For me, this began with a piece on TTAC about the decline of CD players in new cars. The thread proved to be a fertile one for practitioners of the “You’ve probably never heard of them” comment, although one such mention did actually arouse a grateful-sounding response:
That made me google [Akina] Nakamori whom I’d never heard of. Watched a YouTube of “Shipwreck” and was astonished to hear a J-pop singer who didn’t sound like one of the Fruity Oaty Bar voices.
This caught my attention, of course, and I immediately dialed over:
“Shipwreck” dates to 1989, by which time Nakamori had been a name brand in the Japanese pop market for seven years. Says Generasia of her:
As a singer Nakamori came to be known for her mature yet rebellious style and powerhouse vocals, but also for her ever changing image both visually and musically as opposed to the conservative J-Pop scene. Nakamori is also known as “the queen of tragedy” because most of her songs have a serious or sad tone unlike the normal happy and carefree sound heard in pop music. She was highly success from her debut to 1989, when she attempted suicide after a failed romance with Kondo Masahiko and due to stress induced by the invasive tabloid media. Even though she has never regained the same success, she has still managed to carry on a steady career.
And at 50, she’s not going away any time soon:
Last summer she cut “Unfixable,” one of her few English-language releases.