In the past year, we’ve seen the concept of VTubers blow up to where there is now a company in Japan represents some high profile ones. If you’re unfamiliar, a VTuber is basically just a YouTuber (or streamer on any platform), but what you see is a customized anime-style avatar in place of where you’d normally see a person there. It’s really taken over the streamer space because, let’s face it, people are really into anime, whether they’re open about it or not. Personally, I’m all for our new streamer friends as they do tend to come off more genuine about their personality behind the guise of a cute anime character. While most of them primarily do video games as their content, there’s one VTuber I came across a few weeks ago who’s added to the medium’s content selection that I wasn’t expecting.
YFU BABY is a singer and rapper who has truly broken what I thought was possible in the VTuber space and has likely helped open other doors for other VTubers who want to do more than game. I know a few other musicians in the space, but YFU’s singles have a certain flair and flow to them that I haven’t heard from other artists. YFU has debuted some catchy songs, including my personal favorite, “Kudasai,” which you can listen to right here.
We had a chance to talk with her to learn more about her budding career and some of her thoughts on the VTuber space. Since our interview, she’s already been streaming on Twitch. YFU Baby has also launched her music on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud.
Brock Jensen: There seems to be no end to the VTuber space, and you further that statement by creating a unique flow after releasing a few songs. What inspired you to use this platform to showcase your music?
YFU Baby: I’d watch a few streams of VTuber/Streamers, and I was mesmerized by the way they’re able to captivate an audience by just being themselves. I wasn’t always sure about streaming, but I knew that music has always been something that I wanted to do. This year I decided to really try to take my sound to the next level! The Twitch platform seemed like a good way to connect with other artists and listeners. They could not only get to know my musical creations, but also, they could get to know me too!
BJ: Given that you’re relatively new to the scene, what are some of your goals for the music’s future that you debut? Do you plan on focusing on singles or creating an album?
YFU: The gameplan for me is constantly changing. For now, though, I’m planning on releasing new music every month and performing live on Twitch every Saturday. At the same time, though, I am getting an album together! I’m planning to be able to drop that this year. We’ll see!
BJ: The blending of anime, music, and gaming seem to go hand-in-hand with the VTuber community. How do you see this evolving in the future as lines between each of the medium blends? Do you think a saturated market is possible, or do you feel like VTubers and these fandoms can exist and evolve alongside each other no matter how big they grow?
YFU: I think the three have taken mediums from each other for a very long time. There’s always been good music in anime and anime-esque characters and themes in video games, etc. They are definitely beginning to merge even more! An example of this being anime and video game samples being used in mainstream music. There will always be an audience for the three! No matter how many songs and artists come out, as long as the music is good, there will always be an audience, in my opinion. That goes for anime, video games, and VTubers too.
BJ: What are some of the more challenging moments of being a VTuber? I know we as fans see the end product of YFU Baby, and we support this character’s work, but what goes into the production side, such as songwriting and choreography?
YFU: The end product is what most people see, but there is a ton that goes into the things people like the most. Live performances and new music releases, for example, they usually take days — sometimes weeks — of planning! I work with some really great producers that send me beats I can hop on. I can usually write a song in a day or two. Usually, though, on day three, after listening to it a bunch, I want to switch something in the song or make it better. It’s in a constant state of being improved until I decide it’s ready to be performed! Incoming about a few days of practicing the song and coming up with light choreography. After that, I announce it, and hopefully, people enjoy!
BJ: AThe esports community has even entered this space with things like League of Legends music with their KPOP group K/DA and rap group True Damage. Do you feel the industry should make these types of collaborations more commonplace?
YFU: Oh yeah! I think it’s a really cool idea to start merging communities with music the right way. K/DA and True Damage work so well because even though they come from League of Legends, they aren’t catering just to League of Legend fans with their music. There are references that make it special just for them, but the music is something everyone can enjoy without necessarily being a part of the fandom. That’s the key!
BJ: You’ve mentioned you’re a gamer. Do you plan on incorporating video games into your music or streams?
YFU: I do plan on putting more of my video game interests into my songs! A reference or sample here or there. I’m also planning on streaming games very soon!
BJ: Are there any collaborations that you’re working on currently that you can tease?
YFU: I’m not sure if I can tease any names, but I do have a few collaborations that I’m super excited for! It’ll definitely be something to be around for.
BJ: Is there anything you’d like to add for fans who enjoy your music or are hearing about you for the first time?
YFU: I’d like to say welcome aboard! Also, thank you for possibly checking me out. Even though I just debuted about a month or so ago, I’ve gotten a lot of support, and that means a lot to me. I hope to make my mark in the industry, and to have Giga Gang along for the ride would be dope!
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