J-pop goes def – A bold new generation of R&B sistaz serves up music their way
Back in 2002, one of the biggest J-pop singers embarked on an ambitious solo project, riding a surging wave of interest in R&B. Namie Amuro was taking a risk few well-molded idoru would dare, and though seen as a little eccentric at the time, the resulting album, Suitechic, now seems like a smart business move.
With the likes of New York-born Hikaru Utada and Misia as role models, an abundance of mostly female singers indebted to American R&B have charged up the charts, many of whom also have significant backgrounds in the States. From Crystal Kay to Bennie K, AI to Double, and new acts Soulhead and Yoshika, R&B divas are giving J-Pop some attitude.