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.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

SILVA -- color/morning prayer

(Sorry, music 163 is dead.)

It's interesting comparing female singers and singer-songwriters between the late 80s and 90s. Back in the late 80s, folks like Akiko Kobayashi and Midori Karashima were coming up with some of the softer romantic ballads along the J-AOR side of things. Meanwhile, a decade later, I was hearing Misia and bird introducing some soulful R&B into the J-Pop mix.

SILVA was another songstress in that vein during that last decade of the 20th century. Once again, during another sojourn in Tower Records, I was doing my usual rounds on the 2nd floor there when over the speakers, I heard this 70s disco voice in Japanese against a 90s R&B arrangement (kinda like CeCe Peniston). It turned out to be SILVA whose latest CD, "morning prayer" (her 3rd single from March 1999) was getting promoted at the world's largest CD shop, and so on a whim, I decided to invest in her. The Tokyo native debuted in 1998 with the single, "Sachi" (she had also released a couple of albums a few years earlier under her birth name of Yoshiko Takahashi/高橋よしこ).

Now, the above link is actually for the coupling song, "color". I actually like that one better than the "A-side" since there is more going on there melodically in my opinion. I felt like the beat was going somewhere a good deal harder. "color" was written by SILVA and composed by Shinichiro Murayama(村山晋一郎).

Now, as for "morning prayer", the above will take you to the official music video. At the time, SILVA was about 24 years old, and when compared to some of the appearances of the other aforementioned J-Soul singers in their videos, I would definitely have pegged her as the sensual one. Some of her CD covers have helped emphasize that fact as well. However, as for the song itself, I'm not sure if the sound engineer was at fault but the music didn't seem to play up to the singer's booming vocals. To be honest, it seems as if it were all rather muted for some reason...perhaps some higher highs and lower lows would have been nice. But you can also listen to the link below and judge for yourself. SILVA took care of the lyrics here as well, but the music was provided by DJ Hirofumi Asamoto(朝本浩文).

Although SILVA didn't quite reach the heights of Misia in her singing career, she has still had quite the successful career along other avenues. Right from the beginning, she became popular and respected for having very frank opinions on talk variety shows on radio and TV, including NHK. And after releasing her 12th single in 2002, she decided to put that part of her life on hold and tried her hand at becoming a DJ, something that she had long been interested in trying. Several years later, she would release a couple of albums from the For Life label under the name of DJ SILVA, and made tours around Japan and other Asian countries. Then, for another 3 years, she studied overseas in New York City while working as a DJ and releasing a few discs before returning to Japan to start her career there again. A couple of years ago, she began her own band, NameLessNess, which has focused on the AOR and R&B genres.

I wondered about how Ms. Takahashi got her stage name. According to her J-Wiki entry, there is an excerpt from a conversation (which was probably a whole lot more animated) between her and her then-managing company which went like this (my attempted translation):

Managing Company: Since I discovered you at Gold (a nightclub) in Shibaura (Tokyo), let's make your stage name GOLD!

SILVA: Fxxk that! I like PLATINUM.

Managing Company: Are you fxxking kidding me?!

Apparently, the two compromised on a spelling variant of SILVER instead. I realize that I may have been a bit florid with my language but since I have seen the lady on one variety show, I don't think I'm too far off the mark. I'm just wondering if the whole conversation had taken place with both parties squatting down on the ground while smoking Lucky 7s.

P.S. The above is for the video of NameLessNess performing a cover of "Just The Two of Us".

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