Out Now: Rina Sawayama’s New Album ‘Hold the Girl,’ a Powerful Musical Tour de Force (On Tour Now)


Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The past few years have brought with them an intensifying global focus on Rina Sawayama, the genre-hopping singer/songwriter who released her latest album, Hold the Girl, on Sept. 16.

Her 2020 debut album put the music scene on notice, a clever mix of unclassifiably diverse music owing as much to mainstream pop as straight-ahead rock placing the British-Japanese entertainer in “One to Watch” territory.

The momentum put in place, Sawayama ushered in her new era with “This Hell,” an empowering, life-affirming LGTBQ pride anthem from Sawayama, who publicly identifies as both bisexual and pansexual.

“It’s an important song for me given the human rights that are being taken away from minorities at a rapid rate in the name of traditional religious beliefs, more specifically I was thinking about the rights being taken away from the LGBTQ community when I wrote this song. When the world tells us we don’t deserve love and protection, we have no choice but to give love and protection to each other. This Hell is better with you.”

“Catch Me in the Air,” meanwhile, is a sweeping, soaring slice of pop perfection with a heartfelt message of love and appreciation extended from the artist to her mother, who raised Sawayama as a single parent:

Click here to pick up Hold the Girl on CD from our Rock Cellar Store – On SALE
Click here to pick up Hold the Girl on LP from our Rock Cellar Store — On SALE

Each of the above is a good example of the material on Hold the Girl, a collection of deeply personal and introspective recordings from Sawayama, furthering her career-long messaging and themes of self-actualization, self-worth and embracing one’s identity. It’s a powerful listen, and will a long way toward furthering her stature on the global scene.

To catch up on Rina Sawayama’s recent success, here’s a bit of a primer, per a news release:

In 2020, Rina’s debut album SAWAYAMA became one of the most critically acclaimed albums that year landing on over 50 album of the year lists, including the New York Times (#2), The Guardian (#3) and Rolling Stone (#6). The last 18 months have seen Rina Sawayama achieve a magnitude of milestones including changing the Mercury Prize and BRITs eligibility rules which meant Non-British artists could apply if they have been a permanent resident in the UK for more than 5 years. In 2021 Elton John joined forces with the pop star to release a special rendition of “Chosen Family,” a powerful and emotional ode to her LGBTQ+ family. Elsewhere Rina injected new life into Lady Gaga’s instant club classic “Free Woman.” 2023 will see Rina in her film acting debut as she stars in John Wick 4 alongside Keanu Reeves.

Rina Sawayama’s upcoming tour dates:

10/18 – Nottingham, England @ Rock City
10/20- Manchester, England @ Manchester Academy
10/21 – Birmingham, England @ O2 Academy Birmingham
10/23 – Brighton, East Sussex, England @ Brighton Dome
10/24 – Cardiff, Wales @ The Great Hall *NEW DATE*
10/26 – London, England @ O2 Academy Brixton

11/1 – Brooklyn, NY @ Great Hall at Avant Gardner
11/4 – Boston, MA @ Roadrunner
11/5 – Silver Springs, MD @ The Fillmore
11/6 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
11/8 – Atlanta, GA @ The Eastern
11/9 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
11/11 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
11/12 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s Austin
11/13 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
11/16 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
11/18 – San Diego, CA @ SOMA
11/21 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
11/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium



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