Jennifer Cihi's Honorary Talent of Being the Original Singer of Love and Justice!

Jennifer Cihi is an American singer/actress who's  performed on Broadway at a young age, done projects in the line of television, commercials, jingles, and animated films and series, one of which is one of Japan's most iconic since its debut 20 years ago, known only as Sailor Moon! She was indeed the singing voice talent behind that blonde haired school girl, the protector of love and justice herself Sailor Moon! Jennifer Cihi took some time to talk about the success of the series as well as her own back story on her life with all of the projects she's worked on within the past, present, and future timelines.

1. Can you introduce yourself, tell me what you do, and can you give those who aren't familiar with who you are a brief summary?

Jennifer: First Hi Natalie, nice to chat with you over the phone, my name is Jennifer Cihi, I am the singing voice of Sailor Moon that was recorded back in the 90's as well as filmed in the 90's. I now live in Nashville but at the time I had lived in Los Angeles during that project. I also have been a singer for many years now, that was just one of the cool projects I had did, while in Los Angeles I had done other projects like jingle works and was on a TV show for Nickelodeon called Roundhouse around the same time as Sailor Moon. Just lived in Los Angeles for a long, long, long time worked for Disney, did all kinds of projects, toured with a girl group and bands in the 90's then moved to Nashville. Oh gosh 12 years ago and I am still singing now, I can't believe I am in the 40's and I am still up there shaking, rattling, and rolling haha!

2. Would you say that you're a solo artist or involved in a band and you perform regularly or do you just sing for various songs here and there?
Jennifer: Yeah I have never been like "Jennifer Cihi the Artist" going back to the 90's I was shopping around for a record deal with this producer friend of mine, who was writing songs with at the time, during my 20's just getting any recording contract was really hard back then and is now, but at least now you have the internet where you don't even need a record label, you can become famous and very successful without the need of the middle man. But I never really went that route, I was always working for a big company or other corporate bands, but the whole Jennifer Cihi tours and shows that wasn't really for me.

But I did get to do so many other equally as fun and neat jobs, and make my living as a singer for 30 years. My first big project I may have not told you was I was a part of the first national tour of the Broadway show for Annie in 1978 playing the role of Pepper at 10 years old. That was a big job back in the day, Annie was that big show every girl wanted to be in, one of my cast members was  Molly Ringwald, so she's the one that was the big household name and became the most famous as an actress. To this day, I still talk to her sister we recently got reconnected through Facebook, which can be a good thing or a negative thing but not yet for me. But no I was never an "artist" that just wasn't supposed to be my path.

3. Have you written any other music or do you write your own music?

Jennifer: Yes, yes, yes, I have done that before but actually currently going to be working on a project, when I had moved to Nashville, I was introduced to this organization that is off the subject of performing and entertaining, but it's a very important cause in my life because I've been affected by it in my family, but what I am trying to do here in the next couple of months is to use the singing to help other people with mental illnesses like ADD, Bipolar, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, all of those things that's affecting or has affected people.

Look at Robin Williams he was probably dealing with a mental illness or depression his whole life and he was so successful and he thought that death was the best option for him. So I've been touched by that because I've dealt with depression before but I've pulled through and now I am doing great, but there was a time many years ago where I wasn't, so I wanted to go and learn everything I could about it. I am involved in an organization here and writing some music and will possibly do some public speaking to high school and college people because I feel raising awareness for any kind of mental illness, people need to feel that there is hope for it. To just not end up like Robin Williams and many other people on this planet go and commit suicide.

That's what's really important to me, and I just feel that my signing and all the famous things I have done in the past and I have pulled through it, I want to give those people knowing that they can do it. That they're not thinking that "Oh know I'm doomed" or "I can't do it" it's raising awareness. So I am now currently planning a schedule of speaking publicly at high schools and colleges, where I am writing music for that, just writing from my heart and experiences and passion for it. So that kids and people that catch it early on, they can get help and not deal with it for the rest of their lives or in the worse possible way of committing suicide.

That's a very important project I have been working on for the past 4 years now. Which has gotten lead into the right direction with this public speaking approach, which is going to matter the most. I've had my 15 minutes of fame, doing all of these shows, conventions, and expos for the fans, but this subject matter is what's being hidden and it sounds scary but it doesn't have to be. You can get help so that's what's going to be continued most definitely.

4. Why do you think your voice is so suited for Anime based work?

Jennifer: Oh gosh! Well when I lived back in Japan in the 80's I was working for Tokyo Disneyland and singing in one of the bands that they had. A producer saw me and wanted an American singer for this project called City Hunter that was my first project I had done, where I got paid to sing a couple of songs, now that wasn't really considered anime that was in the 80's that was an animated movie because in Japan animation is HUGE as you know. So I did that first then came back many years later, I think I wasn't thought out by anime, I think I had just fell into it. When I auditioned for certain projects maybe they liked me because of the sound of my voice or me having a young sound. So from that I moved on to other projects, then toured with these bands I worked with then I revisited Sailor Moon years later for these conventions and expos so no one could get a hold of me. So I am glad I found out about it and it's neat to see it and was a fun project of doing those songs from the 90's that people still look up too.

5. Do you remember what you were doing when you got the call to come on to do the singing role for Sailor Moon?

Jennifer: That's a funny story. Sailor Moon wasn't Sailor Moon yet it was just a cartoon from Japan and they needed someone to sing the songs for it. So me being in my 20's I thought alright they will pay me and I will do  it and it was fun. After doing that first album, Sailor Moon had not been aired in America yet so we did not know me or the producers or any of the other girls, including this other girl Sandy Howell , we were just like this is a cool project and songs so we didn't know Sailor Moon would become this iconic character. Many months later, I did see it on TV and thought "Hey that's the cartoon I had worked on" it's so neat that it's on TV.

So at the time I was making sure I was still working, then it went off the air after a number of seasons but they then asked me to come back for some more album projects, where they had changed the producers a couple of times and make the music different. Then it went away and I went away not keeping up with it. After signing the contract with Dic Entertainment I wasn't being paid for it so I had moved on to do other projects. Then years went by and this sound guy I was working with here in Nashville, had asked me "Hey weren't you that singing voice for Sailor Moon?" because they had Googled me and said "Did you realize what she's become?" I was like "No?" I had moved from Los Angeles where it got filmed and created and produced so I lost track of all that and it just blew up like The Beatles and the people are really crazy for anime.

6. Did you know what or who Sailor Moon was at the time?

Jennifer: No we didn't know because it was in Japan and living there previously it was not out yet. I knew what Hello Kitty was and other products but not Sailor Moon. It's like Star Trek no one knew what it was or how big it would become but now 40 years later Star Trek conventions are happening with those guys participating. So it's the same with Sailor Moon but it seems like she's just as big as it sometimes. People are all crazy for it, the cartoons, cosplayers, gaming, it's a whole world for a lot of voice over work, singers, and just do their creative craft.

7. What made you want to be a part of Sailor Moon?

Jennifer: It was just a neat job, doing a lot of recordings, for commercials, like Mattel and Barbie and was the Hot Pocket singer for 20 years having sung that Hot Pockets jingle. I was doing a lot of work, getting calls, and back then if it paid and was a neat project why not? We had no clue Sailor Moon would be what it is today, that was 20 years ago, we didn't have a clue that this is what would happen. I am grateful now I can meet different types of people.

8. At this year's Anime Expo 2014 edition, you partook in a mini concert where you sung 5 tracks from the TV series Sailor Moon. What was it like to relive those songs and what was the experience like being surrounded by the fans of the hit TV show.

Jennifer: Well what's really cool is that I got to invite my nephew who lives in LA and is a professional musician to play with me, he's 20 something years younger than I am. So since I was in Los Angeles I already knew people there, so when I got involved with the Anime Expo, I had told them that a live band is way better than recorded music. Obviously I had done smaller cons and played with other bands. But here the fans were way more in on knowing Sailor Moon, knowing the words, it felt humbling and surreal to me.
Being this average person I had felt at that moment that I was like Katy Perry or Adele. Those 300-400 people had really grabbed their emotions seeing something I had sung 20 years ago, still had a life to it.

A lot of those people were in their 20's or older, so seeing that the fans are still loving the songs and the anime that has such value to get the same reaction to it is just amazing. I had some girls come up to it telling me that "This song helped me through this break up" or "I was bullied and it helped me heal" or "It helped me not commit suicide". This is why I am a singer, music helps me and everyone else, it's like my own therapy and it's kept going since I started doing it. I am grateful that I got to be paid doing what I loved to do. It would have been nice to have been like Katy Perry or Adele having that status but that wasn't meant for me. In my own world, I have had my own moments and being there it was very humbling even though those songs were from 20 years ago.

9. Would you consider doing a touring run performing just the Sailor Moon songs with a band if you had the chance too or is that just a convention and expo sort of thing?

Jennifer: The only problem is that there isn't very many to play except maybe 8-9. So in a situation it would be yes but I would need to add more songs for the fans and the time like a real concert making it an hour long. Only showcase I've done was around 40 minutes but I just don't know if it can happen or not.

10. How many of the Sailor Moon soundtracks did you contribute too?

Jennifer: There was the first Sailor Moon soundtrack then there was Sailor Moon and the Scouts Lunarock, then there was another one that was more of a poppy sound where I did a cover of song by The Beatles called "I Want to Hold Your Hand". There was about 3 total but a lot of them were compilation albums.

11. Out of the songs including the one's you sung, which would you say is your favorite and why?

Jennifer: "It's A New Day", is fun and uplifting and I am a very encouraging spirit and help others. "My Only Love", the ballad that everyone can relate too and I can sink my teeth into had more guts and feelings to it. Those are the ones I liked the best.

12. For those songs selected for you to sing, did you write those songs yourself or were those already pre-written and you just sung along?

Jennifer: They were pre-written by different people so I was hired to only sing for them, I would have made more money if I had written them though wouldn't I? Haha!

13. What are your thoughts on the original series being re-released and the Crystal series?

Jennifer: How do I think about that? It would have been nice if they had re-involved all of us to come back again, but I understand why they didn't. They probably wanted to update it and make it fresh and different for the new fans after listening to us for the past 20 years. When I was at the Anime Expo they had a showing of the new series, but I had a panel and signing so I didn't get to see it. I know they have a lot of younger voice over people that did it, I've seen the panel with the Japanese people, I had nothing to do with the voices which doesn't bother me, but the one's I did work with who I am meeting now, I am sure they would have liked to come back. I don't think they are using the same music and are using different music. I am seeing from social media comments about loving the original but they like the new one too and it's okay that it's new and having new songs, so I get why they had new people so I had my own time with it and I know I am the original no one else can be that but me.

14. When you were done working on the Sailor Moon project at the time, did you keep up with the show and see how it turned out or have you not gotten around to watching the series as of yet?

Jennifer: I did watch a lot of it but again not sure if they sell the original DVDs but I think the fans have the reboot of it. At that time I did not have time to sit down and watch it because I had my own life to live. So I love learning from the fans on what's happening with the show and the series. I don't even own a TV in my house because I don't like the new TV shows and I am not a TV watcher and do other stuff. One of these days I am going to go back and watch it, but I have seen the one's the one's featured in. That's why I always go to my fans because they know it from the inside out and are so into it. It's very cool to see how passionate these people are about it after all these years.

15. Besides this year's Anime Expo 2014, will you be appearing at any other conventions or expos for this year or next year?

Jennifer: I am going to The Malta Comics Expo in Italy in Europe in October near Halloween, Sukoshi Con on September 6th, then the Daycon Clarksville on September 20th. I like doing a lot of local conventions, traveling takes a lot out of you and but luckily for me I am still in good form and voice. I am working at a lot of other one's that are also in the works.

16. What else can we expect to see from you in the future?

Jennifer: I am doing the motivational speaking being passionate about that and doing a live concert most likely with a live band or recorded music. So that will be going on for the next 5 years of my life, making a different for other people. Then did some project with the Memphis Boys doing some shows with them coming up, then do sessions of other stuff with music, and conventions just doing what I do.

17. Any last words for the friends and fans out there?

Jennifer:  I guess what I can say, is to all of the fans that like the projects I have done. I am very grateful to keep performing for them and thankful that they have supported me with my singing and I am grateful for it. I am going to keep on singing until I get pushed off the stage or die whatever comes first haha! Thanks for the interview!

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