An Interview with Kate Higgins on Super Mario Odyssey, Naruto, and Singing “Jump Up, Super Star!”

Kate Higgins as Pauline in Super Mario Odyssey! Queen of Mario and music in general. (Courtesy: Vooks)

Super Mario Odyssey sold 2 million copies in the first 3 days, got some of the highest reviews of the year, and made me feel like I actually didn’t waste $400 on a Switch.

It’s like they always say: Mario always wins baby.

The game is undeniably fresh for a plethora of reasons, but it owes a huge chunk of its success to the certified bop that has everyone grooving: Jump Up Super Star!

I got a chance to sit down and speak to Kate Higgins - the talented voice behind Pauline, the mayor of New Donk City and singer of Jump Up Super Star! Here’s what she had to say about Super Mario Odyssey, Naruto, and Jorts.

Funké: Can you tell me a little bit about the process behind voicing Pauline? Also who’s your favourite Mario princess?

Kate Higgins: Well, I recorded the song before I voiced Pauline. In fact I worked on both songs for the game before I voiced her. They waited ’til probably the last 30 minutes of the second session before the director talked to me about her voice. I think we came up with the voice fairly quickly. Oh, and Princess Peach cuz my kids like her ;)

Princess Peach killing it in Super Smash Bros 4 (Courtesy: Twinfinite)

What kind of music do you usually tend to listen to? Which songs inspired your style for this role?

I listen to probably all kinds of music. Except heavy metal!

I majored in jazz and I’ve sung standards from the time I was 8 years old. When [Nintendo] told Cup of Tea Productions they needed a jazz big-band singer type, they thought of me first :)

It’s a surprise to me that you haven’t voiced anything in the Persona series yet, since the game is both video game-y and anime-y. Would you be down to voice for that series?

Of course!

Jump Up, Super Star! is hands down one of the most catchy Mario songs. Did you have any idea it was gonna be a hit when you recorded it?

No! But I knew it was good!!

What are some of your favourite Nintendo soundtracks/songs?

Well my kids played Mario a lot and the theme song was always stuck in my head!

If you could take on any Nintendo series with your iconic voice acting + singing, which one would it be?

Well I’m already on Fire Emblem ;)

What is your favourite type of character to voice?

Anyone who sings! I love voicing old ladies and hate voicing screaming monsters.

A lot of people on the internet were shook over the fact that Cappy “possesses” people in Super Mario Odyssey, what are your thoughts on that?

Ummmmm….. Who’s Cappy??? No, for real. Who’s Cappy lol.

Cappy found dead. (Courtesy: Kotaku UK)

Who do you think would win in a fight: Naruto or Mario?

Well Mario has that little car. I think he’d get away. Plus Naruto doesn’t have Sakura to back him up anymore. She saved his butt a lot.

Do you agree with Sakura’s choice to marry Sasuke? Who would you have picked if you were in her shoes?

Super question! I must say, I was so bummed when folks told me Sakura married Sasuke. I had no idea. I mean I don’t read ahead in the manga so I only know what’s going on episode to episode. I really wanted to find out organically what happened because I relate to Sakura so much in this regard. I probably would have made the same choice that she did, however it’s possible neither choice would work LOL.

So true.

Finally, are you upset at the fact that there aren’t any wearable jorts (jean shorts) for Mario in the game?

As long as he’s got underwear. I mean kids play this game.

Mario out on the beach in his underwear with his nipples out. (Courtesy: My Nintendo News)