It is surprising to hear sexy Japanese pop queen Koda Kumi, known for her provocative dance moves and cleavage-bearing style, say she has low self esteem.
"I have actually never really felt that I am sexy and I do have low self-esteem. There are things about me that I don't feel so comfortable about, but I use fashion and other things to boost my confidence," says the singer via a translator at a press conference in Singapore on Friday, ahead of her first solo concert here on Saturday.
And it seems that the 32-year-old, who has been in showbusiness for 15 years, is intent on an image makeover.
Looking sophisticated in an electric blue peplum top and knee-length black skirt, she says: "Rather than have guys call me sexy, I would like to be considered a cool figure by my female fans. I have been thinking how my fashion can reflect that strong and independent female image," she says.
The best-selling artist has sold more than 15 million records in Japan and will be releasing her collection album Summer Of Love in Japan this month.
She is married to vocalist and guitarist Kenji03 from Japanese rock band Back-On, with whom she has a three-year-old son.
At her concert tomorrow, half of her costumes are original pieces that she will be specially wearing for the gig.
On how she picks her outfits, Kumi says: "I take my body shape into consideration and what looks nice on me. I usually take something that is one-piece, one that is unique and not something that many people will wear."
The singer was last here four years ago to perform at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.
On finally holding her first solo concert here, she says: "I am really excited because it took me 15 years to hold a concert in Singapore and I am looking forward to meeting the fans."
When asked how she maintains her popularity in the cut-throat entertainment industry, the singer emphasises the importance of staying true to herself.
"Many people will talk and they will say whatever they want, but we can't stop that. It is important that you maintain your stance and know where you stand and be yourself no matter what."