Rina Sawayama calls music industry 'rotten,' say she can't release an album 'under these conditions'

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Japanese-British singer Rina Sawayama spoke to The Independent about issues in the music industry, including accusations of racism and misogyny, and says that she feels "trapped" in her label's contract, calling her fans a "bright spot" but says that she can't release new music "under these conditions."

"People feel like they can’t speak up. I don't blame them – we've all seen what happens to women who do. But something needs to change."

Last summer, Sawayama made headlines for calling out then-rumored beau of Taylor Swift, Matty Healy, for racist comments he had made on a podcast, ending her callout of his racist jokes with a frustrated reminder that he owns part of the label that she released her music under, saying, "He also owns my masters. I've had enough."

Now, she's speaking out against the rest of the music industry for similar complaints. Alongside other women in music who appeared in the article -- including both singers like Izzy Bee Phillips and Heather Baron Gracie as well as photographers, managers, and other industry employees -- Sawayama says that the world has made improvements since the days of tabloids mocking Britney Spears for shaving her head during a mental health crisis, but admits that ther'es still a long way to go, especially for women.

"The public has a much more sympathetic view on artists’ mental health and personal space. However, within the industry, behind closed doors, I’ve noticed how men are now weaponising the language of women’s mental health to masquerade misogyny," she said of the fact that while outwardly, people seem to be more understanding and supportive, microaggressions still exist behind closed doors.

She said that the industry's focus on numbers and money has caused performers to see each other as competition and she wants the "constant competition for relevance" to change and to bring a sense of community back among musicians and performers.

On her Instagram, Sawayama shared the article and thanked the other voices that came forward to share their stories of harassment and mistreatment in the music industry.

In the caption, she shared an update for her future music, referring to the label that Matty Healy who she previously called out for his racism by saying, "I've been lucky to have found ways to keep my business afloat and support myself as well as my team, but when it comes to new music I can't release another album under my current conditions. I feel really trapped and don't know what to do."