Discovering Takekawa Ai

Takekawa Ai is something of a rising star in Japan. She is a singer-songwriter who has been honing her skills with, not only singing and songwriting, but piano and guitar, from a young age and is now proficient in all of them.

But at the end of 2009 she got her big break and was signed by Avex with her debut single "I WILL" hitting stores that November to both critical and popular success. Her second single, "Tooi michino sakide", hit stores in March last year, and was featured as the ending theme for the continued anime Inuyasha.

I, however, didn't discover her til later that year. At the end of July, trailers for the movie "Light Novel no Tanoshii Kakikata", starring Sudou Maasa, hit YouTube courtesy of BROSTATV. And it was here revealed by it's presence that Ai's song "Dreamer" would feature as the theme song for the movie, and after several weeks of searching the internet for this artist or this song, I eventually learned that it was sung by Takekawa Ai.

And a quick search on Amazon.jp revealed that "Dreamer" was the title of her new album, to be released in December.

So, come December, I searched all over for it on the usual trackers and sites, but it wasn't available anywhere. I realised that if I wanted the album, I'd have to order it. And I did want it. Mostly for her "involvement" in Maasa's movie, but I also liked what I had heard of it so far, anyway. So I bought it.

It arrived late thanks to the Christmas frenzy, but when it did finally arrive I loved it. I can't say I've ever listened to another album so compulsively for so long after it's release.

In fact, in little more than a month, she has probably shot up from an artist I only knew by name to one of my favourites. I think only Berryz has any ground over her at the moment. Of course, I don't expect that to change any time soon. Berryz are my favourites and have been for over 3 years now. It'd be very difficult for anything to seize their position, and I'd be distraught if anything did. Especially if it were a non-Idol that did it. But she has risen from that, and elevated herself, by little more than musical talent, above the mental title I had appropriated her in my head of "person who sings the theme from Maasa's movie", to "awesome artist".

That's an incredible achievement. I'm usually pretty wary of anything outside my established area, and the only other Avex artists I've ever felt that I could be a fan of was SweetS. I never did trust Avex or their shameless pursual of profit. But I can honestly say that Takekawa Ai is an Avex star which I will watch rising with great interest. I imagine "Dreamer" won't be the last CD I buy of hers.


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