Haru Nemuri is one of the most exciting and innovative artists to come out of Japanâ€™s indie music scene in recent years. Born Haru Yasumoto in Tokyo in 1993, she has become famous for her expressive, dreamy and sometimes darkheartedsound that combines gentle synth pop with haunting R&B and hip-hop rhymes. Although still relatively young, Nemuriâ€™s career has been going from strength to strength since she first emerged in 2016.
When she was younger, Nemuri often found herself feeling isolated and out of place in the distinct and discriminatory society of Tokyo. As a result, she decided to turn to music as an outlet for her feelings of alienation. In her teens she began to teach herself music production, recording her songs and uploading them to SoundCloud from her bedroom studio. And although several of her early works received some attention, she did not seize complete fame and recognition until she released her first album Mebae in 2016.
The album marked the beginning of Nemuriâ€™s official music career, and she received praise for seamlessly blending elements of synth pop, rap and R&B. Her songs often feature Autotuned vocals deep in reverb, slow burning grooves and woozy atmospheres that create a sound no one else had yet achieved. Over the subsequent year, Nemuriâ€™s popularity steadily grew, especially within Tokyo and the surrounding region.
Mebae was followed by My Impression, an extended play release in 2017. This time around, her sound was heavier and darker in places, creating a brooding attitude and attitude of soulful melancholia at times. My Impression was eventually nominated for best indie album at the 2018 Japanese Music Awards â€“ bringing international recognition to Nemuri.
The award certainly encouraged Nemuri to look at expanding her fanbase globally. She vowed to tour abroad and collaborate with artists from outside Japan. 2018 was a milestone for this ambition as she embarked on her first solo European tour and became the first female rapper to perform at Fuji Rock Festival. Emboldened by her growing successes, she released her third album, Neo-Gothic Trilogy in 2019 to much fanfare.
The Neo-Gothic Trilogy showcased what Nemuri does best - creating beautiful and hauntingly melancholic soundscapes that hover somewhere between reality, dream and nightmare. Her lyrics were poetic and introspective as she explored the nuances of being a young woman in the 21st century. Urban dystopia and fairy tales were recurrent themes, as well as her connection to pagan fertility rites and ancient Japanese folklore.
The success of her third album boosted Nemuriâ€™s profile as it was named Rolling Stone Japanâ€™s album of the year and made her a household name throughout Asia and beyond. Since then, she has continued to draw plaudits for her innovative musical style, receiving backing from numerous influential musicians, labels and publications in both the Japanese and international music scenes.
Today Haru Nemuri remains one of the most buzzed-about and inspiring figures in indie music. Her influence is inspiring the next generation of artist to be brave and daring in their approach. As she continues to push boundaries in her music, one canâ€™t help but wonder what fresh works she will come up with next.