The Mai Kuraki Appreciation Thread

We listen to stuff outside of H!P? What?!?

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The Mai Kuraki Appreciation Thread

Post by Madara »

I first saw Mai Kuraki perform when I watched the 2011 FNS Music Festival in December 2011 and was immediately compelled to go to Book Off and load up on whatever CDs of hers I could find. I’ve become a big fan of hers. “Future Kiss” has become one of my favorite albums. Well just this past week, I found her 2004 concert DVD at Book Off and watched that and was incredibly impressed at how well she carried a 2-hour live show without any of the costumes, stagecraft or theatrical flourishes that other solo artists are known for in concerts. She just gets out there in plain, functional clothing and sings her heart out, just her and the musicians. She has Japanese musicians, male and female, Japanese backup singers and four black American male musicians, one of whom provides backup vocals also and sings a very sweet duet with her (“Tonight I Feel Close to You”)—in English. She was all of 21 at the time.

She seems so different to me from all the other Japanese female solo artists I’ve followed since becoming a J-pop fan, so unlike Ayaya and Maki, Namie Amuro and Koda Kumi, Seiko Matsuda, Akina Nakamori and Ayumi Hamasaki, to name some. There are probably other solo artists who have similar careers to Mai-K’s but I’m just not familiar with them.

My question is this: how does someone like Mai forge a career that’s so completely her own at such a young age? If there’s any behind-the-scenes mastermind directing her every move, it certainly doesn’t show. She seems to be completely in control in this concert, doing the music she wants to do in the way she wants to do it, but in a quiet, understated way. Is it just because she’s so talented and confident? Does she have a strong personality? A record label that’s completely supportive? How does this work?

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