Shihori returns to self-compassion, a theme dear to her, central to her artistic production and to her personal ethos
That of the New York-based singer-songwriter is a missive for a society gripped by a global pandemic, environmental crises, racism, and economic difficulties
After releasing two singles in two months, in August and September, Shihori released her new single “I Cover You”, out on October 23rd on all major digital platforms.
Born with left ear deafness, suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, and a form of dwarfism, Shihori is an artist who transformed what others considered defects into precious gifts.
Many could have said the odds were against her. But it was her particular combination of differences that helped her create her music, sprouting it from what Shihori refers to as her “half-silent world.”
The result is an orchestration of uniqueness, which for concentration, pitch perfection, and musical timbre amazes with elegant artistic beauty.
“I lived in my own imaginary world,” says Shihori, “I didn’t hear anything, I just created. I had no friends, but I didn’t even notice. People thought I was ignoring them many times but I just didn’t hear them, especially from my left side, and my right ear was for my imagination…everything sounds like music to me.”
Shihori starts singing and her voice petrifies us instantly. In the blink of an eye, everything disappears in the room, as her touch changes the ceiling, walls, and all the environment, projecting us into an enveloping listening experience.
But the livery of this candid wren further amazes for the tangible and pragmatic vibrancy with which she caresses and scarifies.
And while she makes to vibrate and resonate her vein brimmed with romance, with a minimal finger snap she spreads a magical sparkle all around, makes you leave the nest, to fly away towards the second star on the right, and then straight to the morning, on the route of a kind of new Neverland.
As Shihori explains, despite being largely quiet and being in her own creative world, Shihori discovered her musical gift early on.
“When I was seven, I found people stopped like stones and stared at me when I sang. That was the first time I really recognized other people around me and it was quite shocking to me. That interaction still happens between myself and my audience every time I sing.”
Despite Shihori being comfortable with her conditions, she still faced struggles being accepted. Moreover, her parents elected to have her subjected to invasive treatments for her dwarfism and her ear’s appearance.
“I had to have plastic surgeries to make my left ear look ‘normal’ when I was nine and ten, although it didn’t turn out to be a success…but that was a big surgery (to go through) as well,” she said of her ear condition.
“For the dwarf syndrome, I took growth hormone shots every day for seven years when I was a child and that treatment did work. I knew my parents really worried about me and they did everything out of love, so I have appreciated it but (with so much emphasis on my perceived flaws) I found much later that I was also hurt deep inside. It turned into an eternal sorrow. I thought, ‘Why do I have to change my shape to be the same as everyone else? What’s wrong with looking different from others? I am not miserable!! I like how I was born!'”
Shihori also had trouble in school and the strict Japanese society around her. A society whose conventions induce people to conform and to be almost all the same.
“I wasn’t allowed to just be myself,” she remembers. “Japanese culture forces you to be the same as everyone else, so I was bullied…because I was very different from other kids. Through those experiences, ‘love who you are’ became the core message of my music…and now I think America needs this message too. What does it matter if your skin color is white or black? What matters more is what your SOUL looks like.“
That restrictive culture with producers and management companies even led to domestic abuse and kidnapping for Shihori. “It was very difficult to become successful as a singer in Japan not just because of my physical differences but also because of my character. In Japan, people like more ‘cute’ and ‘meek’ type of personality and appearance in female music artists. Producers told me to act ‘not as strong’ or ‘look cuter.”
Luckily Shihori’s strong and resilient nature helped her rise above all these harassments (even calling them such seems an understatement), to blossom despite the criticism, and to follow her dream to become a professional musician.
Dozens of her songs have made it into the hit chart, and for 11 of them, she has received Gold Disc Certification, having sold more than 1 million CDs total.
She has written songs for some of the most famous Japanese contemporary artists, such as Nana Mizuki and Momoiro Clover Z, and she has collaborated as a lyricist with worldwide famous music creators, such as Kohei Tanaka (composer of world-famous anime series “ONE PIECE”) and Yoko Kanno (music producer, composer of “Ghost in the Shell”).
The list could go on and on. We are quite certain that we have given you a fairly detailed picture of the depth and uniqueness of this artist.
We are quite certain that we have given you a fairly detailed picture of the depth and uniqueness of this artist. So, having come to the conclusion, there are two questions.
Can you see the spark? Can you feel the magic? We are already in love with Shihori’s elegance, strength, eager to be able to absorb every single grain of artistic and human beauty that she is capable of sprinkling.
The route is plotted: second star on the right, and then straight towards the morning, pointing to a new Neverland. We are already flying on the wings of Shihori’s music. And you?
Listen now to "I Cover You," the latest Single by Shihori, available in streaming on all major digital platforms. You can find your favorite one via ---
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