All hail the queen!
Japan’s Queen of Live, Kumi Koda was recently in town for her first ever solo concert in Singapore. Speaking at the press conference the day before her performance, Kumi expressed her delight at finally holding her first solo concert in Singapore. When asked why it took so long for her to hold a solo concert in Singapore, she explained:
“I really wanted to hold a concert here after my first visit in 2011, but then I had my son and so many things kept popping up, so I had to postpone it. During my first visit, I was very impressed by the smiles, food and beautiful skyline that I saw in the city and I really wanted to come back.”
Initially grabbing attention for her sexy, confident look and style, Kumi confides that she wasn’t always the sexy siren the scene has painted her to be.
“I never really felt sexy,” said Kumi, “I have low self-esteem and there are things about myself I am not comfortable about, so I use fashion and other things to cover that up and boost my confidence. As I grow older, I think inner beauty counts more instead of how I look on the outside.”
She also highlighted the importance of appealing to her female fans and remaining a strong female figure that they can look up to by saying, “rather than having gentlemen call me sexy, I would rather be considered a cool figure by my female fans. So I think about how to bring that across through my style, and be seen as a strong, independent female by women, rather than to be seen as sexy, from a guy’s point of view.”
On performing at *SCAPE’s Ground Theater she says, “I look forward to performing in a more intimate setting and being able to connect with my fans.”
Fans might have had to wait for 15 long years, but it was, without a doubt, worth it.
To start of her concert, Kumi blast onto the stage with her energetic hit from 2011, POP DIVA, she quickly qhipped the crowd into an excited frenzy with dance hits like “Mercedes”, “House Party”, “Poppin’love cocktail feat. TEDDA” and “IS THIS TRAP?” Before disappearing off stage for her first (of six) costume change(s) of the night. While fans waited to to see what she had in store next, they were treated to clips of her top hits from the past 15 years – reliving the moments of teenage Kumi’s first song and her maturation into the JPop queen she’s become today.
Returning to grace the stage in a more regal gown, Queen Kumi switched from swag to class to perform powerhouse ballads such as “愛のうた” (Ai no Uta, Love Song), “Sometime Dreams Come True” and her anniversary single “Walk of My Life”.
In the second half of her concert, Kumi invited a fan to share the stage with her. Lucky fan, Natsumi, was seranaded by Kumi with a song of her choice from a special selection that Kumi shared with her.
Close to tears at being so close to her idol, Natsumi chose the song, “Suki de, suki de, suki de”. It was a truly emotional moment to see Kumi holding her fan’s hand and sincerely singing her heart out to her. As an artist, Kumi has always placed great importance on creating special moments for her fans, and for Natsumi, this is sure to be a night she will not forget. Following the heartfelt dedication, Kumi sang “Someday” and “Dance In The Rain”
You better get ready because Kumi’s going to blow you away like a hurricane
Disappearing off stage to get ready for her next segment, Kumi reappeared shortly and performed a new song from her latest album, “Hurricane“. Kumi certainly blew the crowd away with her sharp, well-choreographed dance moves and spot-on singing. Keeping things light and fun, Kumi next sang the R&B/Hip Hop inspired “Like it”. Then, the crowd suddenly came alive!
Upon hearing the familiar song-question, the crowd immediately poured their energy into singing along with the hit that was synonymous with launching Kumi into the JPop limelight. Swinging into a more pop mode, Kumi went on to perform previous hits like “TABOO” and “BE MY BABY ~ LOADED” before ending the concert with the fist-pumping, towel-swinging “LIFE so GOOD”.
Through the encouragement of a rousing call for an encore, Kumi kicked off her next set of fast paced songs with “Cutie Honey” (キューティーハニー), “Lady Go!”, “WIND”, “I’ll be there” and “Butterfly”. During the finale song “LALALALALA” Kumi and her dancers threw brightly coloured plastic balls into the crowd as take away souvenirs.
Kumi also had a special message for fans after her performance. Breaking into tears as she opened her heart to her fans, Kumi said:
This is my 15th year as KODA KUMI. 15 years sound like a really long time, but it feels like I’m suddenly welcoming a turning point, without realizing it. This album entitled “WALK OF MY LIFE”, is actually the main concept of this tour. But because it’s my 15th year, I’ll be singing some of my old songs as well.
What I want to convey through “WALK OF MY LIFE” is “It’s not about what others think, but how you’ve chosen to live.
”In interviews I get asked “How does it feel to be in your 15th year?” a lot, “I’ve always thought that 15 years is simply just a goal, but looking back, I think it’s because I cared what others thought so much, I spent a good amount of time brooding over what was right or wrong, and what I should or should not do.”
But I realize now, to be the KODA KUMI that I am today, was because I held fast to the principle of “It’s not about what others think, but how you’ve chosen to live.”
When I look back I have realized that I have made choices that made me think that I’ve not regretted my life, and that I have done what I have set out to do.
In that sense I think it’s the same for everyone here as well, there will be times when others will disagree with you the same goes for the dreams you may have, some people might say “You’re never going to realize a big dream like that”
I’ve been on the receiving end of those words many times, to the extent that I’ve had times where I actually had thoughts about quitting but I realized there was no need for me to be swayed by another person’s opinion if I felt that it’s the right thing to do.
I feel, to be able to become an artist where I can make someone feel “I’m glad I like Koda Kumi!” It’s that I have to be true to myself and create music that depicts the real me.
I’m sure for everyone here, there are times when you wonder what other people think of you but your life is yours, and I hope you will not be wavered by someone else’s opinion. I hope you’ll be able to have the “WALK OF YOUR LIFE” that truly belongs to you.
Facing everyone here who specially came here I really think I’m so blessed.
When I was singing, I thought about how much I wanted to share this happiness with everyone.
Even at the very least, I hope that when you look back on this day, you will remember that Ku-chan said this, that she sang this song, at a moment in your life you’ll find that Koda Kumi’s song was a part of it.
To be able to create something that would move people has been my ambition, so I hope that I can sing many more songs that may give you encouragement from now on.
When I go back to Japan we’ll be scattered to different places again, but my heart will always be with you.
I’ve had a bit too much to say…
I would like to dedicate this last song to everyone who holds big dreams close to their heart.