Haru Nemuri is trying to do for Japaese pop/rap music what K-Pop did for South Korea with her first major North American tour in support of her new album.
The 27-year-old singer, songwriter and rapper is little known in the United States, but she’s already sold out shows in Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Los Angeles.
She launched her career in Japan in 2018 with her debut album Haru to Shura, released in 2018. She’s been making music steadily ever since.
Her latest album, Shunka Ryougen, is scheduled for release Ap. 22. The album, which contains twenty-one songs, will be available digitally and on vinyl.
Her musical style has been described as mix of influences from J-pop, rap, hard rock, and electronica.
Last year, she released the singles “bang,” “Inori Dake Ga Aru,” “Seventh Heaven,” “Old Fashioned,” and ‘Déconstruction.” All are slated for Shunka Ryougen.
“Bang” and “Old Fashioned” splice Haru’s rapped vocals atop heavy, distorted guitar riffs, while the vocal layering on “Inori Dake Ga Are” gradually becomes more and more disorienting, until Haru is shouting at the top of her lungs and the guitars reach a deafening volume.
The shoegaze and alt-rock-leaning “Seventh Heaven” was written for the film “Colorless,” a 2019 Japanese drama helmed by Takashi Koyama.
“Not many teenagers are inspired equally by American post hardcore icons such as Fugazi and Japanese avant-garde music legend Susumu Hirasawa, but therein lies the magic of Haru Nemuri and the work she has created over the past five years,” according to a release announcing her tour.
Nemuri’s songs mesh “modern urban innocence, constraints and homogeneity, which therefore created a feel of tension and compactness.
Over time, she says her beats and riffs have developed “a feel of more wideness in natural space” that would have been difficult to produce before.
“I am now able to create sounds that are further closer to the ideal,” she adds. “When I have ideas for songs, I am just an intermediary to help bring them to life. I strive to fulfill that role.”
Nemuri has toured Japan and other parts of Asia, and sold out shows in Europe on her first trip there in 2019, even though she sings entirely in Japanese.
She performed at the legendary Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona
In 2020, Nemuri was scheduled to perform at South-by-Southwest, which could have marked her U.S. arrival, but the festival was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Check out her videos below and her tour schedule.
March 4 – Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory – SOLD OUT
March 7 – Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village – SOLD OUT
March 9 – San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge
March 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo – SOLD OUT
March 13 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links