Rina Sawayama Channels Pop-Country Vibes with New Song “This Hell,” a Defiant LGBTQ+ Anthem

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The past few years have seen a surge in attention thrown in the direction of Rina Sawayama, a multifaceted Japanese-British singer/songwriter with a knack for exploring all corners of the pop/rock world.

Sawayama returned on Wednesday with a new song titled “This Hell,” a slice of country/pop/glam that nods to Shania Twain, its lyrics making reference to Britney Spears, Princess Diana and Whitney Houston, as well as themes relevant to the LGBTQ+ community.

For Sawayama, who publicly identifies as both bisexual and pansexual, “This Hell” has a special importance, especially considering the news headlines lately:

“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.”

“This Hell” is the lead single from Hold The Girl, Sawayama’s sophomore album, which will be released on Sept. 2 via Dirty Hit and follows 2020’s Sawayama, a debut record that put her on the map worldwide with a genre-bending mix of styles.

That first record included “STFU,” a particularly noteworthy nu-metal throwback with lyrics depicting the experiences women are forced to deal with far too often:

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.

The future is now for Rina Sawayama, and “This Hell” ushers in an exciting next chapter in her ever-evolving career. Stay tuned for more.

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