Japanese singer marks 30 years in rock with compilation album, concert

Japanese singer marks 30 years in rock with compilation album, concert

Rock singer Mari Hamada marked the 30th anniversary of her career last year and this month released a compilation album of all her singles, titled, appropriately enough, "Complete Single Collection." She will follow the release with an anniversary concert in April.

"I've been groping to find my way [all through my career]; there are no beaten paths and no role models before me," Hamada said.

When she made her debut in 1983, Hamada drew a great many fans with her heavy metal style, which was a rarity for female singers in Japan at the time, and her good looks.

"My sound was hard, but I was promoted commercially like a pop idol singer," she said, recalling the early stages of her career. "I was often regarded as a puppet or sham by hard rock fans."

But her expressive singing that put her vast vocal range to good use ensured that she was soon recognised as a truly talented singer.

She says her appearance "made people take [me] for an aggressive and go-go type" amid the so-called bubble economy culture of the late 1980s, but in reality she is "shy and quiet."

"I felt people misunderstood me or looked at me with a prejudiced eye. So as I've gotten a little older, I feel comfortable and liberated [from these things]," she said.

Her "Complete Single Collection," which comprises four CDs and two DVDs, was released by Victor Entertainment. It contains her first single, "Blue Revolution," from 1985, all the way up to 2008's "Wish."

Hamada says her style has been changing since she began recording in the United States in 1987.

"I had based my music on hard rock until then, but the range [of my music] has grown broader organically, something like pop rock," she said.

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