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More J-pop Acts

Last year I did a round-up of my favourite Japanese music acts. You can check it out here: http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/j-pop-acts.html

I thought it would be good to do a post on some more Japanese singers and groups today. :)

Note: A few of the singers in this post are mixed race. I don't think there are that many famous Japanese singers with mixed heritage but there are a few, including the 3 below, Crystal Kay, A.I. and Thelma Aoyama. One of my fave singers Namie Amuro is a quarter Italian as well. Being mixed race myself it's cool to see successful mixed people. :)



BENI (formerly Beni Arashiro)

BENI (full name Beni Daniels) originally debuted as Beni Arashiro (or Arashiro Beni in the Japanese way) but decided to have just BENI as her stage name in 2008. Her mum is Japanese and her dad is American (European and Native American). She was born in Okinawa in Japan and later moved to America and then to Yokohama in Japan. She started out as a member of the girl group Bishōjo Club 21 (now known as Bishoujo Club 31) and went solo in 2004 with the release of her debut single Harmony. In February 2005 she brought out her first album Beni.

Since then she has released an impressive 26 singles! Some of the most well known are Here Alone, Mō Ichi do... (which according to Wikipedia translates as "Once More") with Japanese rapper Dohzi-T,  Mō Nido To (an answer song to Mō Ichi do) and Kiss Kiss Kiss. Others include Miracle, Cherish, double A-side Yurayura/Gimme Gimme, Suki Dakara, Koe wo Kikasete/Crazy Girl (another double A-side), Konayuki (Powder Snow) and Forever. She has released 9 studio albums which include Beni, Girl 2 Lady (2006), Gem (2007), Bitter & Sweet (2009), Lovebox (2010), Red (2013) and Undress (2015) and 3 cover albums, 2 compilation and 6 live albums.

BENI started off with the record label Avex Trax but moved to Universal Music Japan during the time she also changed her name. I have her album Beni and my favourite songs on it are Gems and Breakout. I hadn't heard much of her newer music, so it's been good to listen to some.

This is PAPA which is from her latest album Undress. It's about dads. :)






For more on Beni visit these links:

Official site (Japanese/English): http://www.benibenibeni.com/

Official Universal site (Japanese): http://www.universal-music.co.jp/beni/

Generasia profile: http://www.generasia.com/wiki/Arashiro_Beni

FB fansite (English): https://www.facebook.com/pages/BENI/214422685249270




May J

May J (real name May Jamlieh Hashimoto) is a J-pop and J-R'n'B singer.  She has been compared to Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce due to her style of music. Her dad is Japanese and her mum has mixed heritage (her heritage includes Iranian, Russian and Turkish). She's from Yokohama in Japan and is multi lingual- she can speak Japanese, Persian, English and Spanish. She started playing the piano when she was 3.

May signed to Sony Music Japan aged 14 and debuted aged 16 in July 2006 with the EP All My Girls. In October that year she released her debut single I Say Yeah! and in December 2007 she brought out her first studio album Baby Girl. To date May J has released 8 more singles including Here We Go! featuring Zainichi Korean (Japanese Korean) rapper Verbal, Dear..., Rewind ReBirth (Faith) and Sparkle and 7 albums; Baby Girl, Family (2009), For You (2010), Colors (2011), Secret Diary (2012), Brave (2012) and Imperfection (2014).

As well as All My Girls she released two other mini albums, Believin'...(2010) and Love Ballad (2013) and several collection and covers albums including May J. BEST: 7 Years Collection (2013), May J. W. BEST-Original and Covers- (2015) and Sweet Song Covers (2016) and her latest, May J. Christmas Songs which came out on 16th November.

In 2009 May left Sony to join record label Rhythm Zone (the same label Koda Kumi is signed to), an offshoot of Avex. In addition to singing she co-hosts the English language music programme J-Melo.

This is RIDE ON TIME which is from the album Sweet Song Covers. It's an Avex video so it's not the full one (Avex don't always show full length videos).





To listen to a preview of the new Christmas album visit this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifN3meQzyv8


And for more on  May herself check out these links:

Official website (Japanese/English language): http://www.may-j.com/index.php

Official blog (mostly Japanese): http://ameblo.jp/mayj/

Interview (English): https://diversejapan.com/2011/04/27/interview-may-j-singersongwriter-and-j-melo-presenter/




EMI MARIA

EMI was born in Papua New Guinea in the South Pacific, and moved to Kobe in Japan as a little girl. Her mum is Papua New Guinean and her dad is Japanese. She created her own record label Freest Inc and used to it release her debut EP Between The Music in 2007 and debut single I Gotta (Summer Kiss) which was the single of the week on iTunes Japan in summer 2008. Her first album Between the Music was released through Freest.

She then signed to Victor Entertainment aka JVC Kenwood Victor Entertainment Corporation and released the single One Way Love. Her first physical single was Show Me Your Love which came out in 2010. Her other singles include Ai to Yume no Aida de (In Between Love and dreams), We Standing Strong featuring Japanese singer JAY'ED, Mirror, Nobody Like You, Proud, 91 featuring SEEDA and #Perf #Girls #Love #Selfie (perfect girls). She sings in Japanese and English.

EMI has released two albums on Victor Enterntainment, Contrast (2010) and Blue Bird (2011) and one EP, Cross Over (2010). She also has an EP called iTunes Live from Tokyo. Her latest album is EUPORIA which came out in May 2015. I think it was released through the record label Village Again / KSR Corp.

This is 91 which is from EUPHORIA. From what I've heard so far, it's quite a different sounding album, alternative R'n'B maybe? 91 features Japanese rapper SEEDA who is also EMI's husband.

Please note that the song is explicit.



                                         

Also check out ONE OF THEM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA8chkOd0k4


For more on EMI visit these links:

Victor Label site (Japanese): http://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/-/Artist/A022600.html

Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCz5yg6Hkp5UazrJ5nc6lHw

Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/emimaria1987



Jin Akanishi

Jin started out in the popular Japanese band KAT-TUN. In 2009 he joined the rock band LANDS which was originally a fictional group in the film Bandage. But they released a real single of the same name which was successful. And in March 2011 Jin released his debut solo single Eternal which topped two Japanese charts. He debuted in the US in November of that year with the single/EP Test Drive featuring American singer Jason Derulo. In March 2012 he released his debut album Japaonicana.

Eternal and Seasons are Jin's most successful singles to date. His other singles include Sun Burns Down, Hey What's Up?,  Ai Naru Hō e' (Where Love Rings) and Good Time. He has released 3 more solo albums, #JustJin, Me and Audio Fashion and an album with LANDS called Olympos. He also has an EP called Mi Amor (2014). In 2014 he set up his own record company Go Good Records.

As mentioned above, Jin also acts. He was a voice actor in the Japanese version of the film Speed Racer and acted in 47 Ronin (2013). His TV shows include P.P.O.I, Best Friend and Gokkasen.

Here is Mi Amor ("My Love" in Spanish). It's more of an alternative/indie song and is sung in English and Japanese. Bit of a weird video but I like the song!




For more on Jin visit his website:

Official Japanese site: http://jinakanishi.com/

Official English version: http://jinakanishi.com/en/



E-girls

E-girls are a 20 member girl group. Like with K-pop, some J-pop groups are very large! They are also signed to Rhythm Zone. The group consists of the members of smaller groups Dream, Flower and Happiness and there are also 3 members who just belong to E-girls. Their name means Exile Girls Unit and Girls Entertainment Project and they are the sister unit of EXILE.

The current members are leader of the whole group Aya Takamoto,  Dream's Ami Nakashima, Shizuka Nishida and Erie Abe (all members of Dream); Anna Ishii, Yuzuna Takebe and Nonoka Yamaguchi (E-girls only); leader of Flower Manami Shigetome, Shuuka Fuji, Harumi Sato, Mio Nakajima, Reina Washio and Nozomiu Bando (all members of Flower) and Miyuu Ariiso (Happiness' leader), Sayaka Nagatomo, Karen Fuji, Kaede Dobashi, Ruri Kawamoto, Yurino Suzuiki and Anna Suda (all members of Happiness). Karen and Shuuka are sisters.

There are 15 former members some of whom were part of other girl bands. At one time there were 31 members. Erie has announced that she's leaving both E-girls and Dream at the end of the year.

The group was formed in 2011 through  a TV audition programme called Exile Presents Vocal Battle Audition 3: For Girls. They released their debut single Celebration! in December 2011. The singles One Two Three and Follow Me came out in 2012 and April 2013 saw the release of E-girls' debut album Lesson 1.

Their other singles include Candy Smile, Gomennasai no Kissing You, Kurukuru, E.G. Anthem We Are Venus, Highschool Love, Anniversary!!, Dance Dance Dance, E.G. Summer Rider and Pink Champagne. Go! Go! Let's Go! is set for release at the end of the month. In addition to Lesson 1 E-girls have brought out 2 more albums, Colorful Pop (2014) and E.G. Time (2015) and they also have a compilation album, E.G. Smile: E-girls Best. New album E.G. Crazy is scheduled for release in January 2017.

This is Pink Champagne which came out in July. It was one of the singles released as part of E. G. Summer Concept. I don't think all the girls always sing at the same time (must be a bit complicated with so many members!) but I think  Pink Champagne features them all and they all appear in the video as well, apart from Erie. It's not the full video.





 For more on E-girls visit their site (Japanese):  http://e-girls-ldh.jp/



Hope you like the post! I plan to do more in the future. :) Who are your favourite Japanese singers/groups?



Want more J-pop? Check out these links:

http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/namie-amuro-60s-70s-80s.html

http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/top-10-koda-kumi-songs.html

http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/j-soul-brothers-japanese-boyband.html

http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/new-j-pop-crystal-kay-and-namie-amuro.html

http://starsparklex.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/weekly-music-video.html







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