“She is the kind of person who appears like a comet.
Harami-chan. A self-proclaimed pop pianist.
In 2019, she secretly debuted on YouTube, performing mainly J-Pop piano music on street pianos set up at train stations and on street corners, and posted her videos on YouTube, where they quickly gained views and channel subscribers.
In just two years, he has reached an astonishing record of 1.81 million channel subscribers and over 404 million views. On top of that, on January 4 next year, she will hold a solo concert at the Nippon Budokan, an extraordinary accomplishment.
In fact, this magazine Digital interviewed Harami a year and a half ago.
Even at that time, she had 300,000 subscribers to her channel, which was an extraordinary level of popularity for someone in her first year. I interviewed her because of her unique character, musical awesomeness, and the interesting momentum of her surging popularity, and a year and a half later, the number of subscribers had increased a whopping six-fold.
When I asked her about her next goal in the interview at that time, Harami muttered something like this.
When I asked her about her next goal in an interview at the time, she muttered, “People might laugh at me for saying it’s a dream, but I’d like to do a solo live performance at the Budokan someday. ……”
She ended up realizing such an “unbelievable” dream.
This magazine wanted to hear from her how she felt about her dream coming true.
Harami showed up at a music studio in Tokyo.
She was dressed in her usual “Harami-chan” style: blond hair, jeans overalls, cap, and shoulder bag. “Oh, you’re big, aren’t you, Harami-chan?
The cameraman was surprised at how tall she was.
People who only see her in front of a piano on YouTube may think that she must be a petite woman. But in reality, she is actually a tall woman.
We asked her to play the piano for the photo shoot.
The moment she dropped her white fingers on the keys, a sparkling and delicate melody swirled around the wooden studio. Listening to Harami play the piano live is truly beautiful. I could imagine the piano tones dancing around her like something out of a comic book or anime.
I pulled myself together and asked her about her solo concert at the Budokan.
“I was surprised (laughs). I’ve been doing live concerts before. The first time I performed at a very large venue was at Nakano Sunplaza without an audience. After that, we did a nationwide tour, and in July this year, we performed at Pacifico Yokohama. I was asked if I wanted to try the Budokan. “I was a little nervous about it, but then I thought, “Well, what do you think? I was a little worried about it, but I thought it would be a great opportunity, so I decided to give it a try.
I’m in the process of coming up with ideas for the stage right now. The concept is that it will take 947 days to reach the Budokan since I started playing the street piano, so we’re discussing how to make the program and the songs so that we can properly track the activities of those two and a half years.
She has been playing the piano since she was four years old, and entered a music college, but gave up her career as a pianist due to the rigors of the school, and became an ordinary company employee. However, due to her serious nature, she began to work too hard and fell ill.
While he was resting, a friend invited him to play at the street piano in the Shinjuku Metropolitan Government Building. When he uploaded the song he played, “Mae Mae Seyo” by Radwimps, on YouTube, it received 1.77 million views. That’s when he started posting his street piano videos on YouTube. In addition, “Beni” by X JAPAN, which he played at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, also received a buzz of 4 million views. From there, the number of registered users and the number of views steadily increased.
Television also took notice of her character and potential.
Many programs invited her as a guest, and last year, she won the “TEPPEN” (Fuji Television Network) competition to determine the king of special skills in the entertainment industry, and surprisingly won the second round the following year for the second consecutive year. In addition, popular artists such as Kami Hirose and Ai Otsuka all wanted to collaborate with Harami, and they uploaded their collaboration videos to YouTube. They uploaded the collaboration video on YouTube and gained even more fans.
Recently, she collaborated with Kousuke Saito of UNISON SQUARE GARDEN on “Music Station” (TV Asahi), where she was seen happily playing the piano in an ensemble with the band.
The response to “TEPPEN” was amazing. On the day I came on, the number of subscribers to all the channels increased by 30,000 to 40,000 at once, and it seemed to be the top.
However, although the influence of TV is great, the number of subscribers won’t grow unless the videos buzz on a regular basis. There doesn’t seem to be much of an influx from TV. The people who watch TV are completely different from those who watch YouTube. If your video doesn’t resonate with YouTube viewers, it won’t get more views. In fact, when a video gets buzz, the number of subscribers increases.
When I collaborate with other artists, I usually do ballads or slow songs. But for “M-Ste”, I was able to do an unusually intense ensemble of songs. I used to be in a band as a club member when I was a student, and I really like playing together with the drums and bass guitar. In the future, I’d like to do such collaborations and live performances as well.
Fans that transcend generations
Harami-chan’s fans are called “Omai-san. Incidentally, the name Harami comes from the fact that her favorite food is grilled meat, harami. Rice is a perfect match for it. Harami’s supporters are surprisingly diverse.
The common denominator among the audience gathered for the street piano performance was that they were all holding up their smartphones.
“When I see that, I feel like, ‘Oh, they know me. When I see that, I feel that everyone knows me. There are really people of all ages, from little kindergarteners to old men and women. There are also high school girls, elementary school students, housewives, and uncles, so I think we’ve become very broad.
I also do a series of live broadcasts called “Showa no Meikyoku Shibari. There are a lot of songs that I’ve heard of but don’t know how to play on ……. I copy those songs by ear, study the episodes to find out when they were written, who sang them, and so on, and then try to arrange them and offer them on the live broadcast. Then I try to arrange the song and offer it live. The response can be surprising, and the comments can be very lively.
For example, Momoe Yamaguchi’s “Playback Part 2” was a great hit. I also realized that many people support Akina Nakamori and Seiko Matsuda.
What’s interesting is that my daughter, who is in the sixth grade of elementary school, started practicing the Showa-era song “Gaijin” (1979, Saki Kubota) after listening to my performance. It makes me very happy to hear that. If I hadn’t played it, I don’t think she would have even heard of “Gentile. I also heard from a piano teacher, “There’s a girl who wants to play the street piano after watching Harami’s video. …… I’ve felt the influence of Harami-chan on the little ones.
It’s a shame that I can’t go play the street piano these days because of Corona. There are so many street pianos that I have yet to visit. There are many encounters in street piano. And the best thing about it is that it energizes me too. That’s why I can’t wait to start playing street piano.”
Reaching the Budokan together
Harami’s high performance ability is evident from her two consecutive wins in TEPPEN, but that’s not the only thing that makes her amazing. The term “ear-copying” has become a buzzword. It’s a special ability that allows you to listen to a song on your smartphone and play it right away, even if you’ve never played it before.
“This is partly because I have absolute pitch, but there are two types of absolute pitch: those who are born with it and those who acquire it later. I am of the latter type, having acquired it through steady training.
The strange thing is that after hundreds of ear-copies of various songs, I gradually came to understand the “making” of the songs. That’s why, even though it’s called “ear-copying,” I actually cover a large part of it with knowledge. I know most of the theories and rules, especially the chord progressions.
The common sense of “I don’t watch TV, but I usually watch YouTube”, the penetration of SNS where everyone can express their own opinions, and the appearance of Harami-chan on ……. Without any of these factors, this miracle would not have happened. Harami herself says that the miracle of “going from street piano to the Budokan” did not happen by her own power alone.
She says, “I was just a girl who gave up on being a pianist and became a company employee, and by chance I came across street piano and started playing on the street. It was just a girl who gave up on her career as a pianist and found street piano.
I didn’t make any bloody efforts. Rice and the others sympathized with my story, and they were moved to tears by the songs I arranged for them. ……
I really believe that I was able to get there through synergy with everyone around me.
The most uplifting moment for me in this activity is when I can report to my listeners and fans about my happiness. For example, “We’ve got a commercial,” “We’ve got over 300,000 registered users,” “We’re going to have a live concert next time! For example, “We’ve decided on a commercial,” “We have over 300,000 registered users,” or “We’re going to hold a live concert next time! It’s so much fun to share the joy of our activities together in real time, as they grow and grow.
It feels like we all made it to the Budokan side by side, instead of me walking in the lead.
I hope that you will continue to observe this style of activity. And I’d be even happier if you could come to the Budokan to hear us live (laughs).
I’ll be honest and confess. If it weren’t for Harami-chan and the TV show “Sekijam,” I probably wouldn’t have been as interested in J-Pop as I am now. I would like to say thank you again to —-.
Interview and writing： Katsumi Koizumi PHOTO： Yuri Adachi