{Artist Spotlight} amateur J-Pop artists

November 25, 2008 at 12:33 am | Posted in aozorafantasii, HIMEKA, Music, _Artist Spotlight | 1 Comment

I generally don’t follow amateur artists at all because a lot of their work lacks the polished feel of ‘real’ singers’ works. I’m not talking about vocal ability…it’s the overall sound quality. While it’s true there are amateurs out there who can sing better than actual signed artists, they usually don’t have high-tech equipment to record with nor do they have a high-powered staff helping them mix.

Nevertheless, despite the setbacks of recording, there are still a few amateurs out there that pique my interest.

Of the YouTube/Soundclick/MySpace acts I like…these four stood out for me the most~
(okay, HIMEKA is going pro next Spring but she hasn’t been signed yet, so that makes her fair game for this post XD)

Sorry if they’re all female – but I tend to follow female J-Pop artists more in general…and I haven’t come across a satisfactory male amateur J-Pop singer yet…

HIMEKA
most powerful

How I came across her:
Nearly 2 years ago, I was in love with Erementar Gerad’s OP (“Forever” by savage genius) and I stumbled across her cover on YouTube. That cover didn’t sit too well with me since her voice is vastly different from Aa’s, but after looking through her other ones I was obsessed with her “Crystal Energy” cover for weeks…
What I love:
I’m envious of vocalists who have a powerful chest voice belt, and HIMEKA is no exception. Her voice is strong and clear, and has a very distinct edgy vibrato in certain songs – she’s also big fan of Mizuki Nana (yay! :D) and has the strong pipes to cover Nana-chan’s songs.
What needs work: Sometimes she needs to relax more – at times, her voice sounds a bit too strained like a thin thread stretched to its limit and about to snap. And while her high notes are beautiful, her lower range is a bit weak.
My personal favorite: her cover of Tainaka Sachi’s “Kirameku Namida wa Hoshi ni”, the 2nd OP to Fate/Stay Night. HIMEKA is a very strong and inspiring live performer – pitch-wise, and she won me over with the amount of passion she put into the song.

aozorafantasii
most heartfelt

How I came across her: I was listlessly browsing YouTube (again) when I should have been writing a paper, and I found her covers of Vienna Teng’s “Lullaby for a Stormy Night” and Crystal Kay’s “Koi ni ochitara” and I was intrigued by her calm voice. My sister and I ended up sitting by the comp one Thanksgiving break listening to all her covers on Soundclick.
What I love: The world definitely needs more singers with mellow voices. aozorafantasii delivers simple, honest messages from her heart with her warm, comforting voice. She’s picked up the guitar for about little over a year and started writing her own songs in Japanese. In a way, she reminds me a lot of YUI.
What needs work: She has a tendency to “over-mellow-out” songs. Back when she had a cover of SNoW’s “Sakasama no Chou” up, she made the song sound a bit too laid back whereas the original vocalist used a slightly harsh tone to fit the dark mood.
My personal favorite: her cover of ayaka’s Mikazuki. Even though I like her originals, this one is the one I listen to most. Mikazuki is one of ayaka’s most emotional songs in my opinion, and aozorafantasii did a wonderful job expressing her own feelings through her version.

SakuraNek0
most energetic

How I came across her: Yet again, I have to say random YouTube browsing. I honestly can’t remember the first song cover I heard from her – I think it could have been either Sakamoto Maaya’s “gravity” or Hirano Aya’s “God Knows…” What really clinched it for me was her rendition of Nakagawa Shoko’s “Sorairo Days” – I love Gurren Lagann, and I love the song.
What I love: While she’s not a power singer like HIMEKA, she has a deep, strong voice that sounds a bit like Koda Kumi (not surprising, since she lists Koda as one of her influences). She’s also pretty versatile, as she’s covered ballads and cutesy songs as well as fast-paced belters.
What needs work: When she belts out choruses for some songs, her voice can get a bit too nasal in some spots. And her high notes definitely need strengthening – changing the melody of a song is not the best way to make it sound good.
My personal favorite: her cover of Meilin’s “Candy☆Boy”, from the Candy Boy ONA. It’s her signature song for cons (you can find her Anime Expo and Fanime lives of it). While it’s a song I don’t care about from an anime I don’t care about, her bouncy energy and stage presence makes me feel like singing along.

Rai Kamishiro
most unique

How I came across her: This one’s a rather random story. I found her deviantART account and watched her cosplays because I noticed that she cosplayed a character I plan to for next Anime Expo. I ran a search online (in hopes of finding more cosplay) and somehow discovered her music page…and a whole music genre I was totally unaware of.
What I love: J-Pop meets nerdcore? I couldn’t ask for a more quirky combination. I normally can’t stand rap, but Rai’s voice tone and attitude makes her songs fun and addicting. Her more cutesy, “moe” voice makes me smile – she would make a good seiyuu! And she gets major points for having more smoothly produced songs.
What needs work: Rai’s actual singing voice is a bit whiny and can sound too forced. It’s endearing at first in a seiyuu-charasong way, but in the end I definitely prefer her rapping a lot more.
My personal favorite: Big Lie, from Rhyme Torrents I (nerdcore compilation album). The rhythm of the rap parts is very reminiscent of HALCALI, and I love that piano (keyboard?) loop in the background. She uses the same catchy loop in Hallow Pinzu Bakudan Mix.

And I’ll end with an…

Honorable mention: (perhaps someday worthy of a blog feature, you should check ’em out!)
Nano
kyrita
staryukie
NekonekoLacus
Irulanne
ShiNoRei
Iris Wisteria
mistressu
fluffymochi

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  1. […] 1st single. I spotlighted her a while back in my amateur J-Pop singers post, so I’m definitely excited to review her […]


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