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Ni Hao! 'Nother review, this time it's YUI!
Where you might have heard of her before:
• "Feel my Soul”—used for J-drama “Fukigen na Gene”
• “Tomorrow’s Way” – J-movie “Hinokio”
• “Life” – the anime Bleach’s 5th ending theme
• “Rolling Star” – the anime Bleach’s 5th opening theme
• “Goodbye Days” – theme song for the J-movie “Taiyou no Uta” タイヨウのうた with YUI’s other songs “It’s Happy Line” and “Skyline” as insert songs.
• “Again”— an opening for the anime, Fullmetal Alchemist
• “Love & Truth” – J-movie “Closed Note”
~~ several other dramas, movies and commercials have showcased YUI’s songs.
YUI was born March 26th 1987 in Fukuoka. She grew up only with her mother, and having no memory of her father. Ever since she was little, YUI grew up with music and in elementary school, decided she wanted to be a musician.
She would write her feelings in journals and poetry, then by high school, starting writing her own songs. But, with all the pressures and hassle YUI felt in high school, including working to get tuition money and studying, she felt a life of music and school wasn’t possible. At this time, it is possible she might have given up on her dream of singing. Yet, she got sick and had to stay in a hospital for quite some time, there she was really able to think about her life and where it was going. With thinking about things, YUI decided she couldn’t leave her dream behind and focused now on creating a musical career for herself. Pretty much saying, “school can deal with it”, which is somewhat of a saying I have.
She dropped out of high school and entered a private music school. It was a cram school and she started to seriously study guitar and songwriting. Although it has a lot of work, at least it was now something she actually wanted to do. At this time, YUI would give street performances at Tenjin station in Fukuoka to get a feel of being professional. With this, YUI was also able to get over her shyness.
In February 2004, there was a Sony Music Group Audition and by recommendation of her teacher, she auditioned. Even though it was a rule that participants could only perform 2 songs, YUI did 3 and the judges all gave her the highest marks possible. The songs she performed were, “Why me”, “It’s Happy Line”, and “I know”. As said by Last.fm, “the judges and the others present claimed that “the performance created a tremendous aura from her heavenly voice, and captured the hearts of the whole audience”.” Afterwards, she was signed instantly. Impressive, ne?
And only at 17 years old, on Christmas of 2004, YUI’s first single, “A Happy Line” was released on an indie label.
Getting more popular and successful, she left Fukuoka for Tokyo and wrote “feel my soul”. YUI intended on it being released on the indie label, sort of a tribute to her hometown. However, when a Fuji t.v. producer heard the new song, he said that YUI’s vocals haunted him so much that he had to visit her in the recording studio by himself. Managing to get YUI on his label now, he used this newest song for his channel’s primetime drama, “Fukigen no Gene”. YUI’s 1st major debut single, “Feel my Soul” got 8th on the Oricon charts and she continued to gain fans and popularity. After a few more singles being released and then an album with moderate success, in 2006 YUI started her acting career and everything changed.
The movie “Taiyou no Uta” タイヨウのうた “A Song of the Sun” (but also called “Midnight Sun) came out in June of 2006, and really shot YUI into the spotlight. YUI had the main role and her character is partly based off of herself as her character is an amateur singer and guitarist. Not only that, but her character also performs 3 of YUI’s songs, “It’s Happy Line”, “Goodbye Days” and “Skyline”. I read the movie’s description on Wikipedia (full of spoilers though) and it seems really touching, I would really like to see it. -sniffs- But, anyways, I think this was such an amazingly intelligent thing for her to do and to me, it seems kinda like an infomercial showcasing off YUI and her abilities. Really, it’s simple marketing at its’ finest.
Well, because of her role in Taiyou no Uta, YUI received the “Best Newcomer” award at the Japan Academy Prize (which is similar to the Academy Awards). And because of the movie, her accompanying single “Goodbye Days” became her biggest selling single to date at 200,000 copies sold. Not only that, but because of the success of the movie and the single, many of YUI’s previous singles and the following singles got boosted sales. Some other awards YUI has received are the “MTV Student Voice Award 2008: Best Artist” and “Space Shower Music Video Awards 08: Best Pop Video”.
Afterwards, she has continued releasing more singles. YUI became a household name with her songs constantly appearing in commercial ads or t.v. dramas. “Taiyou no Uta” also was made into a television drama. Her 2nd full album “Can’t buy my Love” reached 1st on the Oricon charts and lasted for 2 weeks. And because of this album’s success, her 1st album also got shot into the Oricon rankings again. But this was not the only time YUI got the top spot in the charts; her singles “My Generation/Understand”, “Summer Song”, “Again”, “It’s all too much/ Never say Die” and 3rd album “I Loved Yesterday” also all charted 1st place.
On January 20th 2010, her latest single “Gloria” was released and reached #1 on the charts selling over 80,000 within the first week. With this, YUI had made history by becoming only the 2nd female Japanese singer to ever have 4 consecutive #1 hits besides Utada Hikaru!
Another really awesome bit of trivia, YUI’s latest compilation album of her B-sides called “My Short Stories” released in November 2008, reached the 1st place spot on the Oricon chart. Because of this, YUI is only the 2nd female Japanese artist whose B-side compilation album reached 1st and only second to Seiko Matsuda’s “Touch Me” in 1984.
More music stuffs~!!
Listening to her for the first time, I really love how soft, delicate and smooth her voice is. It’s so clear and sharp, but easily flows into a more powerful, strong sound, like a breath of fresh air. Her music to me isn’t the most distinctive or unique, but it’s still really pleasing and I’m happy to listen to more of it.
To me, it seems like her older stuff has a more “folksy” softer pop feel with all the lovely acoustic guitar action whereas her later stuff has more of an “aggressive”rock edge and feel. Regardless, they all carry a sort of upbeat melody categoristic usually of Jpop. Just personally, her older stuff seems to fit her voice more, but I like both. Also, with her newer stuff there is more experimentation with different melodies and sounds than older stuff. Oh, she also writes all of her own lyrics, which I really like of course, it’s pretty uncommon with most Jpop artists out there!! ^^
So, when I was first looking for some of YUI’s songs on Youtube, it took seemingly FOREVER! LOL First of all, when I typed “YUI” or even “YUI” and the exact song title, at least 97% are all people covering it >_>;;;. THEN, when I did find legitimate music by a “YUI”, there are bunches of different Yui’s. I knew there were several different Yui’s, but not as many as I found! There’s YUI, Yui Aragaki, Yui Makino, Yui Horie, Yui Ichikawa, Yui Sakakibara and a bunch of other Yui’s who are just idols.. LOL, well, there are other websites I found videos on and it was worth finding the real videos! XDD
Some songs (overall in order of age, oldest first) :
Her first major single release and an uplifting and sweet typical Jpop song. It showcases her real potential in her vocal ranges and composition abilities.
Another nice and simple song.
One of YUI's more rock-inspired songs. I really really like this. It obviously has a rock melody, but not the "tough" edge that takes away from YUI's voice.
Such a sweet soft simple song, her voice is so perfect. It oozes that warm and fuzzing feeling. Nostalgia!! One of my favorites of what I’ve heard so far.
Catchier, has a sort of “western” feeling to it... I like it loads~
So touching.. ;w; Like I mentioned, this was the main song in “Taiyou no Uta”.
The melody is really nice and her softer voice is so lovely. Then, it gets to the chorus where there is more power. I like this song; nice in between her oldest stuff and her current stuff.
Begins with this cute fairytale-esque feel. It’s a soft, charming ballade, but doesn’t get at all as painful sounding as “Goodbye Days”. It has a nice dream-like quality to it.
Fun, obviously summery song. I find a lot of YUI’s songs make me think of summertime. Mybe it’s just Jpop in general usually does? Hmm..~
Another rockish inspired tune. I don’t know, but I’m not too crazy about it. Like some of the other newer/ rock-inspired songs, like “It’s all too much", it’s a “tougher” melody, but YUI is all cute and sweet and it doesn’t sound as natural or enjoyable as some of her softer songs.
Her voice is so smooth and just flows soo amazingly in this song. It gets pretty aggressive in comparing with some of the other stuff. It like gets you in the “zone” or whatever. Crazy catchy song~ her voice is actually really good in this song that fits with the aggressiveness of the melody.
Here is her OHP, check it out! — http://www.yui-net.com/index.html
Have questions/ comments about YUI?! Check the forums!: http://otakuanime.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5933#5933