Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on September 2009
The title Emotions seems somehow wrong for the one-dimensional range of most J-pop. But Japan’s latest haafu sensation (she’s actually one-quarter Trinidadian) shows herself capable of rising above the most conventional of R&B production to cover a range of (admittedly conventional) emotions, from the regret of “I’m Sorry” to the professions of love of “Futari no Yakusoku no Hi.” A 2008 Guinness World Record holder for most digital downloads for her song “Soba ni Iru ne,” Thelma Aoyama has followed a familiar path. The former international school (m-flo, etc.) student and current Sophia (Crystal Kay, etc.) undergrad spices her essentially kawaii Japanese persona with a rather nice voice and just the right amount of exoticness to fit the current J-pop recipe. Then again, who is a cynical expat to judge the tastes of Japanese tweens? Wish her well with her 15 minutes of fame.