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