Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Indie Music: Shihori "Soul Trip"

by Germar Derron

Earworm: ". . . sticky musicstuck song syndromeor Involuntary Musical Imagery (IMI), is a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing."

"Soul Trip" = instant earworm.

In most reviews at this site, I place myself in the role of A&R, artist manager, producer, or engineer.  Because these artists are independent, often unknown, sometimes still wet behind the ears, I write in an advisory fashion. Here, that technique seems superfluous and silly. But why does a new artist, an indie artist, sound this polished--this radio ready? I did some digging.

Shihori just entered my musical world, and has only performed stateside for a mere two years, but she's no newcomer. Her musical resume reads like all of my favorite artists' resumes, but for the country of origin. Though her path was bumpy, she's already experienced major success in a tough and large market--Japan. 

The title, "Soul Trip," seemed to allude to soul music or--maybe more appropriately--a neo-soul sound. But after I let it loop for awhile, it felt more spiritual. I feel more than I hear here, and I dare not listen. Then, I realized that soul in this instance, may be wholly referencing that intangible unseen human essence. And I felt that ride, the trip, more with each play.

Shihori answered my unasked questions: 

I wasn't allowed to just be myself. 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.

I felt this quote, much like I feel this song. My Japanese friend, Ai, told similar stories of being bullied because she too wasn't . . . the same. "Unfortunately," her Russian father passed on his brown hair to her. So, she felt a connection to my struggle as a Black man in a country that believes I'm not "the same."

And many years later, those struggles remain. That cultural connection remains. And it's all perfectly captured on this track. 

Shihori's good. 

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