Rebecca Flint, better known as Beckii Cruel, has been an interesting public face in many different parts of the world for the last 6 years or so, having had the opportunity to work as an idol performer in Japan as well as releasing albums and doing appearances in Europe and elsewhere in the world. She began her rise to fame as a dancer to popular Japanese songs on YouTube and later exploded in popularity and was asked to go to Japan full time and be managed by a Japanese production company to be an idol.
Beckii’s entrance into the Japanese idol market was an extremely rare and trailblazing opportunity for a Western performer to be integrated into a niche Japanese market like idols, and is still one of the only opportunities of it’s kind, to this day. Beckii was able to obtain lots of insight on the internal workings of an industry that is usually very secretive to the outside world, and this made her career very unique and interesting, especially given that she is not a native member of Japanese society.
She was invited to this year’s inaugural Idol Matsuri convention in Washington, USA as a performer and I got a chance to sit down with her to get some updates and answers on what she’s been up to and where she’s headed in the future. Here’s the interview:
SH: This is your first time in America, is there anything you are most looking forward to doing during your time here?
BC: Yeah, actually, on Tuesday I’m going to LA, I’m hoping to see a contrast from even what I’ve seen here in Seattle area, since I know different parts of the country have different atmospheres to them. And even though the US and UK are both Western cultures, it’s still exciting to see just how different both cultures really are by being here.
SH: How has your Idol Matsuri experience been so far? Would you like to come back to do more American conventions based on what you have experienced so far?
BC: It’s the first convention of it’s kind, specifically about idols, and it’s been a really unique experience so far. So many Western conventions are ones focused on anime and general Japanese culture, but it’s great to see the focus on idols and such a large meeting of people who feel the same about that culture.
SH: In addition to being a singer, you have also become an accomplished pop culture and fashion blogger. Which of all the activities you’ve experienced has been the most personally fulfilling for you?
BC: Of course I was doing dancing videos at the start when I was a young teen, but eventually it got to a point where I was recording a lot of them and didn’t feel like uploading; it just wasn’t making me as happy as it used to, so I took time off YouTube. I really focus on whatever makes me happy at that current time, which will change from time to time and has shifted from dancing and performing to being more about general entertainment, writing, fashion, and other things. I may go back to dancing someday, but at any given time, I’m just following whatever makes me happy then, so there hasn’t been one thing in particular over the course of time.
SH: Have you considered starting your own brand of clothing/makeup/perfume one day? If so, what would you name your brand?
BC: I recently did start my own brand called BCKY couture just over a month ago, it’s obviously a couture brand, so we can custom make everything to everyone’s size, including suits, dresses, and other styles, and I work on mixing a dress-y style with street fashion that’s wearable every day. I’m happy to be bringing that forward now and working in that field.
SH: Do you still follow the idol/music scene in Japan? If so, who are your current favorite artists?
BC: I do very much still follow the Jpop scene in general, and for idols specifically, I’m lately into stuff like Passpo, AKB, Morning Musume, etc.
SH: Your last Japanese language songs (Future Fantasy and a featured spot on Area 11’s Shi no Barado) were released in 2013. Do you have any further plans to release more Japanese music?
BC: I’ve told myself that I have to make at least one song every year, so I’ve still got six months to do it this year, and I’m hoping to do that pretty soon. My music will always have some kind of Japanese influence, even if it doesn’t have Japanese lyrics, but I won’t limit myself to only using Japanese lyrics if something sounds good to me in another language.
SH: I’ve seen a few documentaries on your career, and I thought it was great at showing some of the vast cultural differences between Japan and the Western world, especially when it comes to entertainment industries, and it was refreshing to see how you stood up for your own values in an industry that will sometimes ask performers to sacrifice those. Would you consider returning to the world of J-Pop on a full-time basis?
BC: I’m glad to hear you got something out of that, that’s interesting. I actually had an offer to go back to Japan about a year ago, and this time I thought it through very thoroughly and decided it wasn’t right for me. The way it was proposed, I didn’t really have any control over my image or a lot of the other aspects I’d need to have an input on to feel comfortable with it. My music career has really just happened to me out of the blue, in a sense, so I’m taking my time with it, and I’m trying my hand at some writing myself now as well, and only doing what feels right.
SH: Have you been back to Japan recently? If not, what do you miss most about being there?
BC: I went last October, for the first time in 3 years, on a trip for tourism, and I saw Tokyo Fashion Week and lots of other cool things, but I only got to stay for 3 days. I’m planning to go back for a holiday sometime and stay a little bit longer, hopefully sooner than later. I remember so many things about Japan from day to day and I’m really happy that when I returned there, not much had changed from the way I remembered it.
SH: What album/artist is currently on heavy rotation on your MP3 player right now?
BC: I’ve been listening to Lana Del Rey’s new album “Ultraviolence” on repeat for the last few days, it’s a really good album.
SH: Where do you see yourself in about 5 years? Do you want to continue doing entertainment work like you have and being a public figure?
BC: I’m aiming towards my biggest goal right now, which is to create a magazine in the UK for teenage girls that has a more positive nature to it. The current state of teenage media and entertainment is somewhat sad, it’s very much focused around boys and relationships instead of fashion and fun. I think these kinds of publications really don’t provide a very good role model or example for young girls. I’m hoping to start work towards that soon and maybe find a way to use my fashion brand to segue-way into doing that. In the age of YouTube and the Internet, where everything moves so quickly, you really can’t predict much about how things will be in 5 years, so I’m just continuing to work towards what I want to accomplish.
After our interview, Beckii headed off to some of her other events for the day, including some autograph sessions and a fun live performance later in the day, as well as doing some fun events and projects with the other guests and fans at Idol Matsuri. Here’s one of the funny projects done with other Western guests, SHEawase, Beri New Day, and Ally & Sally (courtesy of SHEawase):
Thanks again to Beckii for taking the time to sit down with us, it was a pleasure speaking with her, and a big thanks to her for coming out to Idol Matsuri to make our first year such a great time.
You can keep up with her via all her different channels and social media, which are linked below. Be sure to keep an eye out for more of her fashion, writing, and music projects in the future.