【Singers】 ClariS / Alice☆Clara (アリス☆クララ)

claris

ClariS is a musical unit consisting of two singers, Alice and Clara. They are most well-known for their first major debut song “irony”, which was used as the opening theme to the anime adaptation of Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない). ClariS is also notable in that both members of the unit are still middle school students and also that Alice and Clara never show their faces, instead being represented by illustrations from various artists such as redjuice, Aoki Ume, and Kanzaki Hiro. According to theirofficial bio, ClariS means “bright, clean, and brilliant” in Latin, and Alice and Clara’s old website also reveals some other interesting facts – Alice’s hobby is dancing, her special ability is swimming, and her favourite subject is English, while Clara’s special ability is playing the piano, her favourite subject is music, and if she was stranded on a deserted island, she would choose to bring her cell phone.

Before making their major debut as ClariS, Alice and Clara posted covers of songs under the unit name of Alice☆Clara (アリス☆クララ) on niconico. Their most popular cover is of “only my railgun”, which has more than 1,400 Mylists as of this post. However, the majority of their works are not niconico chart-toppers at all, with many of their submissions gathering under 200 Mylists. Despite this, Alice and Clara caught the eye of the staff at anime music magazine LisAni! and were chosen to be the vocalists of two exclusive original songs, Drop and Kimi no Yume wo Miyou (君の夢を見よう). Both songs were composed by kz (livetune) with illustrations from redjuice.

ClariS’s sound reflects the meaning of their unit name quite well – both Alice and Clara consistently sing in bright and clear voices. Although their voices are admittedly not very unique, they fit in very well with the pop genre, and to sum up ClariS’s current works, their songs are comfortable and easy to listen to. Despite being in the “musical comfort zone” for now, one of ClariS’s most attractive characteristics right now is their potential, as kz of livetune observed.

Essential Works:
1. irony
2. Drop
3. only my railgun (niconico link)

ClariS Official Website: http://www.clarismusic.jp/index.html
Alice☆Clara Website: http://x82.peps.jp/alicekurara
Alice☆Clara’s Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/15308474
ClariS at SonyMusic: http://www.sonymusic.co.jp/Music/Arch/SMER/claris
LisAni! on ClariS: http://asianbeat.com/ja/feature/issue_music/claris/lisani.html
kz(livetune) on ClariS: http://asianbeat.com/ja/feature/issue_music/claris/kz.html

【Singer】梅宮雛 (UMEMIYA Hina)

umemiyahina

梅宮雛 (UMEMIYA Hina) is a relatively well-known niconico singer best known for her rendition of wowaka’s 裏表ラバーズ (Uraomote Lovers/Love & Lovers). Her titles always start with “人知れず”, which means “secretly”. (So the whole template title translates to something like “Tried to Sing in secret / Umemiya Hina”). As well, she gets other people on niconico to help her with mixing her songs. Also, Umemiya Hina is most likely not her real name.

Umemiya is capable of hitting extremely high notes without straining, wavering or straying from the note, and can sing in many different voices, though the usual one she uses is slightly cutesy but not at all annoying. Some of her “other voices” sound like Kagamine Len and even INOUE Marina. (See her rendition of Nanairo no NicoNico Douga). She also seems to have really good breath control since she can not only switch between voices quickly, but she can also keep singing a lot without gasping for breath (See her rendition of Uramote).

Essential Works:
1. 裏表ラバーズ (Uraomote Lovers/Love & Lovers) (niconico link) **Most Popular Work**
2. 炉心融解 (Roshin Yuukai/Meltdown) (niconico link)
3. いつもより泣き虫な空 (Itsumo Yori Nakimushi na Sora/A Sky Who’s Being More of a Crybaby Than Usual) (niconico link) **Recommended**

Niconico Profile: http://www.nicovideo.jp/user/10862349
Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/10657771

【Singer】UmiNeko

I don’t usually listen to male singers for unknown reasons, but this person is far too great.

UmiNeko

UmiNeko is an amateur singer from niconico who is becoming more well-known recently for his unique voice and consistently high quality works. His most popular works are his renditions of DixieFlatline’s Just Be Friends, with 1906 Mylists, and におP’s (nioP) 蜜蜂 (Mitsubachi/Honeybee) with 1536 Mylists. He almost always provides MP3 downloads of his songs, and the majority of his songs are mixed by madamxx and encoded by various people. In addition to singing, he also has a radio show hosted on niconico live stream sometimes.

UmiNeko’s voice is, to put it in one word, soulful. It is mature, emotional, and has weight as he retains all his notes completely and fully, which makes him extremely suitable for songs of the Soul genre. Despite having a pretty specialized voice, he sings many songs from different genres, including Jazz, R&B, and Pop, to name a few. UmiNeko usually sings in a relatively low voice, but he has absolutely no trouble transitioning to really high notes quickly and smoothly. He also likes to do a lot of really well-done scat singing. Lastly, UmiNeko also songs quite a bit of English songs (which I think he is best suited for), and his English pronounciation is quite good.

Please give his songs a listen! His voice might take a bit of getting used to at first, but it is absolutely incredible from his first songs to the most recent ones. I had a hard time picking only 6 songs to list here.

Essential Works – Vocaloid Covers:
1. 蜜蜂 (Mitsubachi/Honeybee) (niconico link) **Representative Work & Highly Recommended**
2. 少年銀河 (Shounen Ginga/Boy Galaxy) (niconico link) →Recommended
3. つよがり (Tsuyogari/Bluff) (niconico link) →First work

Essential Works – Original/English:
1. Losing game (niconico link) (Original song; Collaboration with におP (nioP)
2. You Give Me Something (niconico link) (English song; James Morrison) →Recommended
3. What’s Going On (niconico link) (English song; Marvin Gaye)

Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/9247970
niconico Community: http://ch.nicovideo.jp/community/co71841
Youtube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7EA54D231EF07449