The music of Final Fantasy is loved by fans all across the world with concerts celebrating decades of emotions and stories. I recently had the chance of attending the An Evening with Final Fantasy concert at the Opera House, interviewing the singer behind several of Final Fantasy XIII-2 songs, Joelle, who detailed her experience as a singer and the music of one of the most beloved video game series.
Joelle has performed a variety of songs from the Final Fantasy XIII-2 soundtrack, including the iconic song, Yuel’s Theme, and believes that the music of the series draws people more than anything.
“I love the feel and world [the Final Fantasy series] creates,” she said. “Of course the game is both the [story, characters and world] and music but the music itself still tells the story.”
“I feel very connected [to] the songs [the organiser of the event and pianist] Nathan has chosen,” she continued. “The seven songs I’ll be singing each have something I relate to and something new that I can improve on in my life.”
When performing, Joelle focuses on the emotional connection music creates between a performer and the audience.
“I love beautiful music and beautiful melodies,” she said. “Through singing and being involved with music I can open my eyes and see what I want to see and deliver, and see that come back to [the audience]. That is my happiest moment.”
Joelle also described her time as a singer in Japan and how her managing company got her involved in recording songs for Final Fantasy XIII-2.
“I got a phone call from them saying, ‘hey there’s three songs we want you to try and sing’,” she said. “I didn’t get a music sheet or anything; I just went in there one day and imagined how to sing it.”
Joelle also sees covering songs as an opportunity to see another side of herself that she’s able to sing.
“It’s always good to try new things and you can always [make a song] your own,” she said. “I’ve been involved with Rikki, who sang [the theme song of Final Fantasy X] Suteki Da Ne in other projects so I’m very honoured.”
Joelle believes that she and the other performer, organiser of the event and pianist, Nathan Tam have natural chemistry.
“The tenderness of his playing is the same [as mine],” she said. “It’s warm but it’s strong. It feels like it’s caressing you and I don’t want to forget about that with my singing either.”
Joelle has also been featured in the Japanese fantasy band Sound Horizon run by the artist behind the Attack on Titan soundtrack Rebel, a striking difference to her soft ballads.
“It’s very gothic rock,” she said. “[The band’s message] changes depending on the project [since] they always tell a different story. His music reaches out to people who are emotionally vulnerable.”
As expected, Joelle has found performing as a soloist challenging when contrasted with her experience performing with Sound Horizon.
“[In the past], I’ve sang with [a crowd of] 15,000 people but it’s better because all the lights are on me so I can’t see anyone,” she said. “When I can see everybody it’s a little bizarre.”