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Originally published Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seattle's PWRFL Power is in demand, in control

As Seattle's summer music festivals roll around, there's one name you'll repeatedly see on the lineups: PWRFL Power. The artist, 23-year-old Kaz...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Audio

An interview with Kaz Nomura, aka PWRFL Power, who is playing the Georgetown Music Festival, the Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot.

Watch it

PWRFL Power: To see the Esurance ad featuring PWRFL Power, go to www.esurance.com/home/tv.asp

On MySpace: Hear his music online: www.myspace.com/pwrflpower

Festival preview

Georgetown Music Festival

Friday and Saturday, 6000 Airport Way S., Seattle; $14 general admission (www.brownpapertickets.com), $17

at door or $26 for weekend pass (800-838-3006 or www.georgetownmusicfest.com).

As Seattle's summer music festivals roll around, there's one name you'll repeatedly see on the lineups: PWRFL Power. The artist, 23-year-old Kaz Nomura, is playing the Georgetown Music Festival, the Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot.

In fact, the Seattleite (originally from Japan) has gotten so popular locally, he's setting his sights on a bigger arena — Brooklyn, N.Y. In the last year and a half, as PWRFL Power, he's played more than 200 Seattle-area shows.

Last year, he won the Esurance-sponsored "Block Star" contest at the Capitol Hill Block Party, winning him a spot in one of its commercials. They liked his "quirky style."

We talked to the rising local:

Q: Why are you moving to Brooklyn?

A: I just feel like it's time to move to a bigger city and check it out, play to a bigger audience.

Q: Your sound is so low-key and whimsical. How would you describe it?

A: I think my singing ability is not that great. It's kind of like conversational and sometimes off-key. And also my vocabulary in the language is not sufficient. ... On the other hand, the guitar work is pretty good. ... That kind of contrast — fluent guitar work and my singing style — is something that defines PWRFL Power's music.

Q: Your lyrics are quite funny. How do you come up with them?

A: Some of them are diaries; some of them are fictional. I don't try to write anything. It's more like I sit down in a cafe and start writing.

Q: What's the meaning behind your stage name, PWRFL Power?

A: It's something I came up with for this performing-arts group I was in back in 2006. They didn't use this name, so I was like, if you don't use it, I'm going to just use it myself. I took out the vowels from the first word, so I could Google easily.

Q: How was the Esurance commercial experience?

A: I was really excited because everyone dreams of being on TV, or of getting exposed to the public in general. I was really looking forward to it. But once it hit the air, I started getting both good and bad responses from random people. Like, I got some hate mail from people in Florida, who didn't get the money they thought they deserved from Esurance. ... People who hated Esurance started to hate me, too. ... But at the same time, every day, I keep getting messages and friends requests on MySpace from people I wouldn't normally reach out to.

Q: You have some lyrics in Japanese — do you feel that your culture and background are something you have to reflect?

A: I thought it would be fun to mix the two together because I've never heard a song in two languages in that way.

Q: You're not signed to a label?

A: I have a few CDs to a few different labels, but I'm not signed to any label right now. ... I think the whole music industry is changing right now. I think it'll be nice to have label support, like from bigger labels. ... [But] musicians can make everything from just touring and not just selling music, but playing shows, and I already have a really good agent and PR company, so I'm not too worried about it. But it will be great if it happens.

Q: What's next for you?

A: I'm starting a new project, just guitar and instruments ... I already have a name for it — "Half Yogurt." ... I just thought it was an interesting image — like, what's the other half?

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or mliu@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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