Teen accident turned Miyavi to glam rocker
BY OLIVIA LEE
In Japan, thousands of girls and boys want to look like the country's biggest glam-rock musician, Miyavi, copying his hairstyle (long on top, side cropped, coloured and spiked for effect), his makeup (an Adam Lambert-type "manliner" look), his piercing (ears, lips, nose) and his tattoos (chest, arms, neck).
It's a punkish style that would cause any parent to worry—until they actually meet him. Because if you ran into him—say, at the grocers buying a carton of milk, or at an interview session during a concert tour—he'd look just like another guy trying to look like Miyavi, the character and performer.
Takamasa Ishihara, the 31-year-old who meets us today, has regular long black hair and regular dark sunglasses and a sense of the peculiar as to why people expect him to be on show for 24/7. "Please don't ask me about the colour of my underwear," he begs us with a laugh.
So we go straight into his music.
Miyavi's fans have dubbed him the "Samurai Guitarist" because of his rapid-fire "slapping" style using just his fingers, no pick. It's a title he's grown accustomed to, even though he refers to great American bassists like Larry Graham, Louis Johnson and Marcus Miller as his idols and says he'll "never be satisfied" of what he knows until the day he dies.
As for singing, which he's had to do since pursuing a solo career after his band Due Le Quartz disbanded 10 years ago, he's terribly candid about his attempts which he labels "not good at all". Singing is like "having an interview" he says. "I'm finally getting the hang of it. I'm finally starting to enjoy it."
As a boy, he never thought he'd be a musician or singing—he wanted to play football as a career, until an injury took him out of the game when he was 15. So he picked up the guitar on a whim, and two years later he was known in Due Le Quartz as Miyabi, which he changed to Miyavi for his own career.
Miyavi told Daily Chilli that he's thankful for his teenage accident and that the moment gave him a positive take on life. "Everything is going to be alright. That's how we roll. That's how we live. That's what I learnt from tough times in my life," said the happy rock star.
Miyavi released his seventh studio album What’s My Name? in October 2010. He was recently in KL for a one night only concert, organised by A-Creations, before heading off to Russia and then back to Japan.
Images: Sia Hong Kiau
Published: 31st July 2012