After opening ceremonies on the first day of Anime Expo 2010, pop singer May Nakabayashi, known by her stage name as May'n, took questions from her American fans. May'n is best known for her debut work as the singing vocals for Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier. See her answers in our transcription of her panel.
(Please note, as with most transcriptions, some wording or phrases may have been modified. The exact wording that the guest used may differ, as the responses are based off of what the interpretor translated at the panel.)
What is your favorite song? Either your own or another artist’s?
May’n: I love all the music and songs that every artist have worked on, but my favorite song of mine is “Diamond Crevasse” because I’ve met so many great fans and shared so many great moments through this song.
How was it like working on the Macross saga and to be part of Macross, considering the history of the series?
May’n: Macross Frontier is such a very long series that everyone’s watching and I’m very happy to join the work, which only reminded me to revisit older works in the saga. Everything links to each other and I’m very happy that I’ve worked on it.
How was it working with Yoko Kanno?
May’n: I used to love my low toned voice while I’m singing, but when I met Kanno-san, she recommended me to use my high tone because it would fit for my voice and now I enjoy using my high tone. That’s kind of how I found myself – through May’n.
I was told by a friend that all women think that men who like anime are a turnoff. I want to know if someone like you finds that men who like anime turnoff?
I think men who have a hobby they really like is really great. It doesn’t matter if it’s animation or being an otaku of whatever you are interested in, I think they are very great.
What do you think about Alto Saotome? What do you like about him, what don’t you like about him, and who do you think he should get together with?
May’n: I kind of don’t like the fact that he can’t really decide, but that’s why I like him very much, and Alto is one of my favorite characters.
I’m wondering how you feel about your name change?
May’n: I chose May’n because of Macross and I also wanted my songs and myself to be everyone’s main theme, so that’s why I chose May’n.
Can you sing the main theme of Macross since there’s a Ranka version but no Sheryl version?
May’n: I haven’t really covered Ranka’s songs, but if I had the chance I would like to try.
How did it feel for you to sing as Sheryl?
May’n: I wasn’t really nervous, but the things that’s different from my original song is that I can also sing about Sheryl’s life and I really enjoyed it.
How does it feel when you have live audiences for the United States?
May’n: I’m very surprised because Macross Frontier was only broadcast in Japan and I’m very glad to see all the Sheryl cosplayers here today. We all have different languages and cultures, but the music brings us all together and I really appreciate that.
What other musical artists do you personally look up to and enjoy the music of?
May’n: I’ve so many favorite artists that I like, but the person that gave me the idea of me being a singer is Namie Amuro when I was watching TV when I was three years old.
How do you prepare yourself mentally before going into a big performance?
May’n: I don’t usually get really nervous before my live performance, but I try to stretch my body a little bit to loosen up a bit.
Of all the projects you’ve worked with, which one is your favorite and why?
May’n: I personally liked “Diamond Crevasse” because that’s how I meet those great fans around the world, but I also enjoy all of my songs and I just like to share them with you guys.
If you hadn’t landed your role as Sheryl in Macross, would you be in the same place that you are today?
May’n: Sheryl is the reason I became May’n, and then even if I’m going to stop being Sheryl in the future, I’m will still try to do my best being May’n and still love Sheryl.
What was your inspiration for the song “Lion”?
May’n: The song “Lion” is the song for Sheryl about survival. So I wanted to, and also have to, try harder to express that survival kind of intensity or how cruel the world around them is as I sing, and that’s how I kind of start to get ready and how I got prepared.
Do you feel like you have more fans in the United States than in Japan?
May’n: This is my first time here in the States, so I was very surprised that there are so many people that are being a big fan of mine, and I’m just really surprised that you guys are here today.
How did you feel when you gave your first performance, being so young?
May’n: I was very happy and there were so many people that were there for me, but it didn’t really matter how many people were there; I was just very happy and appreciate that I could perform my favorite songs with my great fans there – I really enjoyed that.
As president of your own food club, what kind of American food do you like the best?
May’n: I love all the American foods and it’s very amazing how big they are. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would like to try a very big hamburger while I’m here.
Do you relate more to Sheryl as a person than Ranka?
May’n: I like Ranka, but I really like Sheryl and her strength and her music. So that’s the reason why I like Sheryl.
Have you ever thought about doing a duet with Yoshiki Ukinawa? Are there any plans for it?
May’n: I actually have had a live with Yoshiki in Japan and other countries but not here in America. He’s very cool and I like his rock and roll spirit, but when I’m with him he’s very gentle and very kind and I admire him a lot. If I have a chance to come here and work with him, I’d looking forward to it.
Do you eat tayaki here?
May’n: Do you know tayaki? Wow!
For tomorrow’s concert, maybe you would like to teach everyone here some common signs to do during the live?
May’n: It’s kind of secret, so it’ll be like a great surprise for tomorrow you guys. I can’t really tell. Let’s all have fun tomorrow together.
I heard that you’ll be having another live right after you leave AX. How do you maintain your condition?
May’n: I usually eat a lot and I treasure exercise a lot to keep myself maintained. But the most power I get is from all of the fans and all their smiles and all the support you guys give me. Thank you very much.
Do you consider yourself shirousagi (white rabbit) or kurousagi (black rabbit)?
May’n: I don’t know about when I’m performing, but in my private probably shirousagi.
Do your high vocals come naturally for you or do you have to practice a lot or do you have any wisdom for us to sing as well as you?
May’n: When I had my first song on Macross, I didn’t really think I could make that high tone voice but then Kanno-san helped me a lot to and I practiced a lot every day. When I did, I got that high tone singing voice and if you have something you want to challenge now or in the future, you just have to practice and you can do it.
In Macross Episode 1, during the concert when Alto caused Sheryl to fall off, she told him to keep flying so she could continue the concert. If you were in Sheryl’s position, how would you have reacted, and would you have been able to do what Sheryl did?
May’n: I think it’s very nice when you’re in a harsh situation and someone helps you and when you have that, that person might be someone you like so I really understand how Sheryl started liking Alto and I think I might have done the same thing too. But if I were Sheryl maybe I would get too nervous with Alto and I wouldn’t be able to perform at my concert.
Is there any singer, American or Japanese, who you’d like to do a duet with?
May’n: I love all the artists here and over there in Japan, but my favorite artists here is Janet Jackson and Madonna, and if I had the chance I would like to perform with them.
What was your favorite song from previous Macross series aside from Frontier, and do you believe any of them influenced your role?
May’n: I love all the songs, they’re all very important. I really love the “Dynamite Explosion.”
What was your favorite experience in America?
In Macross Frontier, Sheryl becomes a pilot. What’s your perspective on that? And if Macross Valkyries were real, would you become a pilot?
May’n: I think even though they used to fighting, their purpose is to protect someone that they love, so I really feel the same way and I probably would try the same.
Transcription done by: Stephen Bazja