Yoshiki, the Japanese superstar and global renaissance man in the world of music for four decades, believes his latest creative venture as film director, in some ways, saved his life.
His debut documentary feature “Yoshiki: Under the Sky” is a concert film produced during the COVID pandemic shutdowns and features musical performances with famed collaborators as diverse as Nicole Scherzinger to St. Vincent.
Yoshiki made the project because “I wanted to lift up the spirit of my fans,” he told TheWrap as part of his Screening Series interview. “That’s the main reason. But at the same time, I was also in a dark place. Trying to help people was actually helping me.”
He continued: “There were so many [COVID] restrictions. Of course, I didn’t want to cross the line, but [to explore] how human beings feel how fragile we are, how powerless we are.”
In the movie, Yoshiki is unflinching about some of his own life’s toughest moments. He opens up about the loss of his father and Hide, his bandmate from rock band X Japan, both by suicide. Yoshiki explained that, without music and without his fans, he’s not sure if he’d still be alive today.
“Music helped me through so many hard times and dark times. When I was completely confused and sad, I started writing music,” he said. “You know, I didn’t have to have a piano or anything. I just write. Then somehow, I decided to keep on going. There are so many times like that.
“So I started thinking that if this music can help me, that music can help others,” he added. “I was like, ‘Wow, there’s a reason maybe I’m still here.’ So maybe I’m OK. That kind of motivated me to be here in this world.”
In the documentary, Yoshiki collaborates with artists — all at a COVID-safe distance in parking lots and rooftop stages — including Sarah Brightman, St. Vincent, Nicole Scherzinger, The Chainsmokers, SixTones, Sugizo, Jane Zhang and Lindsey Stirling. German rock group Scorpions even join Yoshiki for a new rendition of their 1990 classic “Wind of Change.”
“Yoshiki: Under the Sky” has opened in more than 150 theaters in Japan, the United States, France, Germany, and the U.K. Check out the film’s official site for updates.
And for the full Wrap Screening Series conversation with Yoshiki, click here.