oday, I'm hopping on FaceTime with Liam Nikuro, a Japanese-American virtual influencer based in Tokyo, Japan. Liam produces music, works part-time as a model, and loves fashion, basketball, and a nice bowl of ramen. He doesn't just love basketball—he was one of the few outside attendees at last year's NBA bubble, thanks to a special invitation from Rui Hachimura and the Wizards.
Who is Liam Nikuro, really, though? I'm hoping to learn more about his experiences navigating COVID-19, his upcoming music projects, and just exactly how he got a coveted invite to the NBA bubble in our conversation today.
Let’s dive right in!
[Christopher] Liam! It's great to meet you. Where are you right now? It seriously looks awesome.
[Liam] Hey Christopher. Thanks for the call! I am currently in Tokyo, Japan.
Nice! Let's kick it off. I see you roll in some interesting circles, hanging with virtually anyone from The Weeknd to Posty to Skrillex. How'd you end up in that position?
I’ve always loved music and been a huge fan of all these artists. I would go to their concerts whenever I could to learn from and be inspired by them. All these amazing artists love Japan and visit often, and I was extremely lucky to get to know them. They are part of the reason why I wanted to become an artist myself.
I love that! Who's the most inspirational person you've met so far?
I can’t pick just one because so many artists have influenced me in different ways, but Bruno Mars is someone I get a lot of my musical inspiration from. I love his whole charisma and vibe, and his music style is something I really enjoy. I listen to his music, watch his videos, and am always trying to learn from him.
Although virtual, you're quite the influencer yourself—what does being an influencer mean to you?
To me, being an influencer means having the power to change the world and make the world a happier place. Everybody has a chance to become a positive influence on their community, and I want to use my platform to share my voice and opinions.
How do your fans treat you? I understand a lot of virtual influencers get bullied for how they look. What do you think about that?
My fans are awesome! They’re the best. I receive a ton of love and support from my followers and they are the reason I am where I am. I love communicating with my fans through social media. It’s unfortunate to hear some of the virtual influencers are getting bullied just because they look a bit different from real humans.
Appearance shouldn’t affect anything because it’s the inside that matters the most. Just like humans, right? What counts is the heart.
Speaking of fan experiences, I've been dying to know... what was your favorite part about being a VIP guest of the Wizards in the NBA bubble?
That was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and I still can’t believe how incredibly lucky I was! I play basketball myself and have always been an NBA fan, so visiting the bubble was surreal. My favorite part was going to the barber for a haircut!
Who is your favorite NBA player right now?
Rui Hachimura! He is such a great role model and inspiration to everyone here in Japan. It’s exciting to see him make history worldwide. I think I can relate to him as well because we are both half Japanese and grew up with mixed cultures all around.
My goal is to be as international as he is.
Speaking of the bubble, how has COVID affected your life?
This pandemic has been such a strange time for us all. Asian hate crimes have been rising and that definitely affects me and those around me because I am part Japanese. It breaks my heart to see my fellow Asians experiencing this.
Obviously, it’s been tough for all of us but at the same time, some good also came from COVID. For example, if it wasn’t for the pandemic, I would have never been invited to the bubble and wouldn’t have met Rui and the team.
What's something your fans don't know about you?
My love life 😉
Moving on... What's next on the radar for you in life?
I am releasing my first single this summer. I have been working on it for a while now, so I am super stoked to be able to finally show everyone! Grammy award winning producers, The Stereotypes, helped produce the track, so it’s going to be sick.
Dang! Well Liam, before we break here, let me ask you something I ask everyone—who are you, Liam Nikuro?
I am just your average guy trying to make people smile and change the world!
Thank you Liam, call me anytime!