We are approaching the end of the year where we start to reflect about the events and people who influenced our lives. We might celebrate a new addition to our lives, mourn for a loss, or just go “Eh” as we feel like nothing really stood out. Each one of us ends each year with our own personal style. Crystal Kay is ending this year with a tune that is invigorating and optimistic.
Crystal Kay has been one of my idols since I was introduced to Japanese music about fourteen years ago. My first Crystal Kay song was “Girl’s Night”, a tune with a feel-good, teenage R&B sound that can be found in songs by Destiny’s Child, Christian Milan, and early 2000 R&B artists. I became an even bigger fan as she released two of my favorite Japanese R&B albums: “4 Real” and “Crystal Style”. Every song in her discography clearly displays Crystal’s diverse talent, for instance, the hardcore rap line in n “Bye My Darling!” to a sophistic ballad like “Motherland“.
Why do I like Crystal Kay so much? Besides the fact that we both share the fact that one of our musical inspiration is Janet Jackson, her music is revolutionizing yet remarkable. When Crystal made her musical debut in 1999, R&B and hip-hop music was still in infancy in Japan. Hikaru Utada just introduced the sounds to the Japanese market a year before with the ground-breaking single “Automatic / Time Will Tell”. This made Japanese fans wanting more of this intriguing sound.
Crystal met that demand when she released her first single “Eternal Memories” on July 1, 1999. Most of her earlier works, before the best album “CK5”, were styled similar to American R&B music at the time. Which is great because this helped the Japanese audience to more R&B. However, it wasn’t truly her sound. To be honest, I don’t think Crystal really released anything groundbreaking until her collaborations with m-flo in 2003. However, Crystal has been able to create her own sound over the past couple of years as she is more in control of her music and her image.
What else I love about Crystal Kay is that she is different from many of the mainstream artists out there. Instead of hiding it, she celebrate her diversity openly and inspires others to do the same. Before she made her debut, the public barely saw any half-Japanese artists, models, and entertainers. But it all changed as she seen more and more artists popping up, including Emi Maria who calls Crystal her idol and inspired her to pursue a career in music. Yes, she is Korean. Yes, she is a black American. Yes, she can speak fluent Japanese. Yes, her music influenced by Janet Jackson. That is what makes Crystal AMAZING! And she proudly shows that!
“Nando Demo” might remind you of Crystal’s best selling single “Koi ni Ochitara“. Sure, both songs features up-lifting lyrics, simplicity, and a positive beats. However, what makes “Nando Demo” different from “Koi ni Ochitara” is that it has some sort of a Christmas feel to it. Maybe I am just judging by the prominent use of bells and a bright piano melody featured in cut time. However, Christmas is more about Santa, the winter seasons, and presents. It’s really about being generous, hope, and love. And, “Nando Demo” displays these adjectives pretty well with the lyrics such as the “Nando demo soshite nando demo yume wo egaite wa mata kaki naoshite” during the chorus.
Crystal Kay has has done it again with the splendid “Nando Demo”. You can watch below:
I am realllllllllllllllllllllllllllly excited to see Crystal when she stops in Nagoya for her new album’s promotional mall tour. I will update my blog about the tour after it happens. Stay tuned! 😀
 Crystal Kay – Nando Demo. (n.d.). Retrieved November 7, 2015. <http://www.chachajjang.info/2015/11/nando-demo.html>