We've already spent a few weeks of 2024, and we are blessed with yet another inspiring MusicDrop story to date: this time featuring Rita Kamishiro of PRISM Project and her first EP of the year Hours of the Day.
This EP, consisting of the tracks Photocopy, HEART/BEATS and Girls Night! now adds to her growing discography, which includes singles One Step, FEARLESS and My World.
MusicDrop had the opportunity to speak with Rita to learn the inspiring message of this EP, how this correlates to her mantra for this year, and how this EP is reflective of her mental health advocacy.
How This EP Stands Out
Q: Aside from the fact that this is your first music release for 2024, what do you think this EP makes it more special in contrast to the rest of your original discography?
Rita: "In contrast to the previous three songs that stand on their own, the three in this EP are connected! Even though they’re very different in genres, they’re meant to mimic the energy of the day as the sun changes in the sky.
"My mornings are calm, quiet, and contemplative, similar to the moody, groovy vibes of Photocopy. The afternoon is when I tend to go out the most- this is when I would make plans with friends, or go out to a cafe or library to get some work done! So HEART/BEATS’ bright, upbeat energy is a perfect match! And the evenings is usually when I like to kick back, let loose, and just have fun, so Girls Night was meant to evoke that feeling!"
Continuously Advocating Mental Health Awareness
Q: As an ambassador for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), how did you apply your advocacy to this EP?
Rita: "One of my goals as a mental health ambassador is to encourage others to think critically about their feelings and feel comfortable with expressing them. Using music as an outlet for my emotions, almost like a musical journal, I want to share my thought process when dealing with various problems I encounter.
"I’ve found that others who’ve also felt similarly resonate with my words, and find ways to process how they feel about and figure out how to deal their situation (whether similar to mine or not) when contemplating the lyrics.
"Every song I’ve put out is a page from my 'musical journal' and discusses one of these different problems that I’ve had to overcome. The idea behind Photocopy, and really the whole concept of the album, came about when I felt like I was limited by people’s views and expectations of me to be a certain way, or not act a certain way.
"For HEART/BEATS, I felt like people looked down on me for being emotional, vulnerable, and soft. As for Girls Night!, I often struggled with convincing myself that time for rest and relaxation was just as important as work and study.
"By sitting with these tough feelings, really feeling them, and taking the time to understand them, I was able to come to peace with a lot of that negative energy and make plans for how to overcome them in the future, whether it was a change in mindset, or behaviors."
How Would You Describe This EP?
Q: If there is one word that best describes 'Hours of the Day', what would it be and why?
Rita: "That would be 'change'! It actually matches my 'Year Theme' for 2024, which is also, 'change'! Every year, instead of making resolutions, I like to set a theme for a year to guide my thinking and mindset. 2022 was 'Passion and Fearlessness' and 2023 was 'Wellness'!
"The reason why 'change' is the word that describes Hours of the Day is because I want people to embrace how we as people change! Be comfortable with thinking about difficult and uncomfortable feelings you might have, and embrace the complexity of 'you'!"
Storytelling and Creative Process
Q: Could you tell us sort of a brief explanation and/or storytelling behind the EP's overall message?
Rita: "Like how the sun in the sky changes throughout the day, we as people change over the course of a lifetime, over years, months, weeks, or even within one day. Even though we have many confusing, contradicting, and changing feelings, we still are, at the end of the day, simply ourselves. Hours of the Day aims to showcase that, similarly to how one day can have various moods, energies, and vibes, we as people are who are because of our depth of character and we are still ourselves despite change.
"Since I’m happy, energetic, and bubbly most of the time, people make a big deal whenever I happen to be quiet for a little bit or a little serious. People have created such a rigid image of who they think I am or expect me to be, that sometimes it feels like it’s hard to say certain things or express the other aspects of myself.
"Photocopy is a song about how I wish people would just let me be without having expectations of what I should act like, thinking that some aspects of me are fake, or that there’s some underlying reason for everything I do. When we take photos or copies of things, that image is already very different from the original thing.
"Photocopies sometimes have misprints, polaroids have a color filter, and pictures in general are only just a moment in time. Whoever you just took a picture of has moved, changed their pose, stopped smiling, etc. The picture you know have isn’t necessarily a lie, but it’s not the whole idea. It’s nice to have pictures of things, but you also have to appreciate the original and let it be.
"Even though I have all these different, complex, contradicting, confusing emotions: happy, sad, angry, scared, tired, etc. I’m still, simply, one thing: me. I hope this thoughtful and reflective song implores you to embrace the multifaceted-ness of yourself and others, as well as the beauty of change.
"[Meanwhile, HEART/BEATS was inspired by some of my favorite video games which reminded that being strong is more than just choosing to attack your enemies! There is strength in relying on others, being vulnerable and emotional, and choosing to be kind. What people forget about positivity is that it's not just ignoring the negativity you experience- but finding ways to lift yourself and others up despite the challenges you face.
"Let yourself feel sadness, anger, but don't let it take over. Find guidance and direction in love and hope, not fear or hatred. It's so easy to be consumed by the darkness in the world, and I hope this song gives listeners the power they need to overcome it. I want listeners to be uplifted by the warmth in HEART/BEATS' upbeat energy! The whole music video is an homage to the games, Undertale, Deltarune, Omori, and A Space for the Unbound! Each of these games have stories and characters that are incredibly inspiring to me, and I implore you to check them out!
"[Lastly,] Girls Night! is a song about seizing the day and forgetting about your troubles for the moment to enjoy the spontaneity of life. With all other important things we need to worry about, like work, school, bills, savings, etc., it’s also healthy to have time every once in a while to spend with your friends, turn your brain off, and be silly!
"It's not about being completely reckless, but taking time to be mindful of the balance between work and play. Planning and securing a bright future is important, but so is living in and experiencing the now! Whether you identify as a girl or not, I hope this song's funky groove gives you the confidence and energy you need for a fun night without worry!"
The Message of EP
Q: If there is one message you'd want fans to learn from this EP, what would it be and why?
Rita: "Embrace all the parts of who you are! Don’t be afraid to sit with your feelings, listen to them, get to know them, understand them, and you just might find the answers you seek, the solutions to your problems, or even more things about yourself to love."
We thank the team at PRISM Project for allowing us to interview Rita Kamishiro in depth about her latest EP. "Hours of the Day" is currently up on her official Spotify page, as well as on other major streaming platforms.