Emi is a talented third year music student, who came all the way from Japan to study jazz piano at McGill. Having set foot in Canada for the first time for university three years ago, she has juggled school, hectic piano practices, adjusting to a new culture, and the ever-surprising Canadian temperatures. And on top of that, she is now part of the new jazz band ‘Moral of the Dream,’ formed with her fellow aspiring jazz musicians at McGill.
Belle Kim for Her Campus (HC McGill): When did you first encounter jazz and how did you know you wanted to pursue it?
Emi Shibata (ES): I was first encouraged by my parents to start classical piano when I was around seven years old and I played it up to the tenth grade. It was alright but it hadn’t really been my decision to study classical. And then next year, after attending a jazz piano performance by Hank Jones in Japan, I became instantly immersed in jazz and I was impressed enough to start studying jazz piano.
HC McGill: Who is your favorite jazz artist? And is there a favorite song you would like to recommend to readers?
ES: That’s a hard choice. I like many artists but I particularly enjoy Herbie Hancock, Wynton Kelly, and Mccoy Tyner. I like to play Blue Bossa by Steve Khun. (Bossa nova is a type of Brazilian music). You can listen to this fantastic piece recommended here.
HC McGill: I happen to know that you have a twin sister Rika who is also in jazz piano. It’s pretty amazing that you guys share this same passion for jazz and are both at McGill pursuing it. Do you see yourself taking the same path as your sister?
ES: Yes we are pursuing a similar path right now but we kind of regret that we play the same instrument. If we had started on different instruments we could’ve jammed together. I would have liked for Rika to have played the drums instead while I stick to my piano because I like playing the piano (laughs).
HC McGill: Are you guys similar in your style, taste in music?
ES: I thought we were similar but I’ve realized now that we are different in our style of playing. Rika focuses on articulation so she plays softly and she likes ballad. I tend to play more aggressively and I enjoy more fast tempo music.
HC McGill: Now let’s start talking about the band ‘Moral of the Dream.’ You guys are just starting off so can you introduce us to its interesting name and its members?
ES: In order to play a gig we obviously needed a good name for our band and when our guitarist suggested the name, we all liked the sound of it so we simply decided on that. You know how people wonder what the moral of a story is? It’s like that but with dreams so the name ‘Moral of the Dream’ means things you learn from your dreams. A quick introduction: our band plays jazzy and funky music with musicians including Leon the vocalist, VJ on the drums, Ben on double bass, Cole on the guitar and lastly me on the piano.
HC McGill: How did you guys all get involved in the band? Was it hard to bring all your sounds together and work with one another?
ES: Leon started the band by inviting each of us who were in her classes to join. Not really it went pretty smoothly. It was actually fun to jam together with different instruments.
HC McGill: What kind of songs does the band like to play? Do you write you own music or do you like to play other jazz songs?
ES: We do both, we play jazz standards and we also compose our own music. In our last gig, which was at Café Shaika last semester, each one of us had composed a song before and we were able to play all of them for the audience.
HC McGill: Any future performances that the readers could know about?
ES: We have some gigs coming up in the middle of the semester and we will let Her Campus know about the events. Otherwise you can contact me for more news or keep a lookout for our posters.
HC McGill: What is the band’s plan or any goals for 2015?
ES: I do hope we get to play more this semester. It would be awesome to have oppotunities to entertain more audiences with our music and hope that they will enjoy it as much as we love playing it. Make sure to look out for performances by ‘Moral of the Dream’ this semester!
Images provided by interviewee.