She’s been dubbed the “Real Hannah Montana” by NBC and Yahoo. I first heard about this transpacific pop star back in March of 2011 through My Fox Phoenix.com. Who is this rising star in Jpop ? Who is this teen phenom who is trying to make it as a cross-over success in the already cut-throat world of the U.S. music biz?
She’s, Kylee Saunders, a 17-year-old bi-cultural teen who lives a true double life! I think even James Bond would have to pause at her intense pace. Kylee spends holidays and breaks jettisoning between the U.S. and Japan to record, shoot videos, and promote her upcoming albums. While in Japan she’s connecting with fans and maintaining a presence in the very fickle Japanese Jpop scene.
Life in the U.S.
In the States she is a straight A student and leads a “normal” family life. With a younger sister who is trying to make her way in entertainment and a younger brother, Kylee is definitely a positive role model to them both. Her high school English teacher describes her as a typical teen, “She’s chatty in class, I’ve had to tell her to be quiet.” He chuckled as he emphasized that Kylee isn’t a prima donna.
The Power of Disney
Who would have known that the theme song from the Disney movie Mulan would be the birth of a music career? Kylee took her love for Disney movies and karaoke and launched a career that most of us would dream about. Her big break came when she was only 11 years old. She was able to sing The Star Spangled Banner at a Trailblazers basketball game. You would think that at 11 Kylee would have been intimidated by the massive crowd, but her only response to her dad was, “You told me there would be a lot of people.” Watch out Miley Cyrus!
Kylee’s new title track Never Give Up is her battle cry. She truly believes that no one should quit following their dreams.
An Example to All
Kylee is a great example of someone who has been able to meld their English-speaking life with their Japanese life. Yes, she has the benefit of being raised in a bilingual home, but it is very easy to relinquish one part of your identity for another. Kylee is an example of someone who hasn’t sacrificed her culture for celebrity. I guess we can say she is a lot better than the “real Hannah Montanta” after all!