You Got This

“I had to go through a lot of disappointment, a lot “no’s”, before getting to where I am in my music career in Japan. I came here after college and it was a total culture shock (even though I used to stay here as a kid since my dad was in the military). I got stared at all the time, I got lost all the time, and I couldn’t speak the language well. On top of that, I was dead broke—no savings, no money. I was relying on my mom, who let me sleep on the floor of her tiny apartment till I was able to get on my feet (my parents are separated). And I hate to say this about myself, but I’m kind of a quitter. If I’m not good at something, I quit. I quit running track, I quit dancing, I even quit girl scouts. But music is the one thing I never quit. I eat, sleep, and breathe music. Plus, I didn’t have many friends growing up so singing was like my best friend. So my mom took me to her gigs (my parents were heavily involved in the music scene in Japan), introduced me to people, and said, ‘Wherever we go, no matter what, you have to be ready. You have to sing on the spot.’ Some people embraced me, some didn’t. It took a while to finally start getting regular gigs. But once I was in there, I was in there pretty much. So now I’ve been touring, singing backup vocals for Japanese artists. I recently did the soundtrack of a video game that blew up and became popular. I also regularly sing at lounges, night clubs, weddings, special events, grand openings…I’m all over the place pretty much. Thankfully, mom and dad were very supportive. They’d always say, ‘You have what it takes’ or ‘You got this.’”

J’Nique Nicole is a talented singer based in Japan. Watch her perform on YouTube.

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Finding diversity and inclusion. Breaking down barriers one post at a time. Stories and snapshots of foreigners making their way in Japan.

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