You may recall that we ran an article about two months ago featuring American-born J-POP singer Nicholas Edwards, who studied Japanese and moved from Oregon to Japan in pursuit of his dream to become a singer here. Now, three years after his move, his singing career certainly seems to be moving in the right direction.
This year, he released his debut single from a major Japanese music label in July, followed by a double mini album in October, and he also performed at his very first concert on Dec 22 at The Garden Hall in Ebisu.
Sunday was a fine but cold day, yet the low temperature didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the fans that gathered for the event. The final rehearsal before the actual evening concert was also turned into a kind of informal performance, for which tickets were also sold, so for fans (including myself), the excitement started early in the afternoon.
The rehearsal, which started at 2:30 p.m., went on for a little over an hour, with basically the same costumes, effects and dancing as the actual concert later in the evening. Edwards was perhaps a bit nervous at the very beginning of the rehearsal (this was going to be his very first concert, after all), but he quickly got into the atmosphere and beat of the music and was soon performing with gusto.
Despite it being a rehearsal, you could feel how thrilled Edwards was about his debut concert, and fans seemed genuinely excited for him too, waving colored lights in time to the music, not just during the actual concert but the rehearsal as well. For the rehearsal performance, he sang a majority of the songs he would be singing in the concert, finishing with one of his own Japanese Christmas pop tunes.
It wasn’t a huge concert hall, seating about 750 people, but it was filled to capacity, and there seemed to be a genuine feeling of good will and unity among those in the audience. especially as it was so close to Christmas.
The actual concert lasted for approximately one hour and 40 minutes, and Edwards sang about 18 songs including an encore. The program included a selection of his original songs, of course, and a few classic Japanese folk songs as well as some popular Christmas songs such as “Silent Night, Holy Night” and “White Christmas”. The audience took to their feet and moved enthusiastically together to the music for some of the songs, and most people had their own lights to wave. Overall, he seemed to truly enjoy performing throughout the concert, and the fans were naturally quite happy with that.
Edwards also announced during the concert that his original song “Skies” from his double mini album of the same title was going to be featured in a TV commercial for Masudajuku, a large chain of prep schools for university entrance exams, to which delighted fans responded with enthusiastic applause and shouts of congratulations.
Another aspect of the concert that was memorable was Edwards speaking to the audience in Japanese. He expressed his sincere joy at being able to perform for his fans in his very first concert and also treated the audience to some personal stories, including how he used to spend Christmas with his family back in the United States before coming to Japan, as well as the beautiful if sad stories behind some of his original songs — all in Japanese. His words seemed to come from his heart, creating some emotional moments, and while there may have been some pauses during his speech or the very occasional hiccup with a Japanese expression, it really was impressive to hear him convey so much in a second language that he learned after reaching high-school age. I couldn’t help but feel honest respect for Edward’s passion for music and Japanese.
All in all, fans seemed more than satisfied with the concert experience, and more importantly, I think many of them left feeling very warm and happy after sharing the evening together. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more good things about Nicholas Edwards as he continues with his music career, and maybe we’ll be seeing him perform in a much larger concert hall in the not too distant future.
Concert photo from Nicholas Edwards official blog
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