Tomoko Kawase – The Brilliant Green
Who can pull off three different styles of J-rock with three different personas? Not a lot of people, that’s who. Yet Tomoko Kawase (or Tommy as she is lovingly nicknamed, or Tommy February6, or Tommy Heavenly6) has quite a few tricks up her Elmo-puppeted sleeve.
Born on February 6, 1975 in Kyoto, Japan, Tomoko Kawase was a born singer, competing in talent shows and karaoke contests nationwide. She was competing in one of these amateur talent shows (1995, age 20) when J-rock musicians Shunsaku Okuda and Ryo Matsui saw her and were instantly impressed. And thus The Brilliant Green was formed.
The Brilliant Green’s smooth J-Rock tunes were an instant hit. Within their 11 years of on and off activity, they produced one compilation, four albums and a whopping seventeen singles. Their latest single, ‘Ash Like Snow’, was used for the anime ‘Mobile Suit Gundam 00’.
The Brilliant Green – Ash like Snow
If you’re interested in checking this kickass band out, might I suggest their compilation – ‘The Complete Singles Collection’? It has all of their singles compiled on to one CD, and a very good one at that. Don’t believe me, you doubting Thomasinas? Download the Brilliant Green MP3s for free here!
In 2001, Tommy decided she would launch a solo career during her career with the Brilliant Green, who, still to this day, have never officially broken up. She called herself Tommy February6, a clever mix of her nickname and her birthday. Tommy February6 created music that was a far cry from the Brilliant Green. February6 was more into J-music with inspiration from 80’s and 90’s British and American heavy-synth-pop, with funky beats and an upbeat tune in most of her songs. Her first single as February6, ‘Everyday At The Bus Stop’, was a huge hit, and gave fans an idea of Tommy’s scope and range as a musician and performer.
On November 22, 2003, during the height of her February6 career, Tomoko Kawase married fellow BuriGuri (a shortening of The Brilliant Green) band member bassist Shunsaku Okuda, and they’ve been happily married ever since.
If you think you’d dig February6, I suggest either the album Tommy February6 or her Best-Of album released earlier this year, Strawberry Cream Soda Pop “Daydream”. Actually, if you click that Tommy February 6 link, you should be able to download both her albums.
As Wikipedia says, “After a performance as Tommy February6 in 2003, Kawase took off her glasses and donned a much more alternative look to create Tommy Heavenly6, a brand new character with a modern rock sound that takes influences from punk and Emo acts.” Tommy believes that Heavenly6 was created out of a dislike of February6, who, in a lot of her music videos, is seen drinking alcohol from a fuzzy pink canteen and in several songs is trying to steal other people’s men (listen to ‘Hey Bad Boy’ and you’ll know exactly what she means). She claims that Heavenly6 is a much purer person, although her lyrics are significantly darker than either February6 or BuriGuri.
Tommy Heavenly6 is much more punk/rock/emo than Tommy’s other two alter egos and carries the image of such. In the music video of her first single as Heavenly6, ‘Wait Till I Can Dream’, she is shown first as Tommy February6, in her signature red shirt and white tie, drinking from her canteen then passing out. She wakes up and hears wild guitar music (Heavenly6, of course) then peers through some holes that have inexplicably appeared in her bedroom wall to see Heavenly6 with her new look and new music just rocking her world. How very postmodern!
If you want to hear this Tommy Heavenly6, I suggest downloading her album ‘Tommy Heavenly6‘ or her Best-Of album, ‘Gothic Melting Ice Cream’s Darkness “Nightmare”.