Budokan, May 2016…
After a little under five years of performing with Hello! Project idol groups S/Mileage and Angerme (the group S/Mileage became in 2014, after taking on their 3rd generation of members) a smiling, tearful but ever dignified Meimi Tamura takes her final bow at her graduation live, closes that chapter of her career and bids farewell to the gathered fans and her fellow group members, who would continue as Angerme and are still active today.
The following two years have seen Meimi transform herself, growing beyond her idol style and into a very adept and multi-talented performer, turning her hand to, amongst other things, musical theatre. She was cast as the late Minako Honda in the stage musical biopic minako – Taiyou ni Natta Utahime (minako -太陽になった歌姫-) which was performed over 5 days from 17 May to 21 May 2017, depicting the life of the singer and musical actress who sadly passed away from leukaemia in 2005.
Later that year she featured on the Chikyu no Otoko ni Akita Tokoro yo – Aku Yu Respect Album, a tribute album marking the 10th anniversary of the death of the notable lyricist Aku Yu, Meimi was chosen to perform the 1975 song Romance which was originally performed by Iwasaki Hiromi. The album was released in November 2017.
In response to requests from fans, it was decided in April this year that her rendition of the song Romance would be released digitally as a single, this was followed in May by her first solo one-man concert in Shibuya. At the end of this concert, there was an announcement that she would release her debut solo single this year via Victor Entertainment, the announcement surprised everyone – including Meimi, who had in fact been expecting to see on the screen an announcement for her next solo concert.
Now the anticipation is mounting for the impending release of her single, Kagayaite - My dream goes on – (輝いて ～My dream goes on～), which will receive a digital release on 22 August – also available outside Japan – with a physical CD release expected on 26 September.
There is the question of what to expect from the single. Her time with S/Mileage and Angerme showed that she is a capable singer with a good vocal range and a powerful and distinctive voice. The release of Romance was breathtaking; it showed just how much she has matured as a singer in the last 2 years. So will the upcoming release be idol style music? Perhaps a more well-rounded and mature performance? Or maybe even a combination of the two. No matter what style the new single will be performed in, her fans will be expecting something special. For now, though they will have to remain patient and wait for the release. Then they will be able to see on what path Meimi’s solo career will start.
The physical release of the single will feature 3 versions: Limited Edition Type A featuring a bonus DVD of her solo performance at Shibuya duo MUSIC EXCHANGE. Limited Edition Type B featuring a photo book comprised of images taken around the world and an interview with Meimi. And a Regular Edition that comes with additional bonus track Lovin’ You.
But the solo debut does not mean that Meimi has put her musical theatre days behind her. From 25 August until 9 September, in Osaka and Tokyo, she will appear in the musical Marigold and later this year is set to star in another production also.