keep him with me", to use "always keeping him with me." The first is more short-long, short-long, whereas the latter is long-short, long-short. Definitely the struggle is to find a balance between the melody (set to Japanese) and staying true to the wonderful, musical quality of English too… It's super tough, so I give rockeelist a LOT of credit! GJ!!!

    1. 'Pentameter' by itself says nothing about whether it's iambic or trochaic. Iambic pentameter is classically praised and often found in poetry, so it would actually make a lot of sense to write lyrics that way. However, it has also been proven that many popular catchphrases and such are trochees, so I suppose the one you use is whichever the song demands. And to be honest, I'm a bigger fan of anapests.

      And for that matter, who says it has to be pentameter? Give me anapestic tetrameter any day. I think it works well for rock.

  9. Thanks for the amazing interview. I'm a little late getting to it but I enjoyed it.

    I've never been a big fan of English covers but Rockleetist and her Double Lariat covers was one of the first things that changed my mind.

    Wish her continued success.

  10. "That there are no extra syllables or shoved in sounds where there isn’t in the original Japanese versions."

    …Doesn't she do this a lot? Like, changing the whole melody and stuff… (See JBF, Gemini, etc.)? I never had a problem with changing translations to make it flow better in English. But when you change it so that the meaning is almost entirely different, or you ignore the deeper meaning, then I have a problem. (I don't know if she's done this since JBF, but she pretty much made that into a regular breakup song…)Rockleetist is one of the best English fandubbers on Youtube when it comes to singing skills. However, her method of writing translyrics leaves much to be desired.

    1. you cant complain about translyrics. have you ever seen an anime that did a good dub because i never have. japanese is a hard language to translate so you cant hit somebody on it,in the case of music its even harder to translate it properly if not impossible. for each line spoken you have a time limit on how much you can say to fit the beat of the music,so in a sense your never going to get a perfect translation. and jbf is a break up song,when a girls says jsb it means we're breaking up.it even has it in the song very clearly : Fate that connected us
      Becomes undone and disappears into everyday life
      Goodbye my loved one… This is the end
      Now we look go on without looking back
      what did you mean when you said that she made it into a breakup song isnt that what it is?you should read a lyrics sheet on this song.

    2. I agree, she tends to change around the melody and the lyrics simultaneously, especially when it comes to faster songs. That's my main concern. JBF was a huge example of that.

      The problem isn't always having too much, sometimes it's having too little, as well…

  11. Nice! Rockleetist <on the spot again>. So far that I have known, you're the best vocaloid dubber that we ever heard of yet. But there is one person that truly caught my attention, well she's not yet well known but I think that she has this magnificent voice of a professional, and she's also good at dubbing and it perfectly rhymes with the music (for example, her song of FF13 agito/ my wish) : here's the link
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Anielca22#p/a/u/1/ZD_

    Now, if we could just convince her to sing a vocaloid song, it would be a huge hit! maybe a duet with Rockleetist would be a dream.

  12. Although I have no problem with you guys giving coverage to stuff that's only related to Vocaloid by proxy, I think you should either be all in or not at all. And that's a big plate to step up to, I think. Do you guys want to be the English hastune miku miku? I think that'd be awesome, but it would be a lot of work on you guys' parts.

    If you don't, then we really don't need superfluous stuff like this. A fandubber is a fandubber. There's -actual- Vocaloid/UTAU related news that could be reported instead of spending time on stuff like this.

    As for rockleetist… I don't care for her voice or her lyrics much, so I don't have a comment on that front.

  13. Love Rockleetist. Just wish she had better recording equipment. At least, I hope the squawks and squeaks and noise on her recordings aren’t her…

    — Griffinhart

  14. Rockleetist is probably the worst translator in the fandom regardless of her singing quality and I am filled with pure unrelenting hatred and vitriol whenever I see her name. I've never seen such awful pacing and complete destruction of meaning in a song until I checked her videos.

    What about Miku-tan? Her lyrics and vocals are INCREDIBLE, and she actually outdoes Rockleetist in that her range is much wider. There's a lot more passion in her voice.

  15. O_O; Wow… I am reading some of the comments and some of them are just bashing her. KKC for instance. Goodness. Hatred? That's a bit far don't you think? You don't even know the girl. I personally don't know her so I am not going to start saying I hate her. Yes, there are other fandubbers out there who are really good and need to be noticed more. I agree. But… again… Hate? That's a very strong word.

  16. Well, i think one of the reasons she became that famous is the work and affection she puts into her songs.
    The quality is very high. Her translations fit MUCH better than the subs you can get.
    It didnt surprise me to see others using her translation^^

    I am from germany. There isnt anyone compareable to her here. Most if not all of the german translations are really screwed. So she has a big german fancrowd too, and inspirated some friends of mine to sing the rockleetist-version of the vocaloid songs.

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