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Corefest 2018 Artist Spotlight: Japanese Breakfast
by Katie Brownlie

The headliner for this year's Corefest is none other than the transcendentally interstellar Japanese Breakfast! Japanese Breakfast is an experimental indie pop project by Michelle Zauner, the former frontwoman for Philadelphia-based emo band Little Big League. It all started when Zauner returned to her hometown in Oregon in 2013 to care for her ailing mother, who was suffering from cancer. Zauner used music to cope during that difficult period, and her musical musings led to the creation of Japanese Breakfast and her debut solo album Psychopomp. Released in 2016, a Pitchfork critic described as “at once cosmically huge and acutely personal”, and by Spin as "a sharp-edged exploration of how loneliness and longing form into brittle personal shields." Click here to watch the music video for "In Heaven", which uses a driving beat to mask the lyrical melancholy expression of loss and grief. 


Beyond her recent personal struggles, Zauner’s other big inspiration for her music is her Asian heritage. She has expressed hopes that her career will inspire other budding Asian-American artists. She is not actually Japanese, as the name of her band would seem to indicate, but of Korean and Jewish descent. The song “Diving Woman” off of her sophomore album Soft Sounds from Another Planet is inspired by the female divers from Jeju Island, South Korea, who plunge up to 30 meters and hold their breath for over three minutes in order to catch sea creatures to sell at market. Click here to listen to the song "Diving Woman" on Spotify!