Aimer is a female Japanese singer iconic in the industry for her deep and husky voice that once heard will never leave one’s memory.
The artist embarked on her nationwide tour of Japan Aimer Hall Tour 18/19 “soleil et pluie” on October 31 last year which took her to 19 locations across the country for 21 concerts. More than halfway through the tour the singer released her 16th single I beg you / Hanabira-tachi no March / Sailing on January 9. Less than a week after on January 15 it was announced that the double A-side record had made it to No. 1 on Oricon’s Weekly Singles rankings.
The word kashu (歌手) in Japanese translates to ‘singer,’ with ka meaning ‘song’ and shu meaning ‘person.’ but at what point did people stop using it in favour of shingaa (シンガー / ‘singer’)? The word was formerly used alongside idols’ names such as Seiko Matsuda and Akina Nakamori. But, almost like inverse proportion, the title ‘singer-songwriter’ began to spread alongside J-pop, and the word kashu was left for only a few artists such as MISIA. It has disappeared.
A ray of hope shining through in contemporary music right now is Aimer. She goes by the title of singer-songwriter, but the music she creates is certainly that which delivers that ka. She is that which had formerly dried up in today’s Japanese music industry.
Anime as an entry point to erase prejudice
The majority of songs that Aimer gave to many people when she debuted and was still a small name were anime songs. She established her position through her involvement with writing opening and ending theme songs for anime series, starting with her with Rokutousei no Yoru followed by others such as Re:pray, RE:I AM and more.
A lot of new artists sell records through easy-to-understand visuals, whether it be looking cute and singing cute songs or donning a cool style and performance cool-sounding numbers. They are released into the world in a well thought-out package which conveys what that artist is all about.
In Aimer’s case, however, she burst through the scene through a different kind of branding. Her image was mysterious without anyone knowing her age, nationality―anything. The reason is not because of physical appearance or something that would compare unfavourably with society. It’s because the first thing she wanted people to feel is her voice and her music. And having it cross with anime, which is part of Japanese culture, made it possible for her to deliver something through her own filter.
A captivating voice paves the path of destiny
Aimer’s biggest charm is her singing voice. It’s husky, something that floats while piercing the core. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it totally unique. The head of Onkyo Lab describes it as, “An extremely rare voice that simultaneously produces amplitude fluctuations and frequency fluctuations.”
But Aimer was in fact not born with this voice. When she was 15-years-old she injured her throat from singing too much and was unable to speak for half a year. What was left after recovering and working to bring back her voice was the type of voice and singing style she now has.
It may seem like she is able to sing without any trouble, but she still has knots in her throat. 7 years on from debuting, she has consistently sought to face her condition “musically” through singing. It can be said that her simple honesty and obsession with the voice Is one of the reasons why she continues to sing with the possession of such a unique voice.
Support from celebrities
A noteworthy point about Aimer is the large amount of celebrity fans she has.
Those who had publicly stated that are fans include Mao Abe, Takanori Nishikawa and many others. Keisuke Kuwata even includeed her in his Top 20 songs for 2012. The number of celebrity fans that have stated her as one of their favourite artists has helped spread her name.
Another fact worthy of mention is how many fellow musicians Aimer has been involved with whether it be writing songs with them, having other artists produce tracks for her and so on. One example includes one of her big hits Chouchou no Musubi for which she worked with Yojiro Noda of RADIMPS. Others include Taka of ONE OK ROCK, TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, Cocco and many more, all of whom are huge names in the industry and which any number of us has heard of. While associating with such a musical family as this she has been able to push forward as an artist. There is no other like her whose voice is so compatible with any musicianship.
The day on which the current generation is illustrated is right in front of us
Aimer has musically pursed music while being obsessed with the voice. She has look toward songs, music and the voice with simple honesty, and the way in which she has and continues to express that I believe makes her an indispensable kashu of the current era. Her recently-released 16th single I beg you / Hanabira-tachi no March / Sailing made it to No. 1 on Oricon’s Weekly Singles rankings. The day on which she is verified as the singer today’s generation is seeking is on the horizon.
Text: Ayaka Sakai
Translation: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga
Aimer Official Website