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3 Western Singers Succeeding in Japan

posted on 2010-07-16 17:33 EDT by Gia Manry
Beckii, Becca, HIMEKA aim for otaku with anime themes, dancing

In recent years, three young western women, all fans of Japanese culture, have accomplished an unusual feat: they have debuted as singers in Japan and garnered followings, in part due to their own fandom. All three debuted within a year of one another (Fall 2008 to Fall 2009), and two of them have performed anime theme songs as well.

Beckii Cruel

  • Real name: Rebecca Flint
  • Origin: Isle of Man
  • Date of birth: June 5, 1995
  • Occupation: Dancer, Singer
  • Official Blog (Japanese)
Background: Beckii was introduced to manga at age 11 with Fruits Basket and in November 2008, she posted a video of herself performing the "Danjo Dance," a popular meme at the time. The video was reproduced on Japan's Nico Nico Douga, where 13-year-old Beckii quickly gained a following as a dancer. After going through vocal training, she launched two indie CDs under her own label, Life Is So Cruel Ltd., as well as an idol DVD titled This Is Beckii Cruel. In October 2009, Beckii launched a girl group called Cruel Angels with "Sarah Cruel" from Lyons, France, and "Gemma Cruel" from Portsmouth, England. They signed with Tokuma Japan Communications and released their first single "Tsubasa wo Kudasai" on February 10, 2010. Beckii has also performed in commercials for Lotte Fit's, a gum brand.

Becca

  • Real name: Rebecca Emily Hollcraft
  • Origin: Portland, OR
  • Date of birth: May 9, 1989
  • Occupation: Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
  • Official Website (English)
Background: Born in Portland, Oregon, Becca began writing songs at a young age, and started to play the guitar at age 10. At 13, Becca performed on tape for a choir event. The tape eventually found its way to singer/producer Meredith Brooks, who signed Becca to Sony Music. Becca then signed an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment International, and her single "I'm Alive!" was used as the ending theme for the 2008 anime Kuroshitsuji. Prior to her record deal, Becca was interested in Japanese culture prior to her record deal, particularly in Japanese fashion, and before her debut she made sure to read the most popular manga at that time (she has mentioned Death Note and Fruits Basket specifically in an interview). Becca is currently performing throughout the United States as part of the Warped Tour.

HIMEKA

  • Real name: Catherine St-Onge
  • Origin: Quebec, Canada
  • Date of birth: July 20, 1981
  • Occupation: Singer
  • Official Website (Japanese)
Background: Hooked into anime by Sailor Moon at age 15, St-Onge moved to Japan in 2008 to pursue a career in singing. That career was jump-started by St-Onge's success at the second annual Anison Grand Prix hosted by Sony-owned Aniplex, which won her the chance to debut professionally in Japan with Sony Music Japan International. Her first single, "Asu e no Kizuna", was used as the opening theme for the anime adaptation of PlayStation 3 game Valkyria Chronicles. Since then, she has performed themes for the anime series Tegami Bachi and Senkō no Night Raid, and on March 3, 2010, she released her first full album, Love Anison: Utattemita. On July 14, 2010, she released her first self-written single, "La la la, Sekai o Hitotsuni," which will be used as a support song for the World Cosplay Summit 2010 in Nagoya.

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