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Leah Dizon’s debut

Leah Dizon’s debut

by Rinoa on February 18, 2007 · 47 comments · AddThis

Promo Photo
Promo picture for the single 'Softly'
Artist: Leah Dizon
Product Code: VICL-36202/VIZL-216
Release Date: 2007.02.14
Highest Rank: #5
First Press: CD+DVD
Label: Victor Entertainment

It has been almost six months since the ex-gravure model Erika Sawajiri released her debut single, Taiyou no Uta. This single proved to be a huge hit, which led to the Japanese audience to take her more seriously despite of her bad reputation in the past. Her success led her to get tie-ins with the Meji, Kanebo and Sony Ericsson for their new cell phone product, SE W51S. Her success probably led to encourage another model, Leah Dizon to try her luck in the music industry too.

Leah Dizon is no newcomer to the entertainment industry. Apart from being a singer, Leah is a Japanese tarento and a model, a race queen and a gravure model to be more specific. However Leah is not Japanese. Her ethnicities include Chinese, Filipino and French. She was born in Las Vegas, where she spent most of her childhood. Leah attempted to start a modeling career as an import model in the states, but this did not fare so well.

Thus Leah attempted a different approach. Her modeling career took a sexier direction and Leah became a gravure model. Her photoshoots became more provocative and this approach managed to create a stable fanbase in Asia and USA. It is needless to say that most of her fans were males. Her fans encouraged Leah to start a musical career and she sent a demo tape to Victor Entertainment who was happy to sign a contract with Leah. She moved to Tokyo and released her first photobook in 2006 and a 2007 calendar. In the beginning of 2007 it was announced that her first single would be released.

Leah hasn’t changed much from her gravure days. She is featured in her single covers hugging a huge teddy bear and wearing close to nothing. Despite of the obvious “Buy me I’m hot” message, I have to admit Leah looks gorgeous. However Victor Entertainment was smart enough to promote a more female-friendly image, apart from her sexy image. This trend is similar to Koda Kumi’s dual image marketing scheme by avex. In most of her videos Kumi is sexy, aggressive and wild, but on other videos and magazine photoshoots, Kumi looks like a cute and innocent Barbie doll. Leah Dizon follows this trend, where in her promotional clip and photoshoots she looks demure and cute as a button, to the extent that you find it unbelievable that this girl is actually race queen and some photos of her are quite provocative.

The single came in two formats; a regular edition with a poster and a limited CD+DVD edition. Both had the same image, one of them being simply a cropped version of the other. Also the third track of both versions was different from each other. This single recieved a lot of attention by the Japanese media simply because Leah is a foreigner and everyone knows how the Japanese are fascinated by foreigners. However I doubt many knew that Leah has as much musical talent as Paris Hilton and has had little musical training. Despite the fact that Leah isn’t exactly fluent in Japanese, she still attended various television programs. Leah attended an HMV shopping outlet to promote her single. This single made its debut on Oricon ranking at #7.

 

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1. Softly

I’ve seen weird titles, especially from Ayu, but I must say this title just sounds too weird to me. I imagine this describes the mood of the song and Leah’s vocal style, but still I think this title sounds too generic. Anyhow, the mood of the song is indeed extremely mellow and laid-back. This ballad varies slightly from being slow to having a mid-tempo chorus. The melody is quite pleasant to the ear, especially since the instrumentals used are quite minimal and soothing and thus they do not drown her voice.

Leah’s vocals are pretty enjoyable and they have a unique touch to them. However it is obvious that her vocals are pretty much average and far from being polished. During the chorus and high notes, backing vocalists were included too, probably to disguise the fact that this song would sound pretty flat if we had Leah singing alone.

The promotional video is mostly made of a lot of eyecandy and a low budget. However from my experience in watching promotional clips from Victor Entertainment, this is nothing new. Leah sings during the video, while looking beautiful, emotional and mature but that’s the only highlight of the video. The clip displays a lot of aesthetically pleasing settings. She is featured sitting on a pier at sunrise or sunset, walking on a beach and in an elegant house. Overall it’s a typically average video for a ballad.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

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2. Everything Anything

“Everything Anything” is a mid tempo track with an emotional mood. I also find this song as the proof that Leah sucks badly at high notes. I feel she starts off on a really bad foot with this song. Her vocals sound pretty unnatural and extremely strained at some points. However, as the song proceeds, her low notes are clearly much more better and the backing vocals in the chorus make this sound sound more presentable. I am especially fond of the chorus which is quite catchy and manages to grow onto the listener.

I was horrified at the evident “Engrish” in the chorus, especially since Leah lived most of her life in USA and probably her native tongue in English. The only explanation I can find is that the “Engrish” has a certain appeal and make her sound more “Japanese”.

The promotional video for “Everything Anything” looks like a continuation from where “Softly” left. Leah looks sexier with shorts but still maintains her mature image. She is again featured on a pier and in a gorgeous garden but seems more animated. I am especially fond of the scene where she’s singing next to a waterfall and the final scene, because everything looks so picturesque.

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

3. Fever

“Fever” is a cover from Kylie Minogue’s hit song and album which revived her popularity. I have to say that it was an excellent choice to cover since I think Kylie’s and Leah’s vocals are pretty similar and this song focuses on low notes. Kylie’s version is slightly better than Leah’s version, but nonetheless Leah manages to pull this song off with ease.

However I cannot help but feel slightly disappointed about how average this song sounds. What makes this song pretty much so “average” is the fact that Leah brings nothing new to this song. Most artists try to give a cover a flavour of their own by rearranging the music or singing with different and distinct vocals from the original singer. However Leah’s “Fever” sounds like a Kylie imitation. At least it’s a good imitation.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

Conclusion

This single isn’t bad for a debut single, but it isn’t exactly impressive either. Leah’s vocals are decent at best and the songs are pretty much average in quality. None really do have an amazing composition or an extremely catchy beat. Victor Entertainment isn’t a huge label and so most of their artists are on a low budget, unless they become popular. Leah’s single wasn’t exactly on a high budget either. However their idea of putting two promotional clips and recording four songs shows an effort and producing something more worth it to buy.

In the end I can’t help but wonder why a single with this quality would sell so well on the charts. Probably if it was some random unknown girl making a debut, this single wouldn’t even rank on the top 20’s. Thus I cannot help but feeling that Leah’s single ranked so high because of her racy image. In the recent years, the image being marketed is vital for an artist and the image of being sexy and provocative seems to be hip in Japan. I feel Leah confirms the fact that artists like Kumi garnered their popularity from a specific marketing strategy of being sexy. However it is arguable whether the people are buying their releases because of their actual musical talent or simply because these artists are showing too much flesh.

Since this single was pretty successful, Leah shall probably be releasing more music in the future. However, I can’t help but feel that in the end her sexy image overshadows whatever musical talent she does own. I feel she has potential so I do hope that in the future Leah shall become more mature musically and release excellent releases rather than attracting buyers simply because she’s hot.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

 

CD version
CD version
CD+DVD version
CD+DVD version

CD Tracklist

  1. Softly
  2. Everything Anything
  3. Without Your Love [CD Version Only]
  4. Fever [DVD Version Only]

DVD Tracklist

  1. Softly
  2. Everything Anything

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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About the author

Rinoa enjoys spending her free time writing articles, most particularly reviews, biographies and news articles. Her favourite artist is Ayumi Hamasaki but she enjoys listening to a wide range of musical talents from all over the world.

{ 4 trackbacks }

Leah Dizon sings softly in Japanese - JapanSugoi - Everything Cool about Japan UNITED STATES
February 26, 2007 at 11:32 pm
Pinay Rocks Japan - Leah Dizon » PINOYHACK.COM
April 28, 2007 at 11:09 am
ONLINE REVIEW | JOHNNY360.COM » Blog Archive » Leah Dizon Photos and Video
April 28, 2007 at 11:23 am
[jpop] Softly by Leah Dizon « One percent of Anything
August 20, 2007 at 8:53 am

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

les February 22, 2011 at 4:27 am

I hope Leah is successful in her comeback. She will always be my fave
http://www.japansugoi.com/wordpress/leah-dizon-photos-from-japan-biggest-collection-ever/

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Kimi UNITED STATES January 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm

That girl is such a hoe and untalented all of her live shows she sounded like she had a frog stuck in her throat and she is deifinetley NOT cute and innocent when my friends mentioned her to me i looked her up on the interenet just typed her name and all these nasty pictures came up with HER ! she was basically doing p o r n omg I wanted to puke. Come to find out later on she’d only been in Japan for 2 years before she got knocked up ! come on shes not making a return anytime soon thank god Japan has enough untalented singers who just can simply get into the music industry because of their “looks” its ridiculous . As soon as she found out bout her baby she had a shot gun wedding typical porn star nothing special. Shes defineley not coming back to the spotlight. Japan’s nothing like America and that looked really bad for her image so sayonara

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Fernando INDONESIA February 13, 2009 at 12:21 pm

i think she’s just a normal girl with a beautiful face and sexy body. no more, i think. she just can moving around with move her “nice” body. for her voice, i think she can’t do more. am i true? or wrong? if you don’t trust me, try to look another comments. if you attend with the comments, there are mostly say if “LEAH DIZON IS PRETTY; BEAUTIFUL; SEXY; or another same thing”. so, if the real Leah read this comment, i say to you, “you better be a really model like yumi sugimoto or erika ito. better save your sound to your hobby ;)

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kira November 28, 2008 at 1:42 am

,leahdonna dizon was very pretty girl in earth !!

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Aimi AUSTRALIA November 6, 2008 at 8:23 am

Her singing is..so average…she was included in the kouhaku uta gassen last year…urgh it was totally off >< That kinda throws me..like why should she have the honour of singing in such a great event! Shes only selling in Japan coz of her looks, if she tried singing in America (ok maybe she cant, i mean she wasnt really successful before), id like to see how far she gets. It’s pretty much artificial.
I am a mix too, last yr wen i was in Japan, several people told me i look like Leah and I most certainly do not, wish i did though! I think people over there are just curious about the mix concept…this whole gaijin thing..their media makes Westerners and Japanese like totally different beings..shows that say things like “See this westerner does things like that and does that” WHOOA !! BIG DEAL LOL!
As far as things go, i hope she just sticks to modeling…her being included in all aspects of the Japanese media doesn’t seem quite fair wen there are so many more talented people in Japan.

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Jesus J. Villanueva August 28, 2008 at 6:03 pm

i just wanted to let u know that your song softly really got to me and even thow i dont know what i says its the feelings it made me feel alsoyou are a vary beutiful girl but u seem confused and perhaps sad but i tend to be wrong sometimes so please dont take it the rong way anyways i luv your music your a great singer and most of the time i dont even like music but there is somthing special about u you really put your heart and thoughts into your music im glad i ran into your music video Softly-Leah Dizon i hope u get to read my letter i dont understand your song because its not in english but i really luv it your doing a great job hope u get many awards

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DKO July 30, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Is it just me, or is she is much more photogenic in her topless pics?

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julie UNITED STATES July 16, 2008 at 12:12 pm

i do believe that her vocals are weak; however, she’s just beginning this new thing. Despite the criticism about her “look” i think she has a chance. you can’t help it if you want to start something new in your life. She wants more to her life than just modeling as does everyone else in life. she has potential.

One thing I find so hilarious about this review is that you actually pointed out her ENGRISH. that i don’t understand but i guess it does make her sound more japanese.

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sano AUSTRALIA July 7, 2008 at 10:39 pm

i agree with ‘donn matsuo’ (above).
she wouldn’t last that long in her singing career.
i mean.. why did she even started singing in the first place?

what ever happened to modelling?
and yes, i really think it is really wannabe-ish to start singing without even knowing the meaning to it.

pointless ==

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donn matsuo July 2, 2008 at 12:12 pm

To be honest, her voice is very average, I am a huge fan of ayumi hamasaki and utada hikaru…but she cannot be compared to these seniors.
she is just one of the wannabe’s..duh?…
She is not really good in dancing and singing..she should stick with her modelling career instead….
there is nothing special with her songs..really…it is cathcy…however it is not really appealing..
compared to the compositions of the two singers i have mentioned…
talent wise…she has a potential..but i don’t think she’ll last long in the music industry…compare to utada, ayumi, koda, mika,namie and boa…

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Pat AUSTRALIA January 2, 2008 at 10:23 pm

shes soooo hot and cute, im not really a song critic, so i reckon most of her songs are alrite.

shes also very good at modeling, so i reckon she should continue with both.

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Maiya AUSTRALIA November 8, 2007 at 3:58 am

Wow. Leah’s voice in “Softly”, well, i reckon she’s better off singing in low notes cause the song “Everything Anything” isn’t so good to me.

She’s better off modelling, seeing her being Japanese is just.. a change.

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Rinoa October 9, 2007 at 9:22 am

Leah is still learning Japanese gradually. You can’t expect someone who to learn a language in a span of a few weeks so I don’t see what’s disrespectful here. She now manages to communicate on a basic level but calling her “undedicated” sounds like an ignorant claim to me. Learning certain languages, particularly something as difficult as Japanese is not an overnight task and a lot of foreign artists have taken a long time till they managed to understand and speak clearly.

About her image, maybe you shouldn’t be blaming Leah here. She’s basically a product and pretty much does what her record label instructs her to do. Victor Entertainment probably wants to focus on image and she can’t do much about it.

And yes she hasn’t got a load of talent but then it’s J-Pop we’re talking about where a huge percentage is based on looks. Loads of artists are just pretty faces and nothing else. At least Leah gives in some effort by writing some lyrics and trying to compose some songs. She gives some effort by taking vocal lessons and choreography class. I suppose Leah is not what you’d look for if you want something particularly groundbreaking but she fits fairly well within mainstream J-Pop.

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anon NEW ZEALAND October 9, 2007 at 2:40 am

i think thats its incredibly disrespectful to not learn the language properly, or at least some basic communication skills, before starting a career there.
she is frequently asked to appear on notorious music television shows, and she always has a translator sitting next to her. she expects to be accepted and embraced by the japanese people (which they very kindly have), but she can still barely speak it without pausing and thinking, or without an extremely thick accent. in the end, that just shows how undedicated she is to actually being a part of japan, and that shes more concerned with keeping up her ‘cute’ image and making as much moolah as she can.

i really believe that she is talentless, as well. her singing is almost painful to listen to, especially her live performances when her voice breaks as often as a 15 year old schoolboy, and as for her looks? she has a whole team of professional makeup artists to make her look more japanese, plus she wears circle lenses which are the reason why her eyes are so ‘big’.
she has made it because of professional voice editors, talented song/lyric writers and some eye contacts.
take away all of those, and you should have another trashy cheap race queen.

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engrallan August 15, 2007 at 9:21 pm

I like everything about her (”,). Maybe she’s good in acting career as well, I’ll be looking forward to this…I hope she could be a star of an upcoming hollywood movie, and for sure it will become a big hit here in the philippines.

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YvonneMarie UNITED STATES August 4, 2007 at 3:34 am

I must say.. whoever said that she could be the Christina Augliera of Japan: No. Just no.

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Joshua UNITED STATES August 2, 2007 at 2:04 am

Just to let you all know she’s not japanese. She’s half Filipino, half French

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JOTICE UNITED STATES July 27, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Leah Dizon can be success in Japan because she is the unique idol has such a pretty face which completely mixed Asian and Europe features……. i saw her new MTV tomorrow, i found she is getting to become a ” Japanese style” idol ….

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amor July 7, 2007 at 9:18 am

Leah Dizon is the most beautiful girl i ever see…. she’s like an angel…. and i love her voice too…. leah you’re my dream girl

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mario UNITED KINGDOM July 1, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Leah Dizon is dating a racing driver Khalil Beschir it is serious relation i think

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Nami UNITED STATES May 7, 2007 at 11:29 pm

@ Nene: The motivation is all good and fine, but the Christina Aguilera of Japan? Now that is quite a stretch. Christina is a singer born, and you can tell from the start. Becoming a singer is a career move that Dizon has only recently decided on, and her voice is nowhere near that naturally-gifted level. She’s working, yes, but no one can really recreate talents that one is born with. It’s not her native tongue, but living in a region where everyone speaks only one language ought to exponentially increase one’s ability to pick up said language–it’s been proven. I’m not saying that she’s not trying, but it would have been a lot wiser for her to wait before releasing music. If she had a firmer grasp on Japanese and observed the culture from the sidelines a little longer, she would make a larger impact and probably appeal to a lot more people.

Yumi Matsutoya is not famed for her beauty either, but she’s one of the most successful solo artists of all time in Japan. Like Rinoa said, it’s most likely that Dizon got picked and marketed based on her looks, not her vocal abilities. This could always change, of course, but as long as she remains unskillful in Japanese and her record company continues to promote her looks over her music, she isn’t able to expand and make her music HER OWN, which is very important in the increasingly generic music industry. All the big artists today have their own distinctive styles, and Dizon pretty much regurgitates a lot of the ero-kawaii sound and looks.

Given time, yes, she can do better. However, I still think it will be some time until she’s considered a serious artist in Japan.

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Nene UNITED STATES May 7, 2007 at 3:26 pm

Leah is starting out her music career very well. It’s true that she needs more toning in her voice, but she seems determined. I think Leah is quite perverse in learning Japanese. She’s done a lot since she moved to Japan, which is only like a year ago. I think she’s doing very well in learning the language, especially since its not her native tongue and shes only been there for a short time. I give her a lot of credit for trying to persue a career there as a gaijin. And of course her looks don’t hurt her popularity. I feel like the music industry is not that genuine to begin with. You don’t see really ugly girls with unbelievable voices in the spotlight. It’s just not what there looking for. Many popular female artists today are popular because of their image. Some have outstanding voices and are beautiful too, but its sads to say that sometimes people take into account the artist’s faces first before they hear them sing, and its the faces that get some audiences hooked on this artists. In conclusion, I feel that Leah is in the right industry and that if she works harder she can be like the Christina Aquilera of Japan.

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Rinoa May 5, 2007 at 7:48 am

I think Nami has pointed out a lot of valid points, which I agree with. On many occasions, the popularity of a certain artist is based on their image. I believe Victor cleverly marketed her image to fit within the Japanese standards. She tends to border shy/cute with being sexy. This image manages to attract a wide audience, from what I’ve observed. Leah has already established a semi-modelling career by appearing on several magazines and I have the feeling that this is just the beginning. I imagine that most of her fans purchase her music not because of her musical talents, but more for her image presented.

BoA was more focused on working hard and developing her talents, rather than her image. In fact people were attracted to BoA because of her hard-working results. Leah seems to be more focused on transforming her appearance to be more Japanese-friendly and I am suspecting that the learning process will be a little long.

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Johsen May 4, 2007 at 10:21 pm

Woowww…..Leah is so cute.She is the most beautifull model that I have ever Seen.

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Nami UNITED STATES May 4, 2007 at 1:33 am

The “stick to modeling” comments have a point. That fact that she has more photobooks than she does singles (well, this number is soon to be tied, but not yet) shows how important she stresses her looks. I find her to be produced like Yuna Ito (the melodies) and her voice to be reminiscent of a mesh of other female artists and her image, Koda Kumi-esque. Also, I don’t like the fact that her Japanese is still very very poor. I have nothing against her not being Japanese and I think that’s fine–but at least BoA set aside time first to make sure she had a decent grasp on the language before releasing music. Music wise, Leah has an okay accent, but I think her music would be much more enriched if her speaking level was a little higher.

I think she may have some potential, but right now she just lacks originality. She seems to be eyecandy first and musician second.

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sung AUSTRALIA May 1, 2007 at 7:00 am

Holy crap man she is soo HOT and CUTE! she sound so nice and sweet……deffenently wen she singing!

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Johnny PHILIPPINES April 28, 2007 at 11:07 am

OMG she’s hot!!

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Jacky April 27, 2007 at 5:40 am

The new PV is so much better than Softly. This video really shows her fun side!.

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pedel April 25, 2007 at 3:22 pm

Her new PV is out now.. go check it out.. expected to be release 30th May 2007..
Very cool song.. Nice dance move.. Cool video clips.. Enjoy!!

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josh April 15, 2007 at 9:05 pm

leah is the cutest girl on earth the love her she has the best voice in the world i wish i could met her.

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Michael CANADA March 31, 2007 at 3:37 am

Leah is awesome! I love her soft voice and she ain’t bad on the eyes as well :P I really can’t wait for her next single [koi shiyo] and whenever her debut album shall come out.

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kenji March 14, 2007 at 1:55 am

The first clip was filmed in Sydney, Australia.

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Bine GERMANY March 5, 2007 at 7:57 am

She’s soooooooooo cute!!!

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RuiXiong March 4, 2007 at 11:53 am

I think Leah’s better than Erika Sawajiri in terms of vocals. Her songs aren’t that bad, but yup, they’re generic. She has the potential to be polished and to become a better singer. Not as bad as I expected it to be, but the cover and the seemingly mature image she portrays in her PVs don’t tally. Maybe it’s just a bid by Victor Entertainment for people to buy the single just because she’s looking hot there.

As soon as Softly ends and Everything Anything begins, yup, her voice really starts to sound weird and forced. Not to mention her verses. Still, I’ll have to say it’s good for a debut single. Average, could be better.

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KusMoG UNITED STATES March 3, 2007 at 9:11 pm

I agree with Reiko’s comment. Also saying she’s cute and should just stick to modeling is like saying, hey the guys in SMAP are better in acting… they just just break up and stick to acting. And yes I’m implying SMAP doesn’t sing *that* well. You’ve heard their live performances at the end of SMASMA. I always try to hold my laughter in when Nakai-kun tries to hit the high notes… poor guy though. He’s a cool tv host.

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Robert February 25, 2007 at 11:43 am

I wish Leah well. She’s worked hard on her Japanese (not easy for any gaijin) to get a shot at success in Japan. She does well as a gravure idol but also see how many gravure idols have tried to break into the music biz. At least she’s got that mixed look which might help.

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Reiko February 23, 2007 at 7:23 am

I guess I’m not so particular about the singing techniques whatsoever. I like this single. I think the songs are nice. And Leah Dizon is very pretty. For someone who doesn’t have musical training, I think it’s ok if there’s flaws. After all, it’s her first single. I wouldn’t mind if she keep singing as a side career. I think it’s possible if the right songs are chosen.

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Kikaru UNITED STATES February 23, 2007 at 12:32 am

To be honest, she should probably just stick to modeling. Her voice is average at best.

Her voice, maybe with a lot of vocal lessons, could improve. But they’re really weak, and she should stick with lower notes, and she sounds like she’s forcing out some of the words, or trying to sound like BoA or something.

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Saya March 27, 2009 at 9:03 pm

You are right when you said that her voice was not good. i agree with you that she could use some voice lessons and she does seem like she is tring to copy Boa.
But it also seems to me like she has alot of fans so our opinions kinda doesnt mater………thanks for agreeing with me…….Saya

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Kyo-chan UNITED STATES February 21, 2007 at 11:29 am

She’s cute, but she should stick with just looking cute. She was out of tune in the 2nd song.

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yukarichan UNITED STATES February 20, 2007 at 9:53 pm

mmm she’s really pretty.
But I [also] think she should stick to modeling. Singing doesn’t seem like her thing. Cause she has the model look in her…ya know??? (:

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Jason February 20, 2007 at 8:03 pm

very nice in-depth review. I agree with all your points too. Her singing is so unnatural to her image(Everything Anything)

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Kat CANADA February 19, 2007 at 8:25 pm

She’s pretty cute but I think she can just stay to modeling. Sound like an other ayumi but… I don’t know there is something about her that doesn’t suit for the music industry. Maybe she can do better next time ^-^

Reply

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