Observation of the Grammys 2017 (as a Japanese artist)

It’s every artists’ s dream to win the Grammy. Of course, it’s one of my aspirations as well; to win in the Best Contemporary Urban World Music written in two or more languages category, or something like that (I always like to scroll down to see the really niche categories).

In Japan, not many artists aspire to the Grammys. The popular dreams they have are to play at Budokan(a prestigious venue), or to perform in Kohaku (Annual music TV show on New Year’s Eve). For those Japanese artists who actually do aspire to the Grammys, what drives the aspiration is to be the pioneer—Japanese are such minorities when it comes to being successful outside Japan. (Which leads to the whole story of me and my husband moving to the U.K to pursue exactly that) To set the records straight, there ARE Japanese artists that have won the Grammys in the past, but not as a singer-songwriter. This year, pianist Mitsuko Uchida won as an accompanist, and producer StarRo and Ryuichi Sakamoto(for his Revenant soundtrack)were nominated.


Putting that successful-Japanese-artists-are-a-minority issue(NOT political)aside, this is what I thought about this year’s Grammys. I’m no music journalist, just someone in front of a TV watching the show in Surrey blogging her mind;

Adele’s voice. Listening to her performance, I almost forget how the song went,or even the how the pitch was,  all I’m left with is this richness of voice melting in my ears. It’s like how when you meet a truly attractive person(male or female), you don’t even remember what they were wearing, just overwhelmed by their presence and personality.



The past few decades, especially the 70’s and the 80’s have left so much innovative music to be remixed in this generation. So rich that even in 2017, nearly all of the songs you hear on the show are recycled essence of those eras; Michael Jackson’s daughter presenting the Weekend, Daft Punk,  Katy Perry with Bob Marley’s son, Bruno Mars…all of them are brilliant artists, but all I heard was reminiscence, nothing innovative at all.

That’s why I get so inspired when I hear a great voice; a voice is timeless, regardless of any generation or era. Adele, Beyoncé, rappers like ATCQ and Chance the Rapper, I love the raw energy of his voice purely praising the Lord. It’s everything singing stands for.



In a time when music styles are being over-remixed, maybe now is a time to get raw. To tell the story of your own, in a one and only voice, as simple as that.

I went through so many phases in terms of music style, even in just a year of moving to the U.K. But now I’m settling down to simply writing autobiographical songs, from a unique angle, with production that most compliments my voice. I don’t have a diva voice like Adele or Beyoncé, but I’m grateful for my own voice that God gave me, and am determined to make the most of the gift.

音楽のスタイルやジャンルが使い古されている今の時代だからこそ、原点に戻るべきなのかもしれない。自分のストーリーを、自分の声で伝える。誰にも真似できないもの。 イギリスに来てからのたった一年でもたくさんの音楽的スタイルを模索して来たが、今その原点をやっと見つけられた気がする。アデルやビヨンセのようなdiva声はないけれど、持っている声は他の誰にも真似できない。その神様からの贈り物を、最大限に生かすのみだ。


なぜイギリス?Why UK?

(English follows)



I asked myself this many times when I first came to the UK;

“Why the hell did I come to this place…”

The perception of UK as a land of gentlemen in tailored suits and courteous manners was soon replaced by depressing weather and tasteless food, unreliable yet unapologetic services. However, strangely, this country yields innovation and the rising against the dooms of the weather and the cynical critics, manifested in art and music. Something tipped over after a fews months of living in London, and I began to be fascinated by this aggressive approach and inspiration.


The main reason for coming to the UK was the encouragement from my husband. Having grown up in the 70s surrounded by legendary music scenes in his own country, he suggested that I venture outside Japan because my talent could be nurtured. Having such a strong supporter in my life is the luckiest thing. He moved us from Singapore, where we had lived for 2 years, to the UK to open the gates to new possibilities.


In ten years, social media has shifted everything about how we deliver and listen to music. You can deliver a new song instantly, anywhere you are. I aspire to explore these methods and creative process through releasing singles digitally and working with other talents.


イギリスでの音楽活動の始め方―How to start as a Japanese artist in the UK

(English follows)



The title of this article itself  is the biggest question that I have right now. Where do I begin? This blog is a personal journal of exploring the music activities in the UK, to keep a record to remind myself a few years later.

It’s not my first time to be at the starting line of the music venture. It’s been more than a decade since I made a debut in 2004 in Japan, but starting over in the UK doesn’t mean that I’m reverting back, but it’s rather like climbing up the spiral stairs and realizing that I’m directly above where I started. Looking back, how did I begin in the first place?


It all started with one newspaper article. It was written by a composer, Akira Senju;

“When music is heard, it comes to life”

These words gave me tremendous hope. At the time, I was preparing a portfolio for art school, and was frustrated by how a drawing or a painting that’s taken hours and days to create will ever influence anyone else. I took up the guitar to take a break from all that, without even knowing what chords are, and found so much pleasure and fun in creating melodies, and came up with 30 songs in one month.



It was as if the tap had opened; songs came flowing out like a waterfall. Unlike paintings, the value does not diminish even if duplicated (live performance is an exception), and the expressions are more directly conveyed through words, in music.

In the hopes of bringing them to life, I started playing in my high school music festival, and recording a demo in a little cassette tape recorder (circa early 2000s). I searched “demotape” on the bulky foldable mobile phone back then and sent the demo to the top of the search result, which happened to be the label that was generous enough to give me a chance to release my first single in 2004.


This was how I started music. It was as if a surge of creative energy started overflowing all of a sudden, and I never intentionally though, “OK, I will start writing music”. After all, maybe “music activity” is all about the innocent and primitive drive.