Melodies from Japan and AAPI Artists, Vol. 8
This month we’re only featuring one artist, but I decided to take this break and let my dear readers know what I typically listen to beyond Japanese music. But first, our featured artist!
We are not sponsored by any of the bands mentioned in these posts, and all opinions expressed are of myself, Brian Hsieh!
Image from Utada Hikaru's website.
Utada Hikaru, along with maybe One Ok Rock, is likely the most famous Japanese artist outside of Japan. While already a force to be reckoned with in Japan, Utada rose to international stardom with her song Simple and Clean, the opening to the popular 2002 video game Kingdom Hearts. She’s no one-hit-wonder though - she’s been making hits for over 20 years now! Known for her R&B, melancholic tones and just being a skilled, not just good singer, Utada Hikaru has been one of my favorites for, well, 20 years.
Why I’m a fan
Skilled Stand-out Singer - Quite frankly, many female voices in Japanese rock and pop sound the same. They all sound nice, sure, and they may have unique voices, but a skilled singer? I can only list Utada Hikaru off the top of my head.
One of a Kind Melodies - Utada has pretty eclectic melodies and also way out-there lyrics, which, uh, don’t make much sense to me sometimes, but they SOUND cool.
I did my 8th Grade music analysis project on her song, Sanctuary. This was because I barely knew any American artists, as I only listened to Japanese artists. Seriously, I didn’t even know who Beyoncé was.
Check out Utada on her YouTube or Spotify. I would greatly recommend listening to あなた, her latest single, Pink Blood, and the oldie but goodie song in English, Come Back to Me. She also has an Instagram at @kuma_power!
And in lieu of two other featured artists, here are some of the songs and artists that have been on repeat for me!
Killing Me - Chung Ha - Korean pop
You Got One - Moonchild - R&B
Dirty Little Animals - Bones UK - …Dance music?
This YouTube Synthwave Playlist - Atmospheric beats for a chill workday.
Forever Young - Eve Ai - Mandarin pop music
I’ve been watching Mandarin versions of the Voice recently with my dear mother, so actually, my music has been mostly Mandarin songs lately. We’ll see when the Japanese bug bites me again!
Have a fantastic and happy holiday, everybody!