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Monday, May 30, 2022 12:25pm ET by  
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Rina Sawayama Talks About New Single and Album

Having won the praises of Elton John and the wider music industry with her debut album Sawayama in 2020, Rina Sawayama has returned with her new single, "This Hell", an uplifting slice of pop-meets-country which was produced by the legendary Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence & the Machine) and co-written by Sawayama and Epworth and longterm collaborator Lauren Aquilina (Demi Lovato, Little Mix).

Speaking to Rolling Stone UK in an exclusive digital cover story, the British-Japanese pop star said about her new single: "I had so much fun writing 'This Hell'. The past couple of years I've been listening to lots of female country singers and wanted to write a euphoric and tongue in cheek country pop song. Country music at its core to me represents comfort, brilliant storytelling and authentic expression of the writer;s reality. I've been dreaming of working with Paul Epworth my entire career so I knew it was meant to be when we finished this song in a day. I put in as many iconic pop culture moments as I can, but the song is more than that."

She also reveals how therapy and "re-parenting" herself during the pandemic inspired her highly anticipated sophomore album, Hold The Girl, set to be released September 2 2022 via Dirty Hit. 

"When you're in your early to mid 20s, you're not really an adult so how can you parent yourself? When I hit my 30s, I was like, 'Oh, I'm an adult. I really feel like an adult now'. To be able to see the things that happened in the past from an adult perspective is something that's very new to when you're in your 30s. Also, now I'm at my parents' age when they had me, that's a new perspective that I can now see, like, 'God, I cannot imagine being a parent at this age.'"

On how her relationship with her mum inspired the song "Catch Me In The Air", Sawayama explained: "It's about how we've kind of caught each other in the air at different times in our lives, and how intense single parenthood can be. Just kind of celebrating that partnership because when you [have] a single mum, they're your sister and your child at the same time. Just writing about the complications of that from an adult perspective. I could never have done what she did: she couldn't speak English, moved [to the UK] with my dad, and then they separated. My dad was the breadwinner. My mum didn't know how to earn money. We shared a room 'til I was 15. How the f*ck did she do that when she was a little bit older than me?"

Sawayama also addresses going back to therapy after lockdown, saying: "Before the pandemic no one recognised me ever, I could just go out in the streets looking like shit and now it's very, very different. I actually had to go back into talk therapy when I first started getting recognised because of the anxiety of not seeing anyone, almost getting agoraphobia by not leaving the house. People have nice intentions and want to come so close to you and hug you, but it was completely freaking me out."

When asked about being competitive with other women in music, she answered: "I personally don't like to think that there's competition in the music industry with girls in my field now. It's easy to start to buy into that narrative so much that if you don't do this, someone else will. But I try not to engage in that anymore… I grew up with Christina versus Britney war and I don't want to subscribe to that – it's silly, we should all support each other as there is space for everybody especially because of streaming."

Stream "This Hell" and pre-order "Hold The Girl" now here.

Read the full feature here.

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