Monday, June 16, 2014
Masami Okui -- Energy
Masami Okui (奥井雅美) is a contemporary singer and friend of Megumi Hayashibara (林原めぐみ). So, as they collaborated some times in the past, I also enjoyed a couple of songs released by her.
Masami Okui, considered a technically better singer if compared to Megumi Hayashibara, worked as a backing vocalist for artists like Yuki Saito (斉藤由貴), Wink and Tomoyo Harada (原田知世) before starting her own career as a recording artist in the anime business.
After debuting in 1993, Okui became one of the main anime song singers of its time, but different from Hayashibara and other friends in the business, Masami Okui was not a voice-actress. In this case, she specialized herself as a singer-songwriter in the anime business.
“Energy”, an album track from Okui’s debut album “Gyuu”, which was released in April 1995, is a typical 90s anime song with its upbeat sound and heavy synths. Well, in reality, "Energy" was not used in any anime series, but the sound was the same. According to generasia, Masami Okui and Toshiro Yabuki (矢吹俊郎), the guy responsible for the arrangement of “Energy” and a good portion of Okui's songs at the time, “are known to be the pioneers in the introduction of dance sound in the anison musics”. I don’t quite agree with this, basically because a bunch of other anime singers, like Megumi Hayashibara, Yoko Takahashi (高橋洋子) and Kasumi Matsumura (松村香澄), to name a few, were doing similar works at the time. Besides that, I can see where they’re coming from with this sentence. Yabuki probably had an eye on the Komuro (小室 哲哉) dance craze of the mid-90s, and that’s why he tried to, somehow, emulate this specific trendy sound in the anime songs niche. It was a good move, and his arrangements were exciting.
The “Gyuu” album reached #47 on the Oricon charts, selling 11,450 copies. While Okui herself was responsible for lyrics and music, the arrangement, like I said earlier, was done by Toshiro Yabuki. A fun fact is that Yabuki has also worked with Wink as a guitarist a couple of years before Okui worked with the lovely duo.