Credits

I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kohmi Hirose -- Ai ga Areba Daijoubu (愛があれば大丈夫)



Having arrived in Japan in 1994, Kohmi Hirose's(広瀬香美) career had already been well underway. Born in Fukuoka Prefecture as Mami or Asami Yonemitsu(米光麻美), during her college days, she went over to Los Angeles where she caught the late Michael Jackson and Madonna in concert. And that was the spark for her to decide on a career in music. She was able to become a student of Seth Riggs, a voice trainer who had not only been Jackson's coach for 3 years, but also helped out everyone from Ray Charles to Dusty Springfield.

On returning to Japan, Victor Entertainment picked her up as an up-and-coming pop singer, and they and Ms. Yonemitsu went about crafting a stage name for her. Victor provided her with the family name of Hirose while she picked the first name of Kohmi since it sounded like "Call Me"....not sure if she'd also been a Blondie or a Go West fan, but it certainly made for a nice advertising gimmick.

Now, what got her into the big time was her 3rd single, "Romance no Kamisama" in 1993, but I also enjoy her debut single, "Ai ga Areba Daijoubu" (As Long As There's Love, It's OK). I'm not certain whether I first came across this one during a karaoke session or when I bought "Love Winters", her first BEST compilation in 1998. It's an ecstatic, brassy and hopeful song that deserves the adjective "Kohmiesque". Written and composed by Hirose, the arrangement by Shiro Sagisu(鷺巣詩朗) brings together a combination of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September" disco with some old-style Big Band musical feel....whenever I listen to the instrumental bridge, I could imagine a group of dancers making those geometric patterns from a ceiling-view camera like they used to do in old 50s TV variety shows. And Hirose just blasted that voice right from the beginning...kudos to Coach Riggs. She was definitely different from the rest of the pack of 1992/1993. And obviously, Victor Entertainment must have had a lot of confidence in her since she was not only able to create her own inaugural single but that single even got to be the theme for a movie, "Byouin e Ikou 2" (病院へ行こう2....Let's Go To The Hospital 2), a not-inauspicious comedy starring Hiroyuki Sanada (of "The Last Samurai" fame) and former aidoru Kyoko Koizumi.

The song was released in December 1992, so perhaps her nickname as the Queen of Winter may have started its roll from even then. It peaked at a respectable No. 42 on the Oricon weeklies and was a track on her 2nd studio album, "Good Luck!" which was first sold in March 1993 and went as high as No. 50. With such optimistic titles for her debut single and album, she didn't have to wait long before she struck major stardom.


4 comments:

  1. Thanks J-Canuck for this great post on 広瀬香美's 「愛があれば大丈夫」. It's definitely one of my favorites from her along with her winter themed song 「ゲレンデがとけるほど恋したい」 and 『カードキャプターさくら』 ED theme 「GROOVY」. Also thanks for the trivia bits about her. I remember laughing a bit when I read about how she came up with her stage name on J-Wiki. They mentioned she may have also gotten inspiration from the kanji for mirror 「香美」 although that might be a bit of a stretch.

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  2. Hi, JTM.

    Yeah, she definitely comes across as very much of an "Up With People" type....pretty important when Japan was starting to go into its economic malaise. And she probably was just as helpful as Yuming for the ski industry. :)

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  3. Everything started with Kohmi for me. She and MISIA and B'z were my firsts and they still remaining among my favorites.

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    1. Kohmi has been a good deal of fun for me. In a way, she helped me settle into my life in Japan in 1994.

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