Billboard Japan and TikTok kicked off the February edition of Next Fire on Feb. 4 with a live studio performance by rising singer-songwriter Daiki Ueno.
Next Fire is a show on TikTok Live highlighting the hottest artists of the moment, based on the Billboard Japan Heatseekers Songs chart. The collaborative program streams live performances and pre-recorded interviews by the featured artist of the month to present a multifaceted view of their artistry.
The online showcase on Feb. 4 featured a compact five-song set by the 25-year-old artist, including a gripping performance of his poetic take on losing a loved one called “Love Song,” currently buzzing on TikTok. A total of 11,558 viewers tuned in to see the studio concert.
Emerging on a stage illuminated by simple lights, Ueno slung his acoustic guitar over his shoulder and adjusted the tuning of his instrument before launching into the first track, “Onaji Tsuki wo Miteiru” (Looking at the same moon). Accompanied by Akira Murata on keyboard, the young singer’s slightly husky voice quickly filled the studio with a melancholy yet somehow warm vibe.
“It’s only for a short time today, but I hope everyone enjoys the show,” he told viewers after the opening number, and went on to perform “Te,” a relatively short but evocative track with earnest lyrics that deeply touch listeners’ hearts.
For the next song, called “Obose,” he explained that he wanted to take the special opportunity to show viewers how he usually did things and performed the number by himself with just his guitar, delivering an emotional take on the realistic lyrics. Then, joined again by Murata on keyboard, Ueno performed one of his recent hit singles entitled “Nami ni Ki” off his latest album Hogata, engaging viewers with his affecting vocal prowess.
He put down his guitar for the closing song of the evening, the TikTok favorite called “Love Song,” performing the gently profound number about death and loss with only keyboard and vocals. The lyrics bluntly depict suicide and appear shocking at first glance, but the song’s kindhearted message — “Love song, love song, keep spreading out more until the other world and this world stick together,” he sings in the chorus — stands out in the end. In fact, the latter half of the number exuded a sense of euphoria through the repetition of the chorus, and many viewers noted in the comment section that they were drawn into the performance. Ueno ended the song on a quiet note, as if to let viewers linger in the meaning of the final line: “Love song, love song, with more volume, so that it’ll reach that person,” he sang. “So that it’ll reach you.”