With unclipped wings
It could be said that a raven’s flight is determined by two things – the necessity to travel, and for pure joy. Throughout a variety of stories and legends across the world, the raven has been cited as a creative force, giving life to the things around it, an enigma and even a bit of a trickster. With his own wings held high, chest pushed out and pressing determination to reach the sky – Miyavi’s particular twist on life seemed to echo that of the powerful raven’s folklore strength. Talons ready, Miyavi has spent his career clawing through genres, ripping past an array of visual candy, and tearing down prejudices previously set for him. This approach to music would not calm with the future, only intensify as he continues forward and tackles possibly some of the greatest challenges he will face.
The cold winter holiday of December 25th, 2007 was felt with high spirits by enthusiastic fans when Miyavi held his live performance at the C.C. Lemon Hall, located within the bustling city of Tokyo. Although Miyavi holding a Christmas live was nothing short of special, this particular concert would end up opening a gift for fans across the world. After a phenomenal evening, Miyavi paused and told the captivated crowd he had something important to say. With bated breath, fans waited intently. What would Miyavi do next? A hushed silence circulated around the venue, and Miyavi made his announcement: he was going around the world. A flurry of excitement spread across the fanbase as the news quickly reached the countries Miyavi planned to appear at on his “THIS IZ THE JAPANESE KABUKI ROCK WORLD TOUR 2008”. The United States, Germany, England, France, South Korea, Taiwan, China, and the launching point of the tour, Japan, were already scheduled to be included. Despite the fact that dates and venues would not come for months, the excited fluttering hearts of the fans would not be quelled.
With “The beginning of the NEO VISUALIZM Tour 2007” already heavily underway, Miyavi’s fans across the world learned soon enough the latest angle Miyavi was taking. Pulling along a turntable of talent and ideas known as the KAVKI BOIZ, Miyavi’s newest style propelled forward with unyielding force. The previous release of “Subarashiki kana, Kono Sekai-WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD-” on November 14th had exposed a snippet of what was to be heard in the future. Blasting out a bizarre mixture of hip-hop, rap, and tap dancing, while containing a visual carnival with more colors than a box of crayons, this was a single that turned heads in a three-sixty fashion. Being the second release from Miyavi in his especially unique “Kabuki Rock” style, fans realized that this musically blended ice-cream swirl wasn’t going to disappear anytime soon.
At the start of 2008, Miyavi’s “Hi no Hikari sae Todokanai Kono Basho de” single which featured the mastermind guitarist SUGIZO, was unleashed. A slightly more mainstream rock sound was called upon for the single’s title song with the fellow S.K.I.N. band mate, but the second accompanying track, “My name iz Oresama.com”, stayed true to the recent KAVKI BOIZ turn. The release of his sixth album was on the horizon, and when it was unveiled on March 19th in 2008, “-THIS IZ THE JAPANESE KABUKI ROCK-” pushed Miyavi’s creative insight to the limit and far beyond. Somehow managing to articulately blend together traditional Japanese instruments and western influenced hip-hop, while mixed in with a sprinkle of techno and the versatile vocals and lyrics of Miyavi, “-THIS IZ THE JAPANESE KABUKI ROCK-” was a breath of fresh air in both visual kei, and the music industry alike.
Anticipation was mounting high as May 2008 approached quickly. The beginning of Miyavi’s first world tour was marked on calendars as May 10th starting in Tokyo, Japan. A previous announcement had thrown in another six countries Miyavi would play in, which included South America, Spain, and several more stops in Europe. The total reached an astounding fourteen countries, and over twenty-five cities that would be exposed to Miyavi’s musical wrath. Sporting a Japanese fan obscuring his face and dressed up beautifully in a kimono-esque outfit, Miyavi sauntered onto the stage in Japan amongst a shower of paper flower petals. The fan flicked closed, and the tour took off. After Tokyo, California was the second hit on the map. Sun-fried fans shuffled into the House of Blues in Anaheim, California on May 14th, and as the last concert-goers went through the doors it was official; the concert had sold out. The first San Francisco concert had already sold out when the tickets were available, and another second date at the same venue had been crammed in for the next night. This was not an uncommon occurrence as a large portion of the live shows continued to sell out, including Sweden and Finland, where tickets were snatched up within thirty minutes.
South America’s Chile had a monumental concert on May 21st with the samurai guitarist and his crew of mismatched talent when Miyavi was the first Japanese rock artist to perform in the country. As expected, two thousand tickets sold faster than in Finland and Sweden. Making his way through Europe, Miyavi made a brief stop at the Japan Expo 2008, in Paris, France. Not only taking time to strut across the catwalk in leopard print, he also gave the 10,000 onlookers a private concert. The following day on July 6th, in the same city of Paris, Miyavi appeared at his last live show in the European segment of his world tour.
Trekking across land and ocean, and from America to Europe – the tour slowly began to dwindle down as Miyavi approached Asia. The sweltering heat of July in Shanghai, China was nearly unbearable, but for Miyavi, the crowd was even hotter. Their support shook up the venue like an earthquake, encouraging him forward through the night. A contrast from warm to a breezy cool would be felt when Miyavi returned to China at the start of autumn for the final live show on the world tour. As the concert approached the encore, memories of the summer flashed through Miyavi’s mind, and falling to his knees he broke down crying. Hands reached out, and the audience cried with him. After that heartwarming evening in September, Miyavi would proceed home to the land of the rising sun, and the tour would officially come to an end.
Speaking over ten languages while onstage, leaping on top of his fans in the crowd, handing out high-fives and taking moments to cherish the fan projects tossed in front of him; Miyavi spent just as much time performing, as he did connecting with his fans. Ending more than one concert with “I love you, more than you know”, Miyavi’s support for his fans was just as strong as their support for him. At 48,385 miles traveled – nearly the exact distance of the circumference of the earth at roundtrip – this was a literal world tour.
At the heels of the groundbreaking tour, a surprise mini album was released. “AZN PRIDE-THIS IZ THE JAPANESE KABUKI ROCK-” was not only compiled of songs off Miyavi’s recent album and a few select older ones, such as “Kimi ni Negai wo”, but was also wedged in with two new tracks. The lucky Japanese fans received something grand when the Japanese version was exposed less than a week and a half following the tail end of Miyavi’s compelling world adventure. While still including the two fresh compositions, “As U R -Kimi wa Kimi no Mama de-” and “Wake up Honey”, it also contained a special, yet choppily made DVD with footage from the North and South America leg of the tour.
A few months later, and exactly one year after Miyavi made his shocking announcement at the C.C. Lemon Hall live in 2007, two things happened on Christmas Eve of 2008. “[Room no. 382]” came out, which was the much anticipated remix album featuring a diversity of songs from Miyavi’s career. The album was mixed by the exceptionally talented skills of the young Teddy Loid, who accompanied Miyavi on his first world tour as his DJ. While following closely along on the same day, also came the initially unplanned world tour DVD: “THIS IZ THE ORIGINAL SAMURAI STYLE”. Miyavi made an apologetic comment at the hasty cut-and-paste appearance of the DVD, claiming there were no actual set plans for a tour DVD and that it was not filmed with that in mind. It still became an instant success amongst concert attendees hoping to see their lucky face squished into the crowds. Overseas fans gobbled up the DVD in a fevered daze.
The snow got deeper, and the days became longer as the start of a new year grew closer. A long winding road laid out behind, and reaching ten years of struggle and triumph, President Tomomi Ozaki of PS Company could look back on the path walked, with pride. A ten year anniversary live was to be scheduled – the “PS Company 10th Anniversary Peace & Smile Carnival”, which would involve all artists under the management of Ms. Ozaki. Being a PS Company artist, Miyavi would be expected to appear at the festival celebration planned for January 3rd of 2009. His fellow artists under PSC followed example, and the collaborated event sold all 13,000 seats within hours of the tickets reaching the public for sale. Molting his look of rainbow hair extensions and sideways caps for a more conservative hairstyle, Miyavi still kept his signature colorful palette of clothing during his set list; but it was definitely not the previous look he sported throughout the world tour and his recent “Kabuki rock” era. This short concert appeared to be a prelude of what was to come, which was only emphasized when Miyavi had announced his future – “NEO TOKYO SAMURAI BLACK”, which would be exposed at his live in April of the new year. It was obvious Miyavi’s musical ideas were once again beginning to go through a metamorphosis. With unclipped wings, Miyavi’s career soared forward into 2009.
Check out Part Two of Miyavi’s bio udpate.