Wednesday, 11 January 2012

MY TOP 5: JAPANESE FEMALE SINGERS

How's stuff going everyone? Hope it's good.

The place I am is summer at the moment unlike most other countries and is super stinking hot all day all night.
It's very uncomfortable....feels like the air is on fire during the day. My nose felt like it was burning when I was breathing through them when I went outside.....

I'm sure most of you would be in winter right now and probably have your own problems with that such as freezing mornings and dirty sick people sneezing on you and stuff, so I suppose I can't complain.

Well setting that aside, here's the point of today's post. My top 5 favourite Japanese female singers.
Not the most imaginative idea for a post but oh well.
The list isn't in any particular order....except for the first one.


SHIINA RINGO
The mainstream image of female singers from the Japanese music industry are that of cutesy high school girls bobbling up and down in groups and 'almost' flashing their underwear. It's hardly anything most people past the age of twenty can look up to although the tunes may be catchy. Shiina Ringo on the other hand is a person that could be admired by both females and males for her music, personality and other talents. 

She emits a very different aura and vibe compared to most and although what it feels like has evolved throughout the years, it hasn't ever failed to mystify her fans. She is also quite diverse with her works, sometimes singing crazy semi-screamo rock, sometimes jazz or funk, sometimes a Broadway musical style, or sometimes even standard J-Pop. All of this, in her own distinct and identifiable sound.


Maybe one reason I like her so much is that she came when my musical tastes were at a transition. During high school, I used to like old American hip hop. Although I also liked a diverse style of music back then, that was what I listened to most at the time. After I listened to too much of it and got tired of it, I tried looking for Japanese music as at the time, I couldn't stand listening to most American accents in English songs (Sorry Americans....). I got into Japanese music, mainly J-Pop, since that's the easiest place to start but then got tired of all the similar sounding music. I found Shiina Ringo's music around that time, and although I wasn't blown away the first time I listened to it, I could sense something different and interesting about her and her tunes that I liked. 

Making a long story short, after downloading some of her music I got heavily addicted to it. The end. lol 





UTADA HIKARU

 Well this quite a standard pick for these kind of lists. Utada Hikaru is basically the queen of J-Pop. Or at least used to be. She has been taking a lot of breaks recently so hasn't been around making songs for a while but even so, her popularity is still meteoric. Not only that but the influence and impact she had on Japanese music when she appeared was immense. Anyone who begins to like Japanese music and starts looking for more will inevitably pass through her at some point.

Although it's not uncommon for Japanese girls to become a hit artist at young ages such as 14 etc, she not only did that but absolutely took it by storm. She has a smooth and soulful voice uncharacteristic of girls that age and also Japanese people in general, especially of those times, where this modern brand of R'n'b was virtually non-existent. You could say that Utada Hikaru was the reason for the popularity this type of music enjoys nowadays in Japan. If you look for artists before her that who may have sung that style of R'n'b, chances are that your search will end empty handed. There still probably isn't anyone that does it as nicely as her, although I can't really say for sure as I don't listen to new artists that much.....





KIMURA KAELA
Kimura Kaela is has a nice balance between rock and pop and doesn't it tip too far onto one side and so draws fans from followers of both genres. Although she initially became popular among teen girls with simple pop tunes she steadily evolved and experimented with her music.  

Although she's not an extraordinarily amazing talent, her tunes are simple and pleasant to listen to and good to turn on when you just want to casually hear some music.

However, she does have a few fast paced tracks that pump me up, and some mellow songs that make me feel a bit melancholic, so some credit should be given to her as a vocalist.

She is also a very down to earth person and friendly person and is often joking around on tv shows when she appears. Oh and she's cute. lol






NAKASHIMA MIKA
Nakashima Mika was one of the first Japanese singers that I started liking. She has a very beautiful voice that can make me feel very relaxed. She usually sings a lot of slow songs backed with piano after a stint at rock music for the film "Nana" she also delved into those types of tune slightly afterwards too. That's probably what she's most well known for in the West. I've heard that there are lots of fans of that movie and the original manga series. Anyway, she did those songs greatly too in my opinion. I really enjoyed them and the few others rock songs that she has done. They were probably the starting point for me beginning to look to that genre for new music actually.

She has had numerous hit songs, and one especially called "Yuki no Hana" (Flower of Snow) is regarded a classic J-Pop tune. It has been covered countless times by many different people, including men (despite being a song from female perspective), Korean people, Korean men, and lots of others.

Well I would've liked to embed the song but all of them have been blocked from doing that by the uploaders so here a link instead...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muGwLz6BSyg



UA
UA's stage name holds the meaning of both 'flower' and 'death' in the African language of Swahili. She is renown for her husky voice and has dabbled with many different genres, including Dub, Jazz, R&B, Folk and Ethnic inspired music. If I was to compare her music to someone in Western music, I would have to say it's something similar to Bjork, so lots experimental shit with strange vocal noises that don't make much sense. lol For this reason she may not be everyone's cup of tea.

However, when she does sing normally, she does it excellently and very beautifully (as does Bjork). For some reason I don't listen to her music as often as I think, but when I do, I'm always (well usually) get sucked into her musical world.





Aaaand so there you have it folks. That should be my top 5, unless if I somehow forgot someone important.
So what are you favourites, if you have any that is. I'm confident that I'll already know some of yours.....(the Matsuura Aya fans....)

Anyway, until next time,

18 comments:

  1. I'd take the heat than cold anyday xD I just want to stay in bed when its cold..

    Shiina Ringo really is different in a good way. I like how she experiments in other genres and most of the time seamlessly pulling them off. I'm only starting to get into her music now, my favourite song would probably be 'Ariamaru Tomi'. Btw I heard tokyo jihen is breaking up o.o;


    I've only heard one song of Kimura Kaela's to be honest and that was the christmas song.. it kinda did my head in at first but its ok now lol.

    I like Nakashima Mika for her ballads, like you said shes got a very a relaxing voice which I kinda feel like it doesn't suit her fast songs. 'Find a Way' I think is another song that get covered alot.

    I've never heard of UA xD Sry will check her out now.

    mm my personal top 5 females artists would be..
    1. Mai Kuraki
    2. RURUTIA
    3. Zard
    4. Shimokawa Mikuni
    5. Nishino Kana

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    1. Thanks for your reply~
      Yeah I also like 'Ariamaru Tomi'. Well I like most of her songs though so..haha. And yeah! I heard Tokyo Jihen's breaking up too! That sucks. She'll probably go back to being solo anyway so it's still okay I suppose.

      Yeah~ I'm not really a huge fan of Kimura kaela myself actually lol. Just didn't really have anyone else to put in. Sort of.

      Your list is interesting, a couple I haven't heard of.
      Zard has a lot of good songs that I like too :D

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  2. Hey~. I'm actually kinda surprised that Utada Hikaru is one of your top 5 favorites, it might be just me. Although I haven't heard about any of these artists, I'm going to try and listen to Shiina Ringo. Your description about her made her seem very interesting.

    For me though, I don't really have top 5 artists in general. It's a bit hard to explain, but I just like to listen to any music that would fit my ears and my brain. If that even makes sense at all.

    I'm curious though, (because I never really got to ask anyone about this) how do American accents sound like to you?

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    1. Why is it surprising?
      I don't really have a definitive top five either actually. The only ones that I can say for sure would be in a top 5 is Shiina Ringo and Nakashima Mika. And maybe Utada. There were a few that were on equal standings in my mind but I just ended up choosing these ones. I agree with the "I just like to listen to any music that would fit my ears and my brain" very much. I hate it when people put down other people about the music they listen to it's just whatever they like. I'll have preferences and things that I don't like but I'll (try) not to say that other peoples musical tastes suck if they're not the same. I've ended up liking music that I once hated later on in my life before anyway so yeah~~

      I think I wrote about the American accents before sometime. Generally it sounds whiny lol But that depends on the 'type' of American accent and I don't really know what those one are called. Maybe I also just got sick of the English langauge. Who knows. I'm starting to listen to English music again now I've forgotten lol

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    2. I guess I'm a but surprised because you seem to emit an "Old school" kind of feel. Just me. XD

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    3. Haha, well I suppose you're right. I generally do swing that way but I try to be as open to most music as my brain allows me to.

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  3. Ha - now that made me think who me top 5 would be. I admit emotions and looks were a distinct factor in the voting :-)
    #1 Aya Matsuura.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUtr2XsPfSE
    No suprise here for those who know me I guess. Lol. Partly because she is an excellent singer. One that you can hear a concert microphone recording of and not get earcancer. She can hit a note and keep it. She does need more variety in her style and be more loose but I've always loved the singers who can belch it out (my absolute favorite is Linda Ronstadt). And she has always done it the way she wanted - even at the cost of popularity.

    #2 Shiina Ringo.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8q98Mq2gTE
    I heard "Killer Tune" and asked a friend if he knew who that was. "Ah, that's a Japanese icon" he answered. And I became a fan. I love it how she plays with what she does. She is unique in every way.

    #3 Mari Hamada.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PifZEfLlCWc
    She was my first encounter with jpop/rock in the early 90s before I had internet and any idea what jpop was all about. I read about her in a musiuc mag and ended up buying a dozen ablbums. When her effort to make it in the West evaporated it took me 10 years to discover Japan on the musical map again :-)

    #4 Chisato Moritaka.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_KjpRmxY5w
    I just love her legs. Got to know her through Aya's "Watarasebashi" cover and grew to love especially her convert DVDs. Not your typical idol as she wrote her own lyrics and played a bunch of instruments. Unique voice, unique fashion style, unique dance moves. And did I mention that I just love her legs?
    Btw I'm just subbing her appearance with Princess Princess on a 1991 NHK Xmas show
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UpPhrZNuII

    #5 Ayano Tsuji.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XPHGVdSTDs
    The Ukulele girl. Another singer who gives a hoot about being sexy or marketable.
    But man it's almost impossible to find a video of her...

    And a special mention to
    Ayumi Hamasaki.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoJYWhLO7_g
    Anyone who for so long succeeds in being succesful and maintaining to be a true diva deserves my admiration

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  4. Ahh it's nice to see some older singers. Even I haven't quite reached that point yet. Well, I like lots of old songs but not anyone especially. But I suppose you took a different route in your music searching journey and I'll probably get to that street sooner or later.

    I'm not surprised with your no.1 choice lol. Despite my distaste for idols generally, Ms. Matsuura is an exception for some reason. She is a great singer and it's obvious she loves singing from the way she does it. Sounds like so much fun.And her dancing and face expressions are funny+cute.

    Yay for Shiina Ringo~. There's a new mini album by Tokyo Jihen out soon before they break up.

    Haha I recognise the Keroro Gunso song. Didn't know what the singer looked like though lol

    I'm not really a fan of Hamasaki~. I think it's the nasal voice mainly, although I do like a few of her songs...like Bluebird and others I don't remember the names of right now.

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  5. Well that's Aya's problem :) She is still considered an idol and will probably remain cute and funny Ayaya forever even if she's tried desperately to get rid of the image in the past years. But it's a Don Quichote job. Lol
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnI64LkP2hU

    I don't really Like Ayu either. But I respect her perserverance :)

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    1. Oh I see~. That will be hard since she was such a successful idol....

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  6. My top 5:

    # YOSHIKA:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOsiSE_JTOM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDHES30rKsg
    Without her I would have never seen Jpop from another perspective and probably never give a chance to Japanese music in general.
    The evolution of her music is quite surprising, in a good way. And I approve it. I think becoming mother influnced a lot her music.
    Very underrated singer.


    # May J.:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsDllf8cDJk
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeNypF_ipn4
    She can start from a low-pitched note rising to a high-pitched note in a split second, her voice is clear, stable and she has a good vocal range. But more important, she can convey emotions while performing. (her stage presence can be cheesy sometimes but she seems to be someone very passionate).
    And unexpectedly, the audience and tv hosting can influence her music (see her song "Colors"). A lot of sweetness in her vocal color. And a lot of potential.
    Underrated singer as well.

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    1. Ahh yeah~ I like the m-flo song. I've known about that for a while but hadn't really heard any of her solo stuff. Sounds nice.

      I've also heard of May J. Probably have some of her songs (but not sure lol). Haven't really heard much of her music either. She does have a nice voice as you said, judging from the videos at least. I'll trust your word anyway hehe~

      Did the rest of your top 5 disappear somewhere? There's only two :)

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  7. Wow, our top five are similar.

    Glad to see Rii-tan as your number one pick :D

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    1. Yeah! She's number one by light years.

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  8. Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.



    Biohazard Containers Medical

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  9. i love mika nakashima omg xD i sing "glamourous sky" all the time :DD if u want, please check out my stupid practice cover fail version (cause my accent isnt perfect&i said the words wrong- im not jap, i forgot a lot of the lyrics and mixed them up and my voice wasnt warmed up and all thaaat stuufff)

    i came to this page while looking for new young female rock artists of japan. xp i checked out utada... and i know of sonoko inoue... but they're not exactly what im lookin for xD lookin for more!!

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uWO95dCT5tQ

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    1. Thanks for your comment and video link :)
      It's great that you like to sing songs in languages that you aren't that familiar with.
      Your accent was quite good by the way.
      If you want I can try suggesting some singers, if you tell me what kind of singers you like.

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