alan’s debut

by Rinoa on March 10, 2008 · 11 comments · AddThis

alan
alan on ViVi
Artist: alan
Release Date: 2007.11.21
Product Code: AVCD-31328/9
Genre: Ballad
Label: avex trax
Format: Physical Single

In an industry as dynamic and competitive as the J-Pop industry, every record label must continuously struggle in the endeavor of remaining up-to-date and managing to accommodate every niche and interest group. In some instances this might mean a record label has to be daring and experimental, by picking up new artists which might or might not be a sound investment. Few record labels take this risk, especially with foreign artists. However avex trax seems to be one of those few who are willing to take that risk as long as the artist carries some potential. In the past few months, avex has been introducing several new faces in the J-Pop industry. The Tibetan/Chinese singer alan happens to be one of the newest addition to avex trax.

Alan Dawazhuoma was born in 1987 and grew up in the Meiren valley in the Rongxar county of the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China. Ethnically speaking, alan is of Tibetan descent. Her mother actually was a singer in the past, while her father is a civil servant. alan was always oriented towards music. She started to sing from a very young age and also started to learn how to play the erhu at the tender age of eight. A year later, alan was selected to play the leading role in a television drama titled “Tai Yang Nu Shen”, where she pursued the career of an actress.

Blog
alan on her blog

alan attended a musically oriented high school and later enrolled in one of the most prestigious music schools in China, the China National Chinese Opera and Dance Drama Company. In these years, alan worked hard on pursuing a career as an artist. In 2005, alan made her musical debut with the cover album “Sheng Sheng Zui Ru Lan” under a Chinese indies label. The album has sold approximately over 50,000 copies. In October 2006, alan would participate in the Shanghai International Art Festival, where she managed to win second place at the 9th Asia New Singer Competition. In July 2007 she graduated at the China National Chinese Opera and Dance Drama Company with impressive grades.

alan was scouted by avex while their branch, avex china was holding auditions in Beijing. A few months later avex would schedule her debut single “Ashita e no Sanka”. The single was released on the 21st November. avex promoted this single fairly well for a debut single. alan performed “Ashita e no Sanka” in three variety shows, appeared on several events to promote her single and appeared in a few magazines. This single charted at #64 on its first week on Oricon and has sold around 2,062 copies, which is fairly satisfactory for a debut single and for its’ particularly unusual genre.

 

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Ashita e no Sanka

The title, “Ashita e no Sanka“, roughly translates to “Song Sung for Tomorrow”. The whole creative process of this particular song suggested a high quality track. The lyrics were penned by Nojima Shinji, a famous movie and TV drama scriptwriter in Japan. The composition was the work of Kikuchi Kazuhito, who frequently works with popular artists like Ayumi Hamasaki. To top it all, alan’s Tibetan-style vocals were showcased in their full glory bringing the listener an epic and powerful title track.

One can clearly note how alan sets herself apart from the typical newcomers. Her vocals suggest years of vocal training and practice. Her low-notes are not particularly striking and are fairly soothing. However her high-notes are definitely something unique and unusual and are bound to attract attention in the future. The chorus is particularly powerful, where alan unleashes her so called “wailing” which sounds so haunting. It’s fairly impressive how alan manages to hit those high notes and hold them for so long, while managing to sound like she was in control throughout the whole track. It’s also highly suggested to watch her live performances of this track, since they manage to live up to the studio version.

The instrument choice matches her “mountain-notes”, which are reminiscent of her Tibetan roots and the traditional Chinese folk mountain songs. I was particularly attracted to the traditional arrangement, which takes influence from contemporary enka and Tibetan music. The instrumentals are fairly mellow, as if they are only there to assist alan’s powerful vocals. In fact, at certain instances one can almost feel that alan is drowning out the background music with her high notes. The instrumental choice contains some percussion and string elements, bringing forward a cold and desolate atmosphere, fitting for the winter season.

The music video was offered for complete streaming prior to Alan’s debut at her avex official website. It was shot on a beach at Hokkaido, which was also alan’s first time at the island. The promotional video is highly artistic and makes heavy use of imagery. alan’s face, her outfit and images of nature are frequently utilised. The filming style utilises a variety of filters to reflect the mood of the track and there are also some computer graphics elements inserted to render the scenes more dramatic. The result was quite powerful and aesthetically pleasing. There is also an extra introductory clip from the DVD edition which speaks about earth, referring to her as out mother and our awareness towards taking care of earth. Overall the whole video ties in the concept of safeguarding the planet for future generations.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

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Sakura Modern

“Sakura Modern” retains the Chinese elements, most particularly with the selection of instruments. There is an extensive use of bells and Asian instruments. The elegance brought forward in this mid-tempo ballad is quite pleasing. It’s as if one can materialise a mental image of an oriental scene. The slightly upbeat tone of this track also makes it particularly catchy to listen to. Overall the focus of this track seems to be on the arrangement and composition of this track. alan’s vocals here aren’t as exciting as the title track, but she still manages to bring forward a satisfactory performance and a new element to this single. She uses her vocals differently, fitting in with the mood and tone of the track and having a more assertive tone, as if she is relating a an ancient fairytale.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Conclusion

This single was particularly attractive in the manner that it brought a refreshing breath of air from the typical formulaic J-Pop. alan’s style is particularly appealing since it delves into various unusual genres, which makes her stand out of the rest of the industry. I appreciate her unique, powerful and clear vocals, her ability to manage to hit high ranges and the decision to focus on folklore music, especially since her vocals would be wasted on mainstream pop.

“Ashita e no Sanka” was definitely an excellent debut single and despite the fact that it was not a huge seller, the packaging of this single produced a very high quality release. Overall I was quite impressed with this debut single, which manages to bring so many new elements. Although alan doesn’t seem the kind artist who would make it big in Japan, she is definitely someone that deserves attention and has a lot of potential. I shall be definitely keeping an eye on her releases in the future.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

 

CD Cover
CD Cover

CD+DVD Cover
CD+DVD Cover

Tracklist

  1. Ashita e no Sanka
  2. Sakura Modern
  3. Ashita e no Sanka (Instrumental)
  4. Sakura Modern (Instrumental)

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

Sources

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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.

{ 3 trackbacks }

International Wota » AV Idols Avex Trax » [Blogs] Channel-Ai Profiles alan UNITED STATES
March 11, 2008 at 5:03 pm
Song for Tibet
March 20, 2008 at 11:00 pm
Alan - Song Sung for Tomorrow (Ashita e no Sanka) : Welcome to the Nhatkyviet.com, the place for Asian Entertainment: movie, drama, music, you name it !
March 21, 2008 at 9:34 pm

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

yuki CHINA August 9, 2010 at 2:30 am

Actually, her Japanese is pretty poor….

Reply

kana UNITED STATES October 12, 2008 at 8:46 pm

omg im actually tibetan and ive never thought that a tibetan girl could actually be in the music industry. i now have heard her songs and they are soo good. they remind me of sad songs from Tibet. im also glad she can speack japanese, and chinese so well. >.< i think her music should be known within the tibetan community that way her ratings would go higher, and she would be known more.

Reply

rizal May 8, 2008 at 9:10 am

Hate the song but I do think she does have a good future a head of him.

Reply

jayhan March 31, 2008 at 5:18 am

Ashita e no Sanka definitely stunning. Loves it.

May i ask what’s your opinion on her second single “Hitotsu”? I like it too. This is the single that introduce me to wonderful voice of alan :) .

Reply

mewmew March 22, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I’m a new alan fan. she’s very very veryyyyy good. fans of Mika Nakashima, Hitomi Shimatani, Ayumi Hamasaki, and Utada Hikaru will definitely find her appealing.

Reply

sljinu AUSTRALIA March 14, 2008 at 8:35 am

Woah, nice review again! The first track is actually pretty good…makes a nice change from the usual j-pop. Initially, I felt her voice still felt like a stereotypical asian singers voice however, I was nevertheless attracted to the music. When the chorus came, it indeed was the most unique feature of the song and it suited the song very well. I like this song….a lot.

Thanks for introducing me to another new artist! Definitely will be looking out for more from her.

Reply

sakuraangel CANADA March 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for this review Rinoa! I think if this review had not been posted here I wouldn’t have ever listened to her stuff.

Her music reminds me of Taiwan/Mainland China pop but with Japanese lyrics but it could be because her singing style remind me of Chau Wakin (Emil Chow) and Faye Wong and the music is Chinese influenced.

I like this single though and I hope you will be reviewing her recent single as well in the near future.

Reply

eyn March 10, 2008 at 11:10 pm

The intro of “Ashita e no Sanka” reminds me of those songs coming from Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. As for whole song, it is very well composed and it fits well with her vocal range. I’m really happy to see such a pretty Chinese girl performing such a good song in Japanese, there’s a lot of depth in her songs and they are very unique compared to the regular sugary J-Pop.

I really started to get into alan’s music and I find her more approachable as she can speak mandarin just like me. ;) Thanks for such a great article Rinoa, you’ve gotten me into yet another great artist!

I’m looking forward to see how will alan’s career go from her 2nd single which was released just few days ago! The sales doesn’t seem too good so far, but I guess it is to be expected as her style is very unique and probably doesn’t appeal to the mass yet.

Reply

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