The December edition of Billboard Japan and TikTok’s Next Fire program began Dec. 3, with a virtual show by singer-songwriter meiyo, the featured artist of this month.
Next Fire is a show on TikTok Live that highlights a rising J-pop act each month, based on Billboard Japan’s Japan Heatseekers Songs chart. The collaborative project streams live performances and pre-recorded interviews by the featured artist to give fans a comprehensive look into their artistry.
meiyo is a 30-year-old singer-songwriter, whose somewhat self-deprecating number “Nani yattemo umaku ikanai” (which roughly means, “No matter what I do, nothing ever works out”) has ironically boosted him into the limelight via TikTok. The musician who had been diligently working in the J-pop business for years before his recent breakout success showcased some of his latest tracks, including “Question” released Dec. 12, to 14,159 viewers over the course of the evening.
meiyo appeared in the quiet studio and muttered, “OK, let’s do this” as if to fire himself up. He kicked off his set with the curiously titled track, “KonichiwaTempraSushiNatto,” delivering the memorable phrases with his delicate voice. He followed up with “Urochoro,” building up the beat with a sampler in a mesmerizing way during the interlude.
The singer-songwriter with a 12-year music career then performed the song “Kijou no Kuuron” (“Armchair theory”) — which he wrote four or five years ago — expressing the narrative depicted in the song with just an electric guitar. A somber mood filled the studio, breaking away from the upbeat performances of the previous numbers.
meiyo then gave his first full live performance of his latest single called “Question,” released on Sunday (Dec. 12). The opening line in the song that means “Press this switch for a major transformation?” is buzzing on TikTok, and the song’s current popularity was reflected in the activity in the comment section during the livestream.
After warming up the stage again with the dynamic performance, the singer born Takashi Watanabe dropped his most well-known number, “Nani yattemo umaku ikanai.” “This song brought me here, and is very important to me,” he shared during the performance, and viewers reacted with excitement as he delivered his now-signature TikTok earworm.
Before closing his showcase set with “Itsumade aruka” (“How long will it last”), meiyo noted, “I hope you all keep loving the things you don’t know how long will last.” Fans who tuned in reacted positively to the frank and realistic lyrics, written by the artist who admits that “no matter what I did, nothing ever worked out” and overcame hardships and struggles along the way. The melancholy tone of the electric guitar also echoed emotionally throughout the studio, and the comment section filled up with messages of empathy and understanding.
A pre-recorded interview by meiyo will stream Dec. 17 from 8 p.m. Japan time on Billboard Japan’s TikTok channel, as well as an archived version of his Dec. 3 livestream.