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.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Hiroe Ueda -- Solo Sapiens(ソロ・サピエンス)

I've read a little about singer-songwriter Hiroe Ueda(上田浩恵)and heard some of her material on YouTube such as tracks from her 1987 album "Place in the Sun". Although I have yet to hear all of the tracks, I think that my jury is still out on a few of them but I do like the first one "Wonderlight"(ワンダーライト).

Ueda hails from Miyazaki Prefecture and while she was attending Chuo University in Tokyo, she won out in a vocal audition which led to her debuting as a singer at what is now known as Pony Canyon Inc. in 1986. Later on in the year, she introduced her debut single "Solo Sapiens" which was written by Jun Natsume(夏目純)and composed by Ami Ozaki(尾崎亜美).

My first impression of "Solo Sapiens" is that she sounds perfect for straight-ahead bouncy pop or urban contemporary. I'm not sure whether Ueda had ever done backup chorus before her debut, although she has contributed her skills to other singers such as EPO and Kenjiro Sakiya(崎谷健次郎)since starting out, but she strikes me as someone who can provide great support on any concert tour. And in fact, Ueda has since become good friends with the two singers that I've just mentioned.

As well, with "Solo Sapiens", I really get that boomer voice of hers and with the type of music she sang back then, I think that she does share some similarities with her good friend EPO and Yurie Kokubu(国分友里恵). Speaking of the song, "Solo Sapiens" was used as the commercial tune for the L100 Leeza car in which Ueda also stars as the main character in the ad.

From what I can see in the page for any of her works, it seems as if she only released two studio albums, the aforementioned "Place in the Sun" and "Blew" and I believe 5 singles. According to her J-Wiki bio, the songwriting part of her career began in the late 1990s, and then in 2004, she decided to go into jazz, R&B and gospel under her new stage name of Whoopin (pronounced "oo-peen") which was devised by her sister by combining the "wo-" of "woman" and Ueda's nickname of "Pin".

I'll have to see about listening to "Place in the Sun" some more.

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