5 things to know about Rina Sawayama, the pansexual pop star set to feature on Lady Gaga’s Chromatica repackage and starring in John Wick: Chapter 4

Brit award-winner Rina Sawayama’s influences in music include Lady Gaga, who she is set to work with soon, as well as appearing in the new John Wick movie in 2022. Photo: @rinasonline/Instagram
Japanese-British pop artist Rina Sawayama is making her presence felt. Already working with big-name artists, she’s set for her acting debut in the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 4 film in 2022, gaining recognition outside the music world too.

As we await the film’s release and other musical projects, here are a few facts about the up-and-coming pop artist and actress.

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Her first studio album received high praise

Rina Sawayama’s self-titled album has garnered positive reviews from critics. Photo: @rinasonline/Instagram

Sawayama’s full length studio album from 2020, also called “Sawayama”, features thirteen tracks exploring various different genres. The album’s experimental style caught the attention of the media, receiving high praise from the likes of The New York Times and The Guardian. Legendary singer Elton John named her release “the strongest album of the year by far”.

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She fought for British immigrant artists to receive British awards

Rina Sawayama was nominated for the rising star award at the Brits 2021. Photo: @rinasonline/Instagram

Sawayama was nominated for the rising star award at the 2021 Brit awards. This came after a rule change she helped engineer. Despite immigrating to the UK at the age of five, Sawayama, like other British immigrant artists, was ineligible for the award due to not holding a British passport. She spoke out about this unfair policy of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), which organises the Brits, and convinced them to reconsider their terms.

After winning her fight for recognition, she announced on her Instagram that “artists (like me) will be eligible for nomination without British citizenship”. Now as long as artists have been permanently resident in the UK for more than five years, they are eligible for all award categories at the Brits, and the Mercury Prize, also organised by the BPI.

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She’s transparent about her sexuality

Billboard Magazine featured Sawayama in the pride month edition of their print magazine. Photo: @rinasonline/Instagram
Sawayama is a new and exciting voice for queer artists. In 2018, she came out as pansexual with her track Cherry, which describes the struggle of coming out while in a heterosexual-appearing relationship. She was also featured on the cover of Billboard for its Pride Month edition. Sawayama has spoken out to her fans, affectionately known as Pixels, about her queerness and how she embraces it in her music.

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She’s soon to make her acting debut

Rina Sawayama’s acting debut is in the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 4 film, to be released next year. Photo: @rinasonline/Instagram
Aside from being one of pop’s rising stars, Sawayama also has other exciting opportunities lined up. She will be starring alongside leading man Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry and other stars in the film John Wick: Chapter 4. Despite its release date being a little over a year away, she has been teasing her fans on social media with shots of her behind the scenes on set, or training in the gym to get fit for her role.

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She’s collaborated with a range of artists

Rina Sawayama has collaborated with other LGBTQ+ artists such as Elton John. Photo: @rinasonline/Instagram

Sawayama’s tracks have caught the attention of various musical artists, particularly Elton John. He fell in love with her song Chosen Family dedicated to queer friends she considers to be her family, and they released a duet of the song in April. Sawayama is also to be featured in Lady Gaga’s repackage of her recent album “Chromatica”, although she has yet to reveal which track she will be featured on.

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  • Her genre-bending album ‘Sawayama’ earned praise from The New York Times and The Guardian, and Elton John duetted on a version of Chosen Family
  • Sawayama is set to appear in John Wick: Chapter 4 with Keanu Reeves and Halle Berry, and successfully urged the Brit awards to include immigrant British artists