The article from aramatheydidn’t is here. Basically, the assumption is that because of all the fuss regarding her graduation from Momusu (the Budokan, the calendar, etc), she’s probably going to end up being a soloist under the Up Front umbrella. You really thought Tsunku was going to let this little (excuse the unfortunate phrase) cash-cow go that easily? If you need convincing, let’s count the number of solo lines, solo songs, photobooks, photos in general, starring roles in plays and so on and so on…
Oh, wait, you CAN’T because there isn’t a number that the human brain can fathom that is HIGH enough to equal the amount of all those!!!!!
Ok, I’m being a BIT facetious. Still, you can’t deny that they’ve gotten a whole lot of work out of this one. I am just unsure about how a solo career would go for her.
I think there are some common concerns to consider: There haven’t been a whole lot of successful solo artists from H!P; they don’t really know how to promote them; she doesn’t have enough personality on her own to be a soloist; she’d be better off letting go of the idol image to do other things; Are people sick of her voice because it so often dominates even when she’s placed in a group? Without the buffer of the other members, can she really be engaging on a level other than “look how cute she is”?
Make no mistake, I love her voice. She has incredible stage presence. She knows how to get lost in what she’s doing, hence the many performances in which she bursts into tears. She is cute, but I see much natural beauty. I enjoy her odd, shy, personality if only because I identify with her on some level. I think being the leader has brought her out of that shell a little bit.
I just can’t for the life of me picture her as a solo artist. I have no idea what she’d sound like.
I guess that sounds a little nuts. I mean, we’re lucky if we hear anyone OTHER than Riida in most of the recent Momusu catalogue (and at least it distracts us from the angry-squirrel that is Winky’s voice). We all know exactly how she sings.
What I can’t fathom is the way a Takahashi Ai solo album would sound. What genre would it be? Choral music and ballads seem close to her heart, but she can pretty much rock the aggressive dance stuff. If she’s leaving H!P then her album can’t consist of H!P covers, like the Itunes album. So then-?
I would love for her to keep singing, because I really think she enjoys it. For some reason though, I picture her in musicals more than in pop music (unless she is in another group). I would love for her to do lots of stage plays and musicals. Her love of fashion could get her on variety shows or even modelling gigs like Nutjob (I won’t ever like her singing, but I can’t deny that Koharu is at times completely gorgeous). I think her breed of idol works best in a group setting. This is only half because of her personality. It’s also because she’s always, always been in a group setting and that seems to be where she is most comfortable and at her best. I know she’s done solo work, of course, but arguably the most entertaining moments come from her interaction with other idols. On her own, it looks like she doesn’t have much personality, but put her with Niigaki and the weirdo comes out a little bit.
Musicals would keep her in that team atmosphere while relieving her of the ‘leader’ title and the pressure that goes with it. They would showcase her voice and her gut-wrenching, heartfelt acting style in a way that television wouldn’t. Plus she could experience a life outside of a strictly idol career.
And I don’t wish this because I think H!P has been bad for her. Far from it. I guess I’m just curious to see how she’d do, what she’d do, apart from H!P. I don’t think H!P is much of a place for solo artists anyway. I mean, they promoted the hell out of Mano and how well is she doing (I honestly don’t know – anybody know?)? I know their talent levels are -ahem- different, but still can’t picture a solo Takahashi Ai.
Overall, I hope she keeps singing and performing.
Maybe a solo career will surprise me by being totally awesome and suited to her. Just cause I can’t picture it, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the chops. We already know she can pwn the hell out a solo and the photobooks probably won’t stop any time soon. I guess it all depends on what you want from her.
Again, I just hope she keeps singing. An idol who honestly loves to sing always touches my heart (cheesy, but true).