KEIKO, a member of the now-defunct three-girl vocal group Kalafina, released her debut solo album today (December 2, 2020), titled ‘Lantana’.
Kalafina made their debut in January 2008 with ‘Oblivious’, the ending theme to the feature-length anime ‘The Garden of Sinners’, followed by songs for TV anime such as ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica’ and ‘Fate/Zero’, as well as for the educational history show ‘Rekishi Hiwa Historia’ produced by Japan’s national broadcaster NHK. The group were produced by Yuki Kajiura, resulting in a rich sound with expressive choral vocals, an artistic tapestry sewn into every song. The group not only found great success in Japan, but globally as well: Kalafina performed their first overseas concert in Boston in 2009, followed by shows in Los Angeles, Chicago, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Jakarta, Thailand and more, as well as headline shows in Taipei, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The group disbanded in March 2019.
A year later, in April 2020, KEIKO began her solo career. Commenting “I want to try my hand at a variety of music styles as KEIKO,” she announced that she would commence work on an album, while also challenging herself to write lyrics for the first time for her debut digital single ‘Inochi no Hana’ (‘Flower of Life’), which was coupled with the song ‘Be Yourself’ that showed a very different new side to this young artist. Her next release, ‘Ray’ / ‘Hajimari wa’ (‘Beginning’), once again showcased two very different musical styles.
In September 2020, KEIKO followed these early releases with her first live performance, ‘KEIKO First Live K001 – I’m home’. A 10-minute highlights video from the concert was published on YouTube, with captions in English giving a summary of her career.
KEIKO’s debut album ‘Lantana’ was released today, featuring her four previously released songs alongside many new ones. The new album track ‘Nanairo no Finale’ (‘Seven-Color Finale’), whose music video was recently published on YouTube, was written by Kalafina producer Yuki Kajiura, who has become a torchbearer for the very best in Japanese music culture. Kajiura’s recent work includes ‘from the edge’, the ending song to anime series ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba’, as well as the mega-hit theme song ‘Homura’ from the feature animation ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train’. With Kajiura’s music and lyrics written by KEIKO, ‘Nanairo no Finale’ adds a strong flavor to KEIKO’s debut album.
As she begins her new solo career, KEIKO reflected on her 10 years or so as a member of Kalafina, saying, “I have always and will continue to cherish Kalafina’s music, and that feeling will never change. I hope to take the next step of my journey with fans old and new, and to release many new styles of music.” This sentiment can be felt throughout the album, with a variety of musical tones from song to song – making it the perfect album for a fresh start.
To commemorate the release of her solo debut album, KEIKO will perform a concert in Tokyo on December 16, 2020, titled KEIKO Live K002 ** Lantana * Saita yo **. The concert will also be livestreamed.
About the album ‘Lantana’, KEIKO commented:
“‘This is a song I’d like to sing.’ ‘On this song I’d like to find the perfect sound.’ With thoughts like these, I followed my curiosity and broadened my musical horizons, hoping that it would eventually take shape as an album. Rather than beginning with a firm concept, my approach was to just focus on being a singer, and finding a variety of songs to sing. I took advice from producers and staff at my label, and just relaxed as I sang, without overthinking it. I made time to find the sound, the music, the words. I was absorbed in making this album for about a year.”
Regarding the songs on the album, she said: “Because I chose the songs my heart most wanted to sing, the album is filled with songs that each have their own strong sense of individuality. It’s like… It’s like my favorite chocolate box. If listeners can find at least one song that appeals to their taste, I’ll be happy. Once the album is out in the wild, I’m fascinated to know which songs each person enjoys. An album is a luxury. I will live with each of these songs day by day, at concerts and in my daily life, by myself and with my fans, make changes to the songs and let them grow, sometimes break them a little… The more I think about ways to experience this music, the more the future ahead expands in my imagination. I can’t wait for the day when I can feel the joy of music together with all of you.”