Courtesy of H.I.P
Something happened to J-pop in 1998. Along came two
singers, Misia and UA, to blow away preconceptions of the disposable J-pop aidoru
with their four-octave, soulful voices and strong persona.
Hailing from Fukuoka in Kyushu, Misia (pronounced "Miisha") came out of nowhere
in 1998 with her debut Mother Father Brother Sister. Boasting an impressive vocal
range and a commanding presence which belied her petite, 40kg physique, Misia was
everywhere that year on the strengths of the singles "Never Gonna Cry" and
"Tsutsumikomu You Ni."
The 22-year-old Misia also played astutely to the desires of young Japanese teenagers for
stronger role models than the J-pop world had been supplying. In a testament to her
appeal, Mother Father Brother Sister went on to sell over two million copies.
Staying in the limelight, Misia released mini-album The Glory Day later in 1998,
and followed it with Love Is The Message in 1999, and Everything in
Hikaru Utada came along in 1999 to steal the limelight, but in many ways Misia had set the
template for the new generation of R&B-influenced young Japanese singers. J-pop would
never be the same again.
Misia plays the Nihon
Budokan on November 29-30. See listings for