Japanese artist MIREI is giving viewers an inside look at the experiences she and other female artists face in the music industry with her powerful new video for“IDOL”. The term ‘idol’ is commonly used in Japanese culture to describe young women and girls in the entertainment industry, many of whom become singers, actors, or dancers. While the track speaks to the unrealistic expectations set upon these individuals as well as MIREI’s personal experiences, the accompanying video takes it a step further as it provides a perspective not many people often see. Starring real-life idol Kanon — a long-time friend, singer, model, and former member of J-Pop group Dancing Dolls — we see the tribulations experienced by a rising idol who sacrifices their own mental and physical health to conform to the idealistic version of what others want them to be.
“I have always dreamed of becoming a singer, but sometimes people would want to manipulate you in some ways,” shares MIREI. “They may want you to be a certain body shape or fit within a particular style, and sometimes may want you to alter your personality too. You have to say, ‘that’s not me.’ My dream is not to be an idol, but to express myself as a singer and this song is about fighting against all of those pressures. I wrote it based on real experiences. It is a super interesting song and also an important song for me to write in this reality.”
“IDOL” acts as a sequel to MIREI’s hit release “Lonely In Tokyo,” off her 2020 English-language debut album Take Me Away, which details her life and career in the big city and the consequences that come with it. The album speaks to heavy hitting topics including the power imbalances between genders and deeply conformist culture as heard on liberating groove-heavy track “Let Me Be” while also paying tribute to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements on songs like “Not A Number” and the anxieties and pressures that come with city living on title track “Take Me Away.” An idiosyncratic talent and voice of her generation, both musically and lyrically, MIREI has been praised by the likes of Teen Vogue and Hollywood Life for her efforts in tackling issues in the Asian music scene that are often swept under the rug or unrecognized overseas, as well as cultural topics and social issues.
Earlier this year, MIREI released her single “Sell Me Your Love,” which re-tells a harrowing 2019 incident that took place in the red-light district of Tokyo where a woman fatally knifed her then-boyfriend while walking listeners through the tightrope between passion and jealousy that arises when love is treated as a commodity. For the rising songstress, the making of these tracks open a thrilling chapter in her growth as an artist where she finds herself facing the most difficult of emotions, then transforming those feelings into music that questions, challenges, and ultimately empowers.
Stemming from her experiences living in both Japan and the United States, MIREI is a multifaceted singer/songwriter who uniquely blends elements of pop, J-pop, R&B, electronic, and house to create a kaleidoscopic global sound. Since releasing music in English internationally in 2019, MIREI’s compelling lyricism which showcases fearless honesty in her music, has been heard and embraced beyond borders, garnering over 22 million total streams and media praise from the likes of Rolling Stone India, Wonderland, Earmilk, Ladygunn, Spindle, and PopMatters, among others. MIREI continues to pave her way as an artist and storyteller who leaves her audience captivated with her relentless experimental approach towards her music.