Well, I wonder if it’s really okay to talk about it like this when I’m not actually a Miku user myself, but…as much as I’m a Vocaloid producer I also happen to be a fan, and that means I adore Miku dearly as well. Plus, Miku herself means a lot more to me than just the character and voice, so I think it’s worth discussing, especially since everyone else seemed to be sharing their stories as well.
Ten years, huh?
It’s hard for me to remember the exact details of how I was led into the world of Vocaloid culture, because it all happened so quickly that it blurs together, but I can at least remember a few things. I had two friends who were very into Nico Nico Douga culture, and the first time I saw what Miku looked like was through Kagami’s cosplay of her in the Lucky Star OVA. I heard various song names and casually looked into it online every so often. But one way or another, something clicked in the summer of 2009 and I fell in completely.
I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know everything as soon as I take an interest in something, but “doing research” into Vocaloid is a bottomless pit when there’s so much to discover. Soon I was spending time on wikis and binge-watching videos and reading song translations and had my own account on Nico Nico Douga, although my Japanese ability at the time was pitiful.
That was how I discovered so many things.
It’s not that I wasn’t aware of any genres besides mainstream American pop at the time, but I hadn’t spent much time going out of my way to find it, so anything seemed to be new and exciting. Falling in love with folk music wasn’t an immediate reaction, because my mind didn’t fully register it as a “genre” at first, or was even able to process what it was I liked about it — just that there was this beautiful fantasy-like feeling to the beautiful songs I kept encountering by chance in the Weekly Vocaloid Ranking. But after hearing people refer to the genre by name, and seeing it solidified as something that actually existed in a concrete form made it something that I wanted to aspire towards.
I have to give my respects to all the composers who also helped create the world that made me realize that I wanted to make something like that, too. Among many other things, I am also thoroughly grateful to the Vocaloid Folk Song Compilation (VOCALOID民族調曲集) album for gathering so much of that in one place and solidifying it as something real to me. To this day, it is one of the most treasured things in my possession.
Back in 2009, the idea of being able to make music was something I’d jokingly considered and then passed off as “hah, as if”. I didn’t understand what DTM was, and my view of a “Vocaloid producer” was that of “an amazing person who can do amazing things”, which I considered myself as definitely not. But so many things happened within those eight years that it’s hard to believe even now. The UTAU environment that I worked in swept away the intimidation of “making originals”, and the overseas community was starting to develop a producer culture of its own of the kind that was considered impossible back then (which I’d like to talk about more in detail sometime later).
I’m blessed. I really am.
I want to make things that people will like. I’m happy to do whatever I can do, the way I want to do it. And I’m really grateful for all the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had that can’t possibly be summarized in a short blog post.
Let’s do our best in the future.