New Singer Hato Harada Performs in Ginza with His Band “Grandchildren and Grandpa”
Harada Namihito (20), a major newcomer to the enka/uta world at the young age of 19, made his debut in January this year with “Eien no 1shin” (Eternal One Second), and released his second single “Fake Barbie” in May.
On September 21, he simultaneously released his third single, “Fake lips: Last Love,” and his first album, “Good Time Music,” in what is said to be a CD recession. The fact that she released four albums at the same time shows the high expectations for her debut year.
At the age of 14, she participated in “Nodo Jiman” and sang Yoko Nagayama’s “Cicada Higurashi” and won the championship in Wakayama, her hometown. The following year, she participated in the “Grand Champion Contest” held at NHK Hall, and her talent was well known in the singing world.
However, it was not all smooth sailing up to his debut. Harada recalls those days.
“Thanks to my participation in ‘Nodo Boast,’ I was able to audition for Nippon Crown as a newcomer,” she recalls. But I failed.
It was partly because it coincided with my high school entrance exam, but I didn’t practice that much. So I was even more frustrated and disappointed…”
After that, Harada went to voice training and other courses, and spent a year training herself in the basics of singing. Thanks to her efforts, she won the runner-up prize in the second audition held in 1919, and was given a ticket to debut.
Originally, I was supposed to make my debut in 2009, but it was postponed due to the new coronavirus. This past year was really hard on me mentally.
I felt like I was going to lose my debut, and I wondered what I should set as my goal.
Harada’s attempts to move to Tokyo to make his debut were repeatedly cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. It was his mother who cheered him up.
I think my mother was very anxious when my debut was postponed. But she didn’t show the slightest sign of it, and instead acted cheerful (laughs). (Laughs.) She often asked me to go out and sing karaoke so that I wouldn’t lose my desire to sing.
Harada, who began living alone in Tokyo last October, says that her mother still calls her every day.
He made his debut with the support of his mother, and once a month he takes the stage at MR. oldies, a live house in Ginza, Tokyo. This is a place with a pop atmosphere where enka (traditional Japanese ballads) and songs do not seem to fit.
The producer told me that he was going to have a live band drive with these people once a month here, so I went to hear the band perform. It was my first time to hear the band, and the songs were oldies from the 50s to the 70s.
There were Japanese songs, but there were also many English songs. I was like, “Well, what should I do? (laughs).
As the name of the live music club suggests, Harada was exposed to oldies songs. Mr. Denny, 78, the band’s guitarist and owner of the bar, explains how a newcomer to enka and uta songs was thrown into a place that seemed “out of place.
His producer asked me, “What do you think about making this Ginza live house your hometown? What do you think? We thought that would be interesting, and that’s how it all started.
Denny remembers the first time he and Harada met for a rehearsal.
I remember the first time we rehearsed with Harada, he was so good that I was excited and thought, “This is going to be fun. （I told him that it would be tough to be a singer at a time like this (the COVID-19 crisis). But I understood his determination, and I hope he will make it all the way to Kohaku.
Namikun says he is not good at singing in English, but I think he should sing popular songs as well. I think he is doing his best, including his pronunciation. But I can fix it as much as I want (laughs).
(laughs). Sandy, 78, another supporter of the band, said, “He has an honest personality.
He has a straightforward personality, so it’s easy to pick on him when he MC’s or whatever (laughs). That’s why it’s fun. I hope he will become a singer who can sing a variety of songs, not just ‘Do Enka.
I hope he will become a singer who can sing a variety of songs. Harada continues to perform with the band led by Denny and Sandy.
“A live band is really precious to me, and I enjoy it too much,” he said happily.
I’m having so much fun,” he said.
I was introduced to the world of enka (traditional Japanese ballads) and songs by my grandfather. Since I was a little girl, I used to sing songs like “Azusa No. 2” by Hunter and “Ladybug’s Samba” by Cherish.
I feel like I am destined to be able to sing with Denny and Sandy, who are from the same generation as my grandfather.
When we asked him about his “dream” as a singer, he replied, “Of course, I want to sing at the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen.
Of course, I would like to participate in the NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen. I would like to be a regular participant in the Kohaku Uta Gassen and tour the whole country.
It would be great if I could tour with everyone in the band. This has been my dream since the band started.
Harada spoke passionately. The “Grandchildren and Grandpa” band will challenge the stairway to Kohaku. For a new singer, this live house is surely the most stimulating place to be.
Interview and text： Norifumi Arakida (FRIDAY Digital Entertainment Desk)
Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1975. Worked for an evening newspaper and a women's weekly before assuming his current position. Also appears on TV and radio