LONDON - Japanese pop star Miyavi, who appeared in Angelina Jolie's prison-camp drama "Unbroken", says that much of his latest album was recorded in Nashville, and the country music capital's spirit has permeated his work.
"I feel the vibes - to me that's a spiritual spot," Miyavi, whose birth name is Takamasa Ishihara, told Reuters before going on stage at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire last month for a concert promoting the release of his new CD, "The Others".
"Every time I go to Nashville, I always pray, in just the normal streets, [with] cars passing by," Miyavi added. "I look like a kind of weird strange Asian guy praying on the street, but for me I felt the vibes. And that experience in Nashville is so precious to me."
Although his main career is in music, Miyavi may be better known outside his native country for his role as a brutal prison guard in the Jolie-directed film based on the true story of the Australian airman and Olympic sprinter Louis Zamperini, held captive during World War II.
The movie contains scenes in which his seemingly psychotic character repeatedly beats and abuses those under his charge - but Miyavi said he wanted to act more, enjoyed playing the bad guy and could even see himself as a Bond villain.
"I enjoyed to hear that people hated me in the film. That's a compliment," he said when asked if he could see himself as a possible nemesis for 007.
Known as the "Samurai guitarist" for his slapping style without using a guitar pick, the 34-year-old has played more than 250 shows across 30 countries including America, Asia and Australia.
Explaining his "stripped down" on-stage style, which sees him play guitar with only a drum accompaniment, he said: "Only two people on stage, it's simpler and [more] solid. You know it's a really kind of intense performance, so, more freedom and a low budget."