I interviewed Sheryl Crow at the inaugural MTV Japan Awards 2002 in the press conference room. Although there were around 30 members of the press in the room, my greater willingness to 'pitch in' led to me having an almost free run at a number of the big names rolled past us that night. The event was held on Friday, the 24th of May.
CBL: This is the first time they've had MTV awards in Japan. Do you think it’s part of the Globalization thing or do you think it's something, y'know, that just strikes a chord in every human heart?
SC: I think . . . It seems logical to me that there would be an award for Japanese videos because videos have become an accepted art form, almost a separate entity from music, and almost every art form is recognized now with some kind of award. So, I think certainly the Japanese were headed in that direction.
CBL: But do you think it's similar to the way they do it in America? They’ve got the same VJs, the same kind of attempt to create a kind of zaniness, and controlled zaniness.
SC: Yes, it's very entertainment oriented.
CBL: So, it's part of Globalization then?
SC: Well, I think, y'know, America sort of created the model for the MTV awards, and Europe sort of followed that model, and then now Japan is holding MTV awards sort of patterned after that model.
CBL: So, it's part of the kind of Gap, Starbucks, kind of MTV thing?
SC: Well, MTV is actually, I mean, it is sort of the mother network of all the MTVs all over the world. I’m assuming they would do it all the same . . . I don’t know if you'd call it franchising or not.
CBL: Do you see a lot of unique Japanese elements with MTV Japan?
SC: It's very similar, I think, to what’s going on in the United States. I mean, obviously, our cable TV is everywhere in the United States, so MTV is a part of our everyday life probably more so than it is in Japan, but I think it’s very similar. And great videos are being made here. I've seen so many great videos since I've been here.
CBL: Yeh. So, there's not that much of a Japanese atmosphere?
SC: Well, I definitely think there's a Japanese tint to it, just because lifestyle here is different from it is in America. But I think, as an art form, some of the videos I’ve see have been extremely progressive, even more so than maybe what’s been going on in the United States.
CBL: Could you give me an example . . . please.
SC: Well, in the United States, I think, videos tend to take on a look. There'll be a very successful video and then every video kind of looks like that, and then...
CBL: They jump on the bandwagon?
SC: Somebody will step out, much like commercial making. In fact, I think videos are basically commercials for songs. It’s just like pop radio – there’ll be one artist that steps out in front of everyone and then every artist will sound like that for a while. Same with videos. But over here I saw some very different kinds of film making going on than I've seen in the States.
CBL: So Japan's a bit more quirky and individualistic than America?
[The PR people obviously felt that I had been hogging the press conference and started tugging on the mic which I relinquished under protest]
CBL: They've been doing this to me all night.