the cloudy dreamer

There really aren't many artists who can get away with tinkering on a toy piano, with a miniature book of "sheet music" to accompany their acoustic performance... (the audio is a little off)

Anyone familiar with the popular Japanese sensation brought by "NANA" (in anime, manga and movies) might know of a certain Olivia.

Japanese-American* singer/songwriter Olivia Lufkin is perhaps now most well-known for her "NANA" theme songs for the animated series "NANA", but she was never a pop-rock artist who know sports an eccentric, quiet pop princess vibe. (When I say "eccentric" I don't mean in Lady GaGa's sense)

(a screen capture from one of OLIVIA's videos. Image via olivialufkinoline.com)

OLIVIA debuted in the 90's in a girl group called D&D, and as with most other Japanese groups at the time, went the safe pop route.

She later broke off on her own and started to experiment in the electronica genre, and spent more time focusing on her artwork. She landed a few hits in the Japanese music indie scene, and she eventually had a cult group of fans that were drawn to her dark lyrics and sounds, paired with her sweet (and at times) cut voice. The first song I had ever heard from OLIVIA was "spider spins", one of her indie hits. I had listened to a few more of her songs here and there but it was not until I heard "solarhalfbreed" that I became more intrigued with OLIVIA--moreover, she was really the only Japanese electronica artist who had some sort of fame at the time.

I became a bigger fan when I got to attend her first American concert 3 years ago, when she was promoting for "NANA". And this helped me to figure out what a large part of her appeal was: she was cute and very shy, but her music, at times, isn't exactly a pocketful of sunshine, especially with an album titled, "Comatose Bunny Butcher":

from the song "Spider Spins"--
Sweet Sweet
To want to suck it out
Sweet Sweet
To want to suck it out
Sweet Sweet
I want to know why the
Spider spins so beautiful

Distorted mysterial resonance
Play games with my butterflies

OLIVIA released her latest single, "Sailing Free" in April of 2009.*

OLIVIA may or not be bound for great things in the near future, she sort of lost me as a fan on her latest musical effort, but I always admire artists for reaching out of their comfort zones and exploring new arenas, no matter the medium.

OLIVIA inspi' REIRA (for NANA)



*Thank you to an anonymous reader for providing more accurate information on OLIVIA! --edited 01/10


Ken said...

Really nice exposé on another artist~

Anonymous said...

Uhm, This needs some corrections.

Olivia is Japanese-american, not norwegian.
And the "Trinka Trinka" mini album was released in september 08, 7 months before Sailing Free, the 3-year hiatus was between "The Lost Lolli" and the NANA-stuff.