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An Interview with Rachel "ROCKLEETIST" Robichaud

16 May 2015 | Written by Patrick Eason

If you're familiar with the term "Vocaloid" here in the U.S. then you're bound to be familiar with the name Rockleetist. Her real name is Rachel and recently she's gone from Youtube famous to official member of the industry. Her incredible English covers of Japanese Vocaloid tracks have garnered her a lot of respect in the community, so much so that Crypton Future Media has made her the official English demo voice for Vocaloid 03 Megurine Luka. This past October she was flown down to N.Y. to attend the Miku Expo concert where some of her covers were performed on stage. A talented artist, musician, and singer Rachel has a busy life. Recently she was gracious enough to take some time to sit down with me and answer a few questions.

Hello Rachel and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. I know you don't have a lot of time so let's get straight to it. What first attracted you to music?

I come from a musical family background, both of my parents were stage performers before I was born as is my older brother. They played as musicians for decades and were professional DJs in later years. In fact, I still have copies of their old business cards they used for booking. When I began showing signs of musical talent at an early age, they were extremely supportive of all my endeavors and my professional work; still are to this day.

What drew you to vocaloid?

At first, I wasn't familiar with Vocaloid at all. A friend had found a published upload of "Last Night, Good Night" (kz-livetune) and thought that it was a great piece of music. Once I heard it, I definitely agreed. Once I learned what Vocaloid truly was in regard to it being a vocal software, I was intrigued and began looking up music on my own. I love being exposed to new genres of music and cultural phenomenon, so it drew me in rather quickly.

Who is your favorite vocaloid as a character, and your favorite as a vocal bank?

My favorite character is Kaito; I love his simple design and his color palette. My favorite voice bank is Iroha Nekomura.

What is your favorite vocaloid song that you haven't covered yet?

"Lost Memories" by アウトプット. I've been wanting to do this song for over two years now, but haven't gotten around to it.

What is your favorite song that you have covered?

"Anger-11RMX" [Tripshots ft. 『rockleetist』] "Glass Wall" or "Unfragment". I can't choose; but any of those three I love.

What made you decide to translate and sing the vocaloid songs in English?

I did it on a whim. As I continued listening to all of these tracks in which foreign composers were producing, I realized that not one of the tracks had been reproduced in the English language. In attempt to grow the genre and expand it into English audiences, I began rewriting the direct translation of the lyrics into rhyme and performing covers of it on youtube. Before long, I had garnered a following of loyal listeners and those same composers that I admired were now working alongside me to create new tracks and singles. I was writing lyrics and being recognized in Niconco Live Tour albums and Crypton Future Media contracted me for use of my English work for Luka Megurine's Official V3-V4X Demo, Miku Expo, and their live Vocaloid concerts.

How do you decide what song to work on next?

Fans post things all over the place and tag me. It sounds hilarious, but that's how I find most of the tracks I discover. "Rockleetist should sing this!" or "I think you'd like this song! #rockleetist" is something I see often. Sometimes composers will come to me personally for collaboration as well.

What software do you use for recording and editing your songs?

Reaper Digital Audio Workstation

Which vocaloid artists have you worked with?

Dixie Flatline, Tripshots, Q-Ichiro, Ensou, Tenkomori, Chiba Kenichi, Masaki, Lushka, kz, Hiroyuki ODA/Hanasoumen-P:

Are there any that you would like to work with in the future?

Tripshots, Dixie Flatline, and Chiba Kenichi. I love their tracks and composition so much and admire them. They are always very kind to me.

You're now the official English demo for Vocaloid Luka, that's a huge thing. You've become an official part of the global vocaloid industry. How do you feel about that?

I've worked very hard for a number of years. It was a wonderful feeling to move from a hobbyist into a professional lyricist and musician. It makes me incredibly happy to see my efforts become recognized, yet at the same time see how my involvement has had a positive influence on others. More musicians are beginning to embrace the idea of Vocaloid software and it's much easier to relate to when you understand the lyrics of the music. I feel blessed that I am in the position that I am in and am grateful for the opportunities that both independent composers and Crypton Future Media itself have given me. I look forward to my career and work every day; not everyone can say that.

Are you working on any new vocaloid projects now?

Yes, I am. I am currently working on English tracks of Ensou's work.

Any chance of more original music in the future?

Absolutely! "The Hero (Princess is Waiting)" is just a small single, but it was very successful. I hope that people will continue enjoy my original work as well as my continuing career with Vocaloid.

A big thank you again to Rachel for talking with me today. You can follow her on her official Youtube channel, her Facebook page, and on Twitter @rockleetist.