For the very first installment of this revamped series, we spoke with indie VTuber Crystal (also known as crystalmilktea) as she releases her very first original song titled "Smile Together". The track, released following her third anniversary of VTubing activities, was produced by TimothyAlv from the Tokyo Terrace MP collective.
NewsDrop spoke with Crystal to learn more the song's mean and significance to her and fans:
Meet the Production Staff
Q: Walk us first into the process how you came up with the lyrical flow of this track.
Crystal: The topline was created by Timothy from Tokyo Terrace Music Production - I gave them my English lyrics to work off of and let them know I wanted the song to be upbeat and pop-py, similar to TWICE or IZ*ONE J-Pop songs!
The Japanese lyrics were written afterwards by Berry Risa. Berry has a background in written and spoken translation and was also an overseas idol with me!
I love her writing as she's able to preserve the original English meaning and mood, while naturally fitting the Japanese lyrics to the flow of the song. Ensuring that the Japanese lyrics sound natural was really important to me so that the final song feels polished and professional.
What's in the Song?
Q: What was in your mind as you created your first original song? What themes or mood have you considered to be important in this track?
Crystal: I approached this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I wanted to create a song that fully encompasses my identity as a VTuber.
I'm known for my bubbly and positive personality, and my catch phrase since debut has been "Let's Smile Together!", so that's where I started!
From there, I decided to write a song full of hope for the future - a simple smile can be all it takes to brighten someone's day. It was also important to me that the song be fun and catchy, so you'd want to listen to it more than once!
Q: Coincidentally, this was released as part of your third year of VTubing activities. Would you say the song itself is sort of a metaphor of your VTubing experience?
Crystal: To be honest I haven't thought about my song in relation to my VTubing experience until now, but I can see it! Streamers and VTubers work their hardest to create uplifting content for their viewers, and a stream can often be a refreshing break from a long, mundane day.
"Streamers and VTubers work their hardest to create uplifting content for their viewers, and a stream can often be a refreshing break from a long, mundane day."
How was the Music Produced?
Q: Let's talk about the music production for this, done by the TokyoTerraceMP team. The collective has been known to produce more faster tracks in recent months. Could you tell us more about the creative exchange between both of you for this track?
Crystal: TokyoTerraceMP did a great job composing the music! The very first prompt I provided was "pop genre, not too loud, has a catchy upbeat groove and a repetitive hook (can be a instrumental hook or actual lyrics)".
I also gave a number of J-Pop and K-Pop reference songs for the first draft of the music. We went over a few different revisions based on my notes, and this was something I really appreciated as they allowed me to be heavily involved in the creative process!
Why "Smile Together"?
Q: If there is a key message you want fans and new listeners want to get from your track, what would it be and why?
Crystal: Life is not easy, and people go through so much everyday—if there's an opportunity for you to offer just a sliver of kindness, take it and do it! You never know how much it can impact someone. Sometimes all they need in the moment is a friendly face and a smile, so... let's smile together! :)
Performed by crystalmilktea
Written by Berry Risa & crystalmilktea
Composed by TimothyAlv (Tokyo Terrace MP)
Mixed and Mastered by Aruvn
Art by ofpon10d21
Music Video by Jaey