Noughties hitmaker Hitomi Yaida let her heart lead the way on latest release
12:33 JST, October 20, 2022
Hitomi Yaida’s new album “Alright” on Nippon Columbia hit store shelves last month, marking yet another bold release from an artist who burst onto the scene in the early noughties.
Bolstered by a band of experienced musicians, the singer-songwriter’s latest offering is a refreshingly characteristic collection of sublime pop.
“The album was crafted carefully and without stress over two years,” Yaida told The Yomiuri Shimbun in a recent interview. “I feel a huge sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.”
Yaida said she tackled the production process by nurturing things that emerged naturally from within herself.
“It was an instinctive way of working,” she said. “Thinking back, since my debut, I’ve probably never had an opportunity to work this way because of things like deadlines.”
At times, Yaida confessed, she felt something was holding her back, and she wondered what words would be appropriate to unleash into the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I just had to write honestly. I realized that was the only way to move forward,” she said.
One of the songs on her latest album has the whimsical title “Sarari-sara.” The phrase, which is interspersed throughout the lyrics, popped into her head out of the blue, along with the melody.
“When people are in a rut, beautiful words can help,” she said. “The song has a soothing sound that can spark positivity. I hope it lifts people’s spirits.”
It does indeed have a mellow sound that is rounded out by Yaida’s delicate vocals.
Yaida said the melody for “Komazawa Park” came to her when she visited the Tokyo park of the same name with her family over the New Year holiday period in 2020 when a kite-flying event was being held. It was a scene filled with children playing boisterously, and adults hanging out together, Yaida recalled.
“Komazawa Park” has an explosive chorus that sounds as if the song is about takeoff and, Yaida explained, is meant to evoke an image of children spreading their wings into the future.
A lyric that appears in the song is “Mom, I wonder why there are wars,” which is followed by the line, “Even though suffering exists, I still want you to choose to love someone.”
The lyrics are based on an actual conversation Yaida had with her daughter.
“I don’t want my answers to be accepted without question,” she said. “The possibilities for children are endless. I just pray they can realize their potential.”
Yaida’s musical career kicked off in 2000 with the hit single, “My Sweet Darlin’.”
“I was able to debut rather quickly with just my guitar … without really knowing much about anything. It was as if I was just focusing on meeting deadlines,” she said.
The challenge of creating songs and struggles with technology weighed heavily on her, but as she grew older and gained experience, she gradually found her groove.
“When my music career started, I thought that if I released three albums, I’d be able to achieve pretty much everything I wanted to do,” she said coyly. “Now I want to keep going until I’m a grandmother.”
Hitomi Yaida will be performing at Mielparque Hall in Osaka City on Saturday. Visit yaiko.jp for more details (Japanese only).
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