Yesterday while going through some forgotten bins in my closet I came across some new release sheets and articles that I'd kept from my previous job when I was employed with the ordering for J-Pop at a record store here in Hawaii and I had forgotten all about it. I created a mess on my floor as I picked out a few articles from the stack which is about a foot tall! 😛
Some of these date back to the late to mid nineties and include new release clippings and posters and I even found a couple of shelf displays one of which is from Dreams Come True for their single "Marry Me?"
In the front is a little door that you lift to put the product inside for display…I actually own this very single too along with quite a number of their albums but as far as a post on Dreams Come True….that'd have to wait for another day! 🙂 I'll just say for now that Miwa's one of the most awesome and gifted singers in the world!!!
Getting back on track with this post….I found this long forgotten new release sheet for Olivia's second solo single "re-ACT" while going through the stack and I just wanted to share some of her early releases here with everyone.
Olivia originally burst onto the music scene as she debuted with the girl trio D&D in the mid 90's but their brand of dance/pop wouldn't fit Olivia's personal taste in music for long and she would go onto embark as a solo artist after just a few releases by the group which included an album and a few single releases.
D&D's sound was one of pure dance/pop and here are a couple of songs by them including an album track and a b-side which I always thought had a cute hook to it! Even as far back as then, Olivia's vocals really stood out in that early Amuro Namie w/ Super Monkeys kind of way and soon she'd have her chance to shine in a solo capacity.
"LOVE IS A MELODY" is the title track from their full length album which utilizes both Japanese and English lyrics throughout its composition. High energy dance ♥!
"BE MY LOVER" is entirely written in English but many of D&D's other songs offer a mixture of both Japanese and English lyrics which was possibly more to cater towards Olivia at the time. This song actually reminds me of mid 90's European pop.
A co-worker at the time when I was employed at the record store actually was Olivia's neighbor for awhile and this came up when she saw one of her singles which I had ordered for the J-Pop section….she was like…'I know who this is!' ^-^. My co-worker was living in Okinawa if I remember correctly as her father was in the military and she had some amusing stories about Olivia including how she had her walls covered and would allow her friends to scribble and draw all over them! ^-^
My tiny D&D "collection" is comprised of just a single album and single release.
Olivia would later debut with her first solo effort "I.L.Y.~Yokubou~" (" I Love You~Desire~").
After hearing D&D my reaction to her first single was quite a surprise!! She had gone from cute high energy pop to a sound deeply rooted in rock. The result…..amazing and the birth of an artist in its early stages had just begun…
"I.L.Y.~Yokubou~" remains as one of the most impressive debuts that I've heard from a solo artist and perhaps even more dramatic as I was quite ill prepared for such a transformation coming from her earlier releases within a pop trio. Following are a few pvs which I've uploaded from her pv DVD collection "Video clips OLIVIA" (CTBR-92019):
This song has a seductive quality to it while still keeping its edge in place and this was just a prelude to what was heading our way from this very talented artist as she would take hold of the reigns herself just shortly after.
Olivia' 3rd single "Dear Angel" would mark the first musical input from her as she impressively wrote all of the music and also had a hand in the musical arrangement as well. Something really rare for an artist at this early stage of their career!
The first press edition of "Dear Angel" also included a trading card (pictured above).
The moody and dark roots of Olivia's songwriting were just starting to blossom here and take special note of her extraordinary vocal prowess!!!!….just prior to the chorus she is simply incredible!!!! Olivia's vocals possess an ambiance of powerful control and range and as her releases progressed so did she vocally. She is simply amazing!
Early production of Olivia's pvs as well as single release covers favored a bit of a commercialized glamor to them, something that could be easily and quickly dispelled once one listened to her actual songs…for the artist within was just getting started.
Olivia' 4th single "Dress me Up" would provide the groundwork for what was to be expected from her here on….dark, moody, and honest, some of just the few emotions that her music would engage with the listener head on from this point. "Dress me Up" features 3 songs, all bearing her talents as music writer and arranger with the track "So Beautiful" giving her the trifecta as an artist as she exclusively wrote the song's music along with co-written lyrics and co-production. Also notable is her change in appearance which seems to favor a much more personal aura of herself rather than a possibly "overproduced" one instead.
I just absolutely love this pv for "Dress me Up" as the blossoming of an artist is truly revealed…not just musically but also in the sense of appearance as well.
"Dekinai" now has Olivia in full control of her musical output as she's involved in the songwriting, lyrics, and arrangement for all 3 tracks with notable exclusive credits in some aspects. "Dekinai" is one of my most favorite early releases by Olivia as the title track rages in emotion and power throughout its entire arrangement and the word "edge" is given its due to the full extent here. Before closing out this post I would just like to re-emphasize how naturally vocally talented Olivia is and when coupled with her musical writing abilities the end result is one of extreme awe….and I truly hold a higher appreciation of what she's been able to accomplish so early in her career…it's just really impressive when you consider all aspects of her direct input.
And while my recent buying habits have been overshadowed by other artists/groups since as my Olivia collection includes 1 album, 7 singles, and a pv DVD collection, I hope that some will find the inspiration to join the Olivia fandom as it's a path well worth the journey. ^-^
Visually stimulating and radiant….here is the pv for "Dekinai"…
Keep in mind that these are only her early works as Olivia has remained active in the music industry since and has even been a part of the anime series for beloved "Nana" two years ago.
Here's a link to Olivia's catalog available for order at Cdjapan although some of her releases are now out of print.