Now, everyone knows I’ve been a sucker for Asian-pop acts for a looong time. As a guy who happens to be a fan of K-Pop and J-Pop, I’ve had more than a few acts that I’ve been keeping an eye (and an ear) on for years, and it does my heart good to know some of these acts have been catching on in the mainstream.
Unfortunately, while K-Pop is extremely popular in the Philippines at the moment, it’s pretty obvious that J-Pop still has a lot of catching up to do. The likes of Utada Hikaru are unfortunately not nearly as popular in this country as their Korean counterparts. Despite that, the rise of J-Pop is upon us, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of Manila realizes just how awesome J-Pop can really be, with its infectious mixes and beats coming together for a unique experience that is distinctly theirs.
One of the luminaries of J-Pop at the moment and even for the better part of the last decade would have to be the celebrated icon Amuro Namie. With music and performances that put lesser western talents to shame, Amuro Namie’s popularity grew to a point where she was referred to as the “Queen of Japanese Pop Music.” Multi-talented and breathtakingly gorgeous, Amuro Namie isn’t just a Japanese singer, she’s an all-around entertainer, also having had an acting career, to boot.
Now, through the support of the renowned Japanese record label Avex Entertainment Inc., Amuro Namie is going wild in Japan, and soon, in Manila: wild in the charts, and wild at heart. She recently released her single “Wild,” and it is a certified smash hit from the get-go, featuring a very catchy ditty that has to be seen and heard to be believed. Amuro Namie is no bubblegum pop princess: she can more than just carry a tune, she can vocally hit it right out of the ballpark, all the while performing and dancing at a frenetic pace. Needless to say, this song has already hit #1 in Japan, and is, even more astoundingly, her 11th #1 single already.
Doesn’t it seem odd that in a country that is so in love with Japanese culture, the Philippines hasn’t had the chance to appreciate J-Pop in the mainstream yet? There is quite an underground following for J-Pop and even J-Rock acts locally, but most of these are from some select niche acts who are already fans of all things Japanese, often seen covering J-Pop hits in cosplay conventions year in and year out. Amuro Namie’s music is definitely a crowd favourite among convention goers who appreciate J-Pop.
With cosplay and other aspects of Japanese culture slowly making its way into the mainstream, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country catches on to the distinct and delectable flavour of J-Pop, and Amuro Namie is bound to win over some fans once she breaks into the mainstream, and you can be sure, it’s bound to come around sooner than later. There’s little not to like about Amuro Namie’s music, even if you don’t necessarily understand Japanese: there’s a lot of power going on in those pipes, and there’s a lot of sheer poetry in motion whenever she hits the stage. I can’t help but be enthralled with the way she moves, and I can’t believe how she hasn’t missed a beat after having been performing at this level for over a decade already.
I’m calling it now: everyone make way for “her Wildness,” Amuro Namie! I’m a fan not only of her music, but of the way she’s managed to capture the imagination not only of the Japanese people, but anyone who has given her more than just a passing glance. It doesn’t hurt, either, that she’s unbelievably gorgeous. Given how she’s been in the industry for well over a decade already, and given how she’s already in her 30’s, it’s unbelievable how fit she still looks, how energetic her performances are, and how powerful her voice is. She is timeless and oozes with charisma, and she definitely leaves it all out there whenever she’s onstage.
Many people are quick to point out that she has had numerous setbacks over the course of her career, but who cares? The proof is in the pudding, and what really matters is that despite all the obstacles and all the adversity, she’s still standing after well over a decade, and achieving consistent success for years. She’s been one of the longest-lasting female acts in Japan, an accomplished stage performer, and well-loved by her fans. Confident, wild, but unforgettable: Amuro Namie is someone Filipinos ought to watch out for.
As I said, when it comes to Amuro Namie, to appreciate her, you have to see her to believe her. Without any further ado, why don’t you catch this video of her performing her hit single, “Wild?” Trust me. It’s worth the few minutes of your time.