Saturday, November 14, 2009

Legendary Voices: 10) Maki Nomiya

Vocalist Maki Nomiya is best know for her work with the Pizzicato Five, the leading band of Japan’s Shibuya-kei scene. Shibuya-kei (literally Shibuya style) was a indy genre based on eclectic sounds and kitschy-cool aesthetics. Bands drew heavily on influences ranging from bossa-nova to electro-pop.

Nomiya, who had already released her own solo album, joined the Pizzicato Five in 1990. In the mid 90’s when other members left the group, Nomiya and lead musician Yasuharu Konishi continued on as a duo, achieving widespread success in Japan and overseas. The group’s first two American releases sold 100,000 copies each, making them one of the most widely known Japanese acts in the States. The group disbanded in 2001 with both musicians returning to their solo careers.

Nomiya is also known for her high sense of fashion and beautiful model-like physique. Ex-Billboard journalist Steve McClure writes, “Her stock-in-trade is adopting various retro personae with a studied, ironic cool. Sometimes she looks like she’s just stepped out of a 1960’s French spy movie, other times she wears outrageous get-ups that suggest a hostess in some intergalactic cocktail lounge.”

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