I'm not sure what the impetus was behind my purchase of Ryota Mitsunaga's（光永亮太）"Always". Either I watched an episode or two from the Fuji-TV drama "Itsumo Futari de" （いつもふたりで...Always The Two of Us）which had the song as the theme or I heard it at a listening post in one of the major CD shops. In any case, I enjoyed listening to it enough that I bought the CD single. At the time, singers like Misia and bird were pretty popular with their brand of R&B/pop with that certain flavour of soul/disco, and I placed Mitsunaga in that category.
Ryota Mitsunaga is a singer-songwriter who hails from Tokyo but spent a good chunk of his childhood in Chicago. Apparently at the age of 4 years, he wanted to become a singer after watching a video of "We Are The World", and has been influenced by a number of the participants in that famous project including Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and Hall & Oates. 80s band Anzen Chitai （安全地帯）also had an effect on him...and to be honest, I think there is a bit of Koji Tamaki （玉置浩二）in his voice.
"Always" was his debut with a major label in February 2003. Mitsunaga wrote the lyrics while Sin provided the music and arrangement. The single went Platinum and went all the way up to No. 5 on Oricon, ending the year as the 31st-ranked song. It is also a track on his debut album, "Inside My Heart" which came out in July of that year. Up to now, he has released 8 singles including his first 2002 single with an independent label, and 4 albums.
|Ryota Mitsunaga -- Always|