The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) conventions always host a myriad of vibrant, notable, and emerging talents. The 2013 Anaheim gathering was no exception. In addition to the hundreds of endorsement appearances, countless musicians donned the dozens of stages, hosted by NAMM and vendors such as Yamaha, Schecter Guitar Research, and Ernie Ball. One of the highlights each year are the fresh and developing artists Taylor Guitars brings to their stage.
Handpicked and invited from half way around the world this year was the uniquely talented Miyavi. He is a solo artist backed only by an equally talented guy named Bobo--who creates driving, hard-hitting sounds on a surprisingly simple drum kit. Miyavi sings and plays guitar while employing a combination of electronic pedals to construct complex melodies and rhythms as he slaps, pounds, pops, and strums his six-stringed instrument. He plays his Taylor (and other) guitars with the same attack Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers uses to play his bass guitar.
With so much coming out of the Miyavi stage duo instrumentally, it is an even more amazing experience to hear Miyavi deliver as much passion and force to his singing efforts. The moments when he reaches deep in to the belly of his voice are both moving and exhilarating. He combines bits of Hip-Hop, Pop, and Metal sounds with Folk ideals and Punk attitude to create something refreshing, fun, and innovative in today’s music industry.
With an established name in his home country of Japan (formerly in the Japanese Visual Kei band Due le Quartz and Rock group S.K.I.N.), Miyavi is branching out in new directions, giving more focus to his music than presentation. But that's not an effort he needs to worry much about. With his soft but handsome façade and remarkably graphic tattoos, Miyavi is not someone easily forgotten. More impressive than his striking looks are his drive, talent, and creativity. Miyavi is not afraid to mix genres, push boundaries, or speak his mind as a musician. The mark his music leaves in one’s mind is indelible.
Coming down from the high of his brilliant NAMM 2013 performance, Miyavi is now back in Japan. He is promoting his latest album “Samurai Sessions vol. 1” with a series of club dates throughout his homeland. The United States would be lucky and honored to have him back after a three-year hiatus, not counting his private performance at this year's NAMM convention. If marketed well, he could be hugely successful in the U.S., especially among fans of innovative singer-songwriters. Miyavi's music is available on iTunes and Amazon.
Click above to view photos from his NAMM 2013/Taylor Guitars performance. Click on the video thumbnail to see the YouTube live performance clip from the NAMM 2013/Taylor Guitars spotlight stage to see and hear Miyavi perform his song techno-dance "Day 1" masterfully rearranged in to an equally driving acoustic number.