Shortly before her upcoming concert in Tokyo, we spoke briefly with Canadian singer Maylee Todd about costumes, funk, and being big in Japan.

Quirky songstress Maylee Todd is already a well-known name on the Tokyo scene and will be hopping over once again for one of her signature performances of indie pop, bossa nova, soul and jazz this week. Hailing from Toronto, Todd’s musical career got started in her room, literally – she told us she wasn’t very much interested in anything back then, except for writing tunes.

She is not only big in Japan now, but also back in Canada where she was just nominated for the coveted (and prestigious) SOCAN songwriting award (you can even vote for her!), which honors the best independent music in the northern land. Her latest album, Escapology, is quickly climbing the charts in Japan, and she’s been called “daring, delightful and deliriously entertaining.” Let’s find out what she’s all about, before she takes Tokyo by storm once again.

What are your major influences?

My major influences would be Michael Jackson, Patrice Rushen, Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, Brand New Heavies, and Donny Hathaway.

We heard you like costumes and dramatic performances, where does that stem from?

The costumes and dramatic performances must stem from my mother. She always wore interesting one-of-a-kind pieces, she would also make costumes for us and make our clothes. My mother was a very crafty, out-of-the-box thinker and designer.

How would you describe your musical style to those who don’t know?

My musical style stems from soul, boogie, and dat FUNK!

What instruments do you use?

The instruments I play for creating my songs are the harp, piano, bass, guitar and controllers such as the tenori-on.

What will be playing on your iPod on your flight to Japan?

I’ll be listening to Rhye, Harrison, Bang the Party compilations (always a great way to find good music) and Glass Candy.

What’s on your to-do (or eat!) list when you’re in Japan? 

Oh man, everythang! When I was in Japan every single thing tasted soooo good. Definitely gotta get me some sea urchin!

You seem to have a fully formed fan base in Japan – what do you think is especially appealing to Japanese fans?

I love that I have a huge fan base in Japan, because I am a huge fan of Japanese culture. Maybe what I find so appealing about Japan is what Japanese fans find appealing about me; style, performance, and out-of-the-box creation.

Maylee Todd will be performing at Billboard Live Tokyo on June 22. Click here for more information and tickets.