Recently, I have been writing a lot about reasons why I think today's Japan is in the dumps both economically and spiritually. Please refer to "Japan's Mojo No Go No Mo!" or: Non-Genki Corporate Japan Culture Ver. 2012:
In my opinion, one of the big problems with today's Japan and the economy in general is the lack of "Genki" in todays corporate Japan. I think it is well agreed upon that mood is a very important factor in the market economy. And when mood is bad, how can people be positive? It's like Japan is under a curse or something.
Actually, everywhere I've looked recently, I've seen many people who seem tired and disillusioned. Perhaps the coming elections in Japan contribute to the sour mood. I'm not sure.... But to look at who people get to choose from, I could understand their depression.
Wow! What a sad state of affairs!
But the other day, I saw something that really made my heart sing and think, for the first time in a long time, "Wow! Here's some Japanese people who are really going for it and trying to sell their product, not only in Japan but around the world!" I went to a live jazz performance of a new artist named Julie.
It was a refreshing evening. It made my heart sing to hear REALLY top quality world-class performers doing music with style.
And I was so impressed with what I saw. And what really surprised me the most was this came from the Japanese music industry. That is a shocker! The Japanese music industry is synonymous with bland corporate crap and a distinct lack of imagination.
For decades, Japanese musicians have tried to break into the USA but have consistently (and predictably) failed. The list is long. Multi-million selling superstars in Japan who couldn't giveaway their records in the west: Seiko Matsuda, Utada Hikaru, Chage and Aska and Ayumi Hamasaki... They all failed... and that's even with a massive promotional budget and spending in the millions on advertising.
Of course they failed, though.
Just as companies in the west must adapt their products to Japan, so the Japanese must adapt their products to the west. Why the Japanese used Japanese producers, staff and management to sell in the USA is a question that I have always wondered about.
But the other night, I saw something that made me think, "Wow! Japan still has a chance. She still has people with big dreams and people who are trying for the world stage.
Meet Jazz singer Julie. Her latest EP (now on sale on Amazon) is a refreshing break from the typical pop music scene. Julie does Jazz and in the traditional mode. The EP has been released in Italy and was produced, directed, recorded, engineered, mastered by an Italian film director. The video was also shot on location in Italy. And one can tell immediately that this is not a Japanese production.
This is world class quality. Watch it for yourself and see:
It's really nice to see a Japanese artist trying to make it in the west.... Especially when they recruit people from the west to make it happen. Good luck!
Here's more information about Julie and this video:
JULIE born in California and raised in Japan. She is a jazz singer with Hotei Tomoyasu's company (He played for the queen of England for her 50th Jubilee). Julie comes from a very musical family and has been around musicians and famous people all her life. She is a very big David Bowie fan. Her favorite movie is the Rocky Horror Picture Show. She speaks perfect Japanese and English.
DAVIDE SARDO Born and raised in Cagliari, Italy, Davide Sardo is a musician and sound designer. He is a classically trained double bassist and electric bassist. He plays several other instruments, as he sees fit for his productions. His activity is split in music scoring, audio production and sound design for theatre shows and short movies, and doing post sound (edit, sound design) for multimedia products, video and cinema. As a side activity he plays in a progressive rock band and produces his own electronic music. Davide is now Music producer and Chief sound designer at Welcome to my Mondo, the company he founded with Enrico and Piero.
ENRICO CICCU After graduating in History of Arts and taking a master in Visual Marketing, Enrico was hired as Adobe beta tester and started to work as art director all around Italy, for big companies such as Benetton, Wind, H3G, Tim, and Luxottica. Enrico's dream was to run his own company in his home town, land of sun and sea, so he came back to Sardinia where he started his first creative agency and he began teachING digital animation in a local graphic and comics school. He was hired as channel designer for Tiscali IP-television, where he worked for almost 2 years developing his skills in animation, web design and graphics. At the end of this project, together with a group of colleagues, he created a collaborative team of young professionals who won the prize for the Best Italian Web Design in 2010 thanks to its Japanese-inspired design. Enrico is now Art director at Welcome to my Mondo. Japan was always in his heart, and now his dream comes true: signing a joint venture with a Japanese partner to lookalize and promote Japanese artists, brands and goods in Europe.
Here's the "Making of Lookalization" teaser: