Photo by Rufus Lin Productions
With a program that features songs in Japanese, Tagalog and English, 19-year-old singer Analyn Almerino will be bringing her own unique voice from Japan to Richmond audiences.
Almerino will be performing at the Richmond Cultural Centre on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
At age 14, Almerino wowed both audiences and judges in Nippon Television’s All-Japan King of Songs in 2014, taking first place in the nation-wide singing competition that featured more than 6,000 contestants.
The singer came into the national spotlight again in 2017, when she won Asahi Television’s Music Champ.
Instead of covering songs by Japanese artists, Almerino performed enduring ballads by American pop stars, like Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and Mariah Carey’s “Hero.”
Now signed to the Richmond-based Rufus Lin Productions, the singer continues to release tracks in English, giving her a distinct voice in the pop music scene in Japan.
“I’ve been listening to English music from the time (since) I was a child, so now that I have the opportunity to sing the songs I listened to at that time, it’s very exciting,” said Almerino.
“I think the person I am must be completely made up of Western music.”
In addition to the contrast in language, Western and Japanese pop music are different in many other ways, such as in song structures, the singer says.
Japanese music also tends to focus more on lyrics, as opposed to the repetition of lyrics that is more common in North American pop.
With these distinct contrasts in musical styles, establishing Almerino’s unique artistic fusion has been somewhat of a challenge.
“It seems to be kind of difficult for the people in Japan to really appreciate Western music, so they’re surprised when I sing English songs,” she said.
Her latest singles showcase the singer’s style, which she says has been influenced by Canadian and American artists like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Madonna.
The releases include “Making It Up” and “Waiting,” and reveal Almerino’s desire to express herself honestly through her music.
“Some people might say that most girls my age may not relate to these songs. But really, it’s okay if people just enjoy the songs in their own way. With ‘Waiting,’ there’s the feeling of waiting for someone to appear, and once they do, it’s the beginning of something special. I have tried to portray my current self with these songs.”
The singer says that her unique childhood has also shaped her music.
Almerino was born in the Philippines, but moved with her family to Japan at the age of six. She had always listened and enjoyed music, and began singing karaoke, impressing the people around her.
Becoming a singer was never far from her mind, and at age 11, Almerino began focusing on her musical career in earnest.
When she had the chance to participate in the competitions organized by Nippon TV and Asahi TV, the singer poured her energy and heart into the program.
“I remember practicing really hard, (and) with a lot of emotional energy, so that the audience and judges would like my songs,” she said.
Now, Almerino is bringing her own sound and music across the pond, and hopes to make a place for herself in North America.
“I hope everyone will listen to my melodies and lyrics, which are so different from any other artist out there. And secondly, I hope to capture people’s attention with my uniqueness, which is specifically the result of my being born in the Philippines and raised in Japan.”
Tickets are $10, and are available at: analynalmerino.com