A few days ago while browsing sites on the internet going from link to link until I had no idea how I got there I came across these…
…..photos of Suzuki Ami. :O Now granted I haven't seen a photo, video or pretty much anything of her since February 2000 when she released "infinity eighteen vol.1" her then second album, it was really an eye opening moment. I mean seriously when did she grow up and start to look like this?
I originally bought into her career when she first debuted with "love the island" and I think I remember hearing from zdorama that she had some sort of debut event in Guam back then. Suzuki Ami was originally the J-Pop prodigy of accomplished writer/producer/singer Komuro Tetsuya and Kubo Cozy who pretty much envisioned her entire early career from the very start and with her debut single "love the island" released on July 1st, 1998 I hopped aboard for what would be a mixed fanfare experience. Ah 1998….Komuro Tetsuya who had ruled a great deal of the 90's with an iron fist or waffle maker (depending on whom you ask 😛 ) was reaching the latter stages of success. His song writing really had become too generic within itself and it seemed as if finding new ideas and material had run the well dry at that point. Of course he did write and produce more gems here and there but nothing like the streak he had with Globe, Amuro Namie, and TRF (whom I only mildly like…and if I ever hear "Overnight Sensation" even one more time)…………………………………….Grrrrr…
I stuck around for her first two albums and her first nine singles until that fateful night of the Kouhaku: Even as her career was growing steadily I always had this feeling like there was something sinister going on behind the scenes regarding her vocal approach or the ability itself. Was Komuro telling her something like this: "……..Amigo sing that line again for me but this time make it sound almost flat and nearly out of key but keep it close enough to keep em' guessing…" There was always this uneasiness about her singing but it seemed that there were good moments too so I guess Komuro's "plan" worked on me at least. 😛 Now getting back to that fateful night of the Kouhaku. I can't remember when she came on and perhaps it's because I've been trying for years to erase that sound byte memory from myself without luck I may add but heheh one can try! But anyway let's just say it was one of the lowest moments on music television that I've ever encountered….I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide, I reached for the Calgon to take me away but we didn't have any in the house that night to save me so her "performance" went on and it was soooooooooo soooooo sooooooooooo soooooooooooooo bad. It was sad and I really felt badly for her. Now was this the end result of bad song writing + bad vocal coaching? Or was it exactly as it appeared? Bad singing with a bad song. We may never know the truth. :O
So I purchased my first Suzuki Ami single with her debut in July of '98 and my last with her single in December of '99 and her second album in February of 2000. Wiping away that "song" (I can't remember its title or perhaps I don't want to remember its title 😛 ) and that performance, really there are enjoyable songs within Suzuki Ami's early catalog to embrace. But then something odd happened shortly afterwards…she disappeared completely. I mean absolutely disappeared. And it was so odd back then witnessing this as her career had been so widely publicized and so much attention had been drawn to her in countless magazine articles and features, t.v. appearances, etc. At all at once it all became as if it never existed. She fell off the edge of the earth it appeared and contrary to reality maybe it is possible. 😛 Her name perhaps had been written into the "black book" of Japan's entertainment industry. A place where no one will dare touch you or have any dealings with you. And what it takes is one really ill fated movement which brings offense to a subtstantial body in that said entertainment business and wallah!…the earth is now flat and you can fall off of it into nothingness not to be seen in the public eye for any indefinite period of time. Well in truth this is all speculation as I don't really know why she suddenly vanished from the entertainment horizon but it was abrupt and largely unexplained…well at least to me.
For awhile now Suzuki Ami has resurfaced in music and although I haven't paid it any attention this time around I'm imagining if I'm possibly missing out on something special. She's been back for awhile after being away for quite some time so I just don't know what I should expect musically from her. How much has she grown as a vocalist? While I'm curious the memory of fright night at the Red & White remains and it keeps me from seeking anything new from her. Maybe in time I'll find the courage 😛 to click a YouTube clip to see…but in the meantime I'd like to present just a single track….my favorite Suzuki Ami song. I do have a few favorites but this one just stands out for me personally and it really has a personal attachment to speak of so you may not find it spectacular or special in any way but for me I have a fond connection to this particular song for personal reasons that I won't bore you with and go into here. 😛
"Silent Stream" was the b-side of Suzuki Ami's 6th single which was written and produced by the team of Kubo Cozy & Marc.
I find something special in the emotion of this song and particularly in the pre-chorus where Ami's vocals are perfect. And this song caters to her vocal range (at the time) just right! There's a sweet and slightly sad melancoly flavor that I just love about this track and it's difficult to put into words properly so I'll leave it at that. ^-^
Still I do wonder what she sounds like today. Back then at times I felt that the writing didn't play into her vocal strength or range but it's been so many years now and I can't even imagine what she may sound like now. Seasoned? With a larger arsenal?…perhaps, and if curiousity ever gets the better of me one day I just may find myself seeking out that answer. 🙂