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Rina Sawayama can’t release another album ‘under her current conditions’

Rina Sawayama can’t release another album ‘under her current conditions’

Rina Sawayama has told fans that she “feels really trapped” by her deal with label Dirty Hit Records, and that she “can’t release another album under my current conditions”.

The Brit Award-nominated musician and actor, 33, made the statement on Instagram as she shared an article she contributed to for The Independent to mark International Women’s Day.

In the piece, which also featured contributions from artists such as Self Esteem, Nova Twins and English Teacher’s Lily Fontaine, Sawayama addressed the “intense racist misogyny” she says she has experienced “since last summer”.

She was seemingly referring to the moment she appeared to call out her labelmate, The 1975 frontman Matty Healy, at Glastonbury Festival over his controversial remarks on a US podcast.

Later that day, the British-Japanese artist shared the article to her Instagram page, where she apologised to her fans and spoke about her mental health struggles.

“I’m sorry if I’ve let you down, my fans have been the shining light in all this,” she wrote. “You’re always so supportive of me and I appreciate it so much.

“I’ve been lucky to have found ways to keep my business afloat and support myself as well as my team, but when it comes to new music I can’t release another album under my current conditions. I feel really trapped and don’t know what to do.”

Sawayama added that she “felt enlivened by the strength” in The Independent story, but had also “cried at how truly rotten the industry is.”

Rina Sawayama (Charlotte Rutherford)
Rina Sawayama (Charlotte Rutherford)

“This is just a FRACTION of what actually goes on,” she wrote. “I’ve heard more stories like this, some worse, in private from other artists. There are men who have done horrible things to multiple women who have very secure jobs in high places. It’s truly terrifying.

“Like I said in the article I don’t know a single woman who has not experienced some form of misogyny. As someone whose passion in music at school was taken advantage of by a music teacher who proceeded to then groom me for several years in my teens, it starts young. The music industry is absolutely due a MeToo movement and we need your amplification.

“Otherwise these artists will disappear from the industry. I don’t want any young person to ever have to experience what some of these women have. I want men to amplify this too. This is our workplace and women don’t deserve to be treated like this. This is not some rite of passage and this needs to stop.”

Sawayama is currently signed to Dirty Hit, the UK label co-founded by Healy and Jamie Oborne, The 1975’s manager. The Independent understands that she is on a three-album deal, and has to date released two records, including last year’s critically acclaimed Hold the Girl.

The Independent has approached Dirty Hit Records for comment.

At Glastonbury last summer, Sawayama introduced her song “STFU!” onstage by sayinng: “Tonight, this goes out to a white man that watches Ghetto Gaggers, and mocks Asian people on a podcast... he also owns my masters... I’ve had enough.”

Healy spoke about having watched Ghetto Gaggers – a brand of racially charged pornographic videos in which women of colour are reportedly put in submissive positions to white men – during an appearance on the Adam Friedland Show podcast.

The podcast also featured segments in which Healy made reference to the US rapper Ice Spice. The hosts of the podcast mistakenly identified the rapper as being from Hawaiian Inuit and Chinese heritage, mocking each accent.

Healy issued an apology of-sorts to Ice Spice while onstage with The 1975 in Auckland, New Zealand. “I just feel a bit bad, and I’m kind of a bit sorry if I’ve offended you,” he said.

“Ice Spice, I’m sorry. It’s not because I’m annoyed that me joking got misconstrued. It’s because I don’t want Ice Spice to think I’m a d***. I love you, Ice Spice. I’m so sorry.”

Healy also addressed the podcast controversy in an interview with The New York Times last May.

Asked if he had been “baiting” his fans with the remarks, he said: “A little bit. But it doesn’t actually matter. Nobody is sitting there at night slumped at their computer, and their boyfriend comes over and goes, ‘What’s wrong, darling?’ and they go, ‘It’s just this thing with Matty Healy.’ That doesn’t happen.”

The interviewer then suggested that “maybe” this does happen, prompting Healy to respond: “If it does, you’re either deluded or you are, sorry, a liar.

“You’re either lying that you are hurt, or you’re a bit mental for being hurt. It’s just people going, ‘Oh, there’s a bad thing over there, let me get as close to it as possible so you can see how good I am.’ And I kind of want them to do that, because they’re demonstrating something so base level.”