New MISIA single – ‘Any Love’
Posted by redracer on July 17, 2007
Released on 4th July, this is the latest single from MISIA, and whilst it is her 17th single, it is also the first in her return to original record label BMG after leaving AvexTrax.
It is really remiss of me not to review something from MISIA until now, after having won the title of my “Favourite Singer of the Year” in my 2006 J-Pop Awards. Therefore I must apologise very deeply to her – moshiwake gozaimasen …
I first heard of MISIA via a fellow student at Japanese TAFE classes (thanks Lucy) who played me ‘Everything’, and I was unable to find my jaw on the floor for the tears in my eyes !! Born on the 7th July 1978 in Fukuoka, Kyushu, her real name is Misaki Itou and she grew up in a family where both parent were singers. She discovered that she had a five-octave voice range while at an older sister’s music lessons, and dreamed of becoming a singer. She later won a contest in Fukuoka, and also played trumpet in the high school brass band club. At that time she began singing with two African-American trainers in gospel and R&B, and although was accepted into a commercial science course at university, decided to try for a music career instead. Her name is pronounced as ‘meesha’, and is supposed to be made up of a combination of her name ‘Misaki’ and ‘Asia’.
After passing a BMG audition in May 1997, she decided on her trademark “dreadlock” hair-style and released her first single “Tsutsumikomu Youni…” in February 1998. This reached #11 and sold nearly 670,000 copies in two formats. The second single “Hi no Ataru basho” was released in May and reached #9 with over 220,000 copies sold. In May her first album “Mother Father Brother Sister” was released and it reached #1 with over 2.5 million copies sold (still her highest seller ever). The next three albums also reached #1, and those since then have been #2 or #3 in the charts. In October 2000, the power ballad “Everything” was released and was her first #1 single, with nearly 1.9 million copies sold. In 2006, she sang a powerful ballad to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of Tokyo Disneyland – “Sea of Dreams”. In 2002, she moved to the powerful AvexTrax record label, but I don’t think they promoted her very well, and their prize acquisition did not sell nearly as many units as she had with BMG, so finally in early 2007 she changed back to BMG again.
This young lady may only be 5’0″ tall, but has the most powerful voice I have every heard, and an extended range comparable to none. Others have compared her as “the Mariah Carey of Japan”, and she is known to sing Minnie Ripperton’s song ‘Lovin You’, with those incredibly high notes. However I think she could hold her own against them, or any others that may come knocking. She writes most of the lyrics to her songs, but not usually the music, although several composers seem to be used frequently. In fact the composer of “Everything” also wrote “Hatenaku Tsuzuku Story”, which whilst not as big a hit, as a better song in my opinion and both of them can easily bring a tear to a grown man’s eye !!! Her music is often quite dance oriented and even though she often surrounds herself with dancers in clips and on stage, she doesn’t do a lot of dancing herself. She is commonly classified as an R&B artist, but her musical range is a lot more varied than that.
The CD contains …
- ANY LOVE
Surprisingly, this is the first time that MISIA has issued a single with a DVD version as well, and this one contains …
- ANY LOVE (PV)
- 太陽のマライカ (Nairobi Documentary where the ‘Any Love’ PV was filmed)
ANY LOVE is a slowish loping pop tune with a strong bass beat. Nothing startling compared to some of her previous releases, but it does show off the high ranges of her voice well. The second track starts with just a piano backing, and later strings are added. This is quite an emotional song, and better in my opinion than the first. The PV of ANY LOVE was shot in Nairobi, and shows her travelling around the squalor of an impoverished countryside (but there are also lots of trains in the background!!). The documentary clip has her interacting with and singing outdoors to groups of black children, who I don’t think really know how to take her but still seemed to appreciate the music. She is doing a new song here (Taiyou no Maraika), which is another nice ballad with just piano accompaniment.
Her live tours are always sellouts, and contain massive amounts of staging and background effects – usually there is at least a week between shows to take into account the logistics of transporting all this equipment and setting it up etc. In 2004, she became the first female artsit to tour the five domed stadiums of Japan (Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka & Fukuoka). As a preview, just have a look at the following clips, both for the amazing power and range of her voice, and the fabulous staging …
“K.I.T” (from 2005 The Singer Tour) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGfEkNMatmU
“Into the Light” (from 2004 Mars & Roses Tour) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydAlx5iYYRw
I will also review the 2007 Ascension Tour DVD shortly – this has to be the most amazing piece of packaging I have ever seen 🙂
Inside the case is an advertising slip for “The Tour of MISIA 2008”, which comprises …
- 21-22/12/2007 – Osaka Jo Hall
- 31/12/2007 – Fukuoka Marine Messe
- 5-6/01/2008 – Yoyogi Sports Stadium (Tokyo)
- 19-20/01/2008 – Saitama Super Arena
- 26-27/01/2008 – Osaka Jo Hall
- 16-17/02/2008 – Nagoya Sports Plaza
If you really want to see her, these are your best chance, as the current “Hoshizora no Live IV Classics Tour” is currently underway, and most venues are already sold out.
It is hard to find many pictures of her, as she is quite publicity-shy, does not do any of the TV music shows, and really only appears every year for a concert tour or two. And it is certainly not because she is unattractive, so here is a picture from some type of publicity shoot …