The Queen of Kabuikicho
If you've already been listening to Japanese music for a while you will probably know already, or be familiar of this name. DAGA SHIKASHI! (however!) she is such an awesome talent that I thought it was worth it to inform those who don't know of her. ....
....But now that I think about it shouldn't I introduce here later since pretty much noones going to be reading this blog when its just started? ・・・(￣ ￣；)
Well guess I gotta start somewhere.Ok lets restart.
The Queen of Kabukicho
Birth: 25 November 1978
Personally one of my top favourite musicians, Shiina Ringo (Ringo means apple in Japanese) was extremely influential musician in the Jpop scene around the late 1990's and early 2000's and has continued to become an extremely respected artist in the industry and public. However, most of her music isn't your typical Jpop kind of music in both sound and lyrics.It also spans many genres from pop, rock, jazz to some others that don't really have a genre, and employs lots of different types of instruments, especially in live performances (eg, melodica).
She has an easily recognisable voice and also rolls her r's, which is quite unique among female singers, as it is quite an masculine way of pronunciation in the Japanese language (mostly people with an attitude and yakuza talk that way). She definitely emits an aura of a strong personality though, so to me this seems fairly appropriate.
She debuted in 1998 with the single "Kofukuron" (Happiness Theory) which didn't do too well, but became a hit when she re-released it later on when she was much more popular. The video depicts Ringo with angel wings, which alludes to scars from an operation on her shoulder blades, which look as though a pair of wings were cut off.
Her big break came shortly afterwards in her third next single, "Koko de Kiss Shite" (Kiss Me Here) which was much more poppy than her previous singles lyrically, but nonetheless a great tune and a classic J-Pop love song. The video for her next single "Honnou" (Instinct) is probably the one that most Japanese people (well..at least male) would remember her by though as she dresses in a Nurse outfit and punches and kicks through sheets of glass and does some saucy stuff with a female patient haha.
I won't keep talking about the singles that she has released from now as that would take ages, and its probably better if you just check out wikipedia anyway :).
Shiina Ringo became a top star and a fashion icon among teens, and became one of the driving forces behind the female singer boom (alongside such heavy weight artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki and Utada Hikaru) and encouraging them to write their own lyrics and music.
Her music videos are quite eccentric and have Ringo portray a different type of character in each one. These can be seen in what was supposed to be her last single, as she claimed that she would retire as "Shiina Ringo" after her third album.
Thankfully not only did she not retire, she founded the band Tokyo Jihen, an excellent group itself which I will introduce sometime in the future (some, if not most Westerners would argue that they are even better than Shiina solo, probably because they are much more rock oriented)
It's extremely hard to say what her best songs are, as she just about has no "bad" songs. But I'll try and create a list of recommended songs. I'll also proabably end up introducing her albums too.
Personal Song Recommendations
Yami ni Furu Ame (Rain That Falls in the Darkness)
Tsumi to Batsu (Sin and Punishment)
Another one that I've found recently and has been stuck in my head is this
The song is called Kimochi (feeling) and is a duet with Shutoku Mukai, the singer of the band Zazen Boys and formerly of Number Girl.
Anyway hopefully you weren't too bored reading this will enjoy Shiina Ringo's music.
Thanks if you made it this far.....