Japanese Pop Star Sena Kana has been getting buzz in the music industry with her latest single “Show Me” featuring Ty Dolla $ign.
Produced by Poo Bear, the artist behind Justin Bieber singles such as “What Do You Mean?” and “Where Are U Now,” “Show Me” has amassed over 6.5 million on YouTube since its release just under two weeks ago.
“Don’t you want to show me what it means to be loved?” Sena sings in the upbeat, dreamy chorus, becoming the first Japanese female solo pop artist to have a song go gold in the United States.
“‘Show Me’ is all about that magic that happens in collaboration,” featured artist Ty Dolla $ign told Page Six. “It was originally brought to me through my brother Poo Bear and with his incredible production merging with Sena’s one and only voice, I knew it was a hit the moment I heard it.”
Born in Tokyo, Japan, Sena performed in musicals as a child, such as The Sound of Music, later attending music school. In March 2019, her music career took off thanks to a single featuring American rapper Wiz Khalifa and the Australian band Sheppard. Titled “Up,” the song garnered 53 million views on YouTube, with subsequent lyric videos and remixes adding an additional 30 million listens.
Mega-hit producer Poo Bear then connected with her for her 2019 four-track EP Serenity, and now “Show Me,” with Ty Dolla $ign.
“‘Show Me’ is about the anxiety of not being able to convey what you want to say and highlights the importance of making an effort to show someone how you feel,” Sena Kana told Nylon. “It’s a song about the hope that comes from that effort of trying to connect with someone even when it is difficult.”
She said that seeing the song’s impact in the United States has made her “extremely happy,” and that she hopes to aim even higher for her next release.
On Sep. 19, Sena Kana traveled to New York City to see a billboard display her single’s release in Times Square. She described the experience to Page Six as “unreal.”
“I grew up seeing pictures of Times Square and it’s always been a dream of mine to see myself in the big city lights,” she said. “I am very excited and very thankful for the opportunity. I want to thank my fans and the people who have supported me along the way.”
Over the last couple of years, The U.S. music charts have finally opened to artists from other cultures, such as K-Pop artists BTS and Blackpink, and Spanish-language artists such as Bad Bunny, Rosalia, and J Balvin. Although Sena Kana’s latest single is in English, its popularity in America is a good sign for Japanese artists to be able to expand their listener base. Especially as they collaborate with American artists such as Ty Dolla $ign and Wiz Khalifa.
“It feels great to have accomplished that, not just for myself, but also for other Japanese artists who dream of crossing over to the U.S.,” Sena Kana told Nylon. “I have the same message for all of my fans, whether they are from Japan, the US, or anywhere else in the world. My ultimate goal is to make the world a more peaceful and kinder place.”
As to what’s next for the Japanese pop star: Sena Kana said that she would love to continue collaborating with Poo Bear, but that she is also “open to working with more artists and producers who share my vision.”
Especially in the face of Covid-19, Sena Kana wants her fans to know that she “will continue to make music that is a catalyst for positive change in their life, and the world around them.”