When Doul entered high school, she became interested in K-pop. “I liked BIGBANG, TVXQ! And Super Junior,” says the “Howl” singer, which rhymes with the way her stage name is pronounced. “When I saw their clips on YouTube, I was blown away by their style. I was drawn to their high level of performance and the diversity of their music, like the way they included rap in their songs. songs, which were a little different from the western music I grew up on. Plus their outfits and styling were so cool, and K- pop was the reason I got interested in hair color and to makeup.
At the time, the multitalented young woman was pursuing street dancing and martial arts – something she had seriously considered doing professionally in the future – but got hold of an acoustic guitar at the age of. 12 years old and started on it. course to become a player. “I couldn’t get enough of the videos with Kurt Cobain playing and singing on his acoustic guitar,” she shares. “So I was inspired by the idea of taking a guitar and practicing playing chords, and when I got to play and sing ‘Tears in Heaven’ by Eric Clapton, it was awesome, like if I had found my vocation. So I’m good at arpeggios. I still play with my fingers all the time and tend to use my fingernails for scratching. I ask my manicurist to make a very thick top coat. [Laughs]”
Then, in addition to live streaming on Instagram and other social media platforms, she started performing in front of people on the streets as a 14-year-old college girl. “I did street performances mainly at Kego Park in Fukuoka, Hakata station and Tenjin,” Doul explains. “About a year after I started, over 100 people have come to see me. “
While it might seem like smooth sailing, she says her relationships with friends her age and classmates deteriorated from there. “In college, everyone hated me. I was bullied by dozens of people when I was in school because I was doing something different from others, and my address was exposed on social media.” , remembers the singer. I didn’t expect anything from school and I didn’t rely on my classmates at all. I had other friends who supported me through my street concerts, music, dancing and martial arts. At school I was like, “Leave me alone. I’m not interested in you, so don’t be interested in me.
Then something happened that caused her to seriously focus on music. “The first time I performed live in a place with proper musical facilities and not on the street, the audience shed tears when they heard me sing,” she shares. “It was a huge moment for me, that I was able to move someone to tears with my voice and the music I played was a great reward for me. I was also training to be a professional arts fighter. martial arts back then, but from then on all I saw was music. I had a lot of bad days in school, but gained a lot of followers on social media and the number of people interested in my music kept growing, so I thought I would continue.
Initially, Doul’s performances focused on covers, but it was during this time that she started writing her own material. One of the tracks she finished was “16yrs”, her first number which she released at the age of 17. The song garnered a lot of attention as it was included in Spotify’s “RADAR: Early Noise 2021” playlist which highlights some notable new acts. Since then, the artist has continued to release songs such as “We Will Drive Next”, featured in a television commercial for Mode Gakuen.
While the teenager is often considered a “young genius” due to her age, Doul doesn’t seem particularly concerned with her youth and writes lyrics with universal themes. “It’s not that I mean things that represent my generation,” she explains. “But my lyrics are also a recording of myself, so I guess the feelings and thoughts I have because of my age are reflected in it somehow. I want to write lyrics that people of my generation and people who are 60 can both appreciate, relate to and even oppose. I don’t expect my songs to change the way people think, but I hope they add new perspectives. For example, sometimes people, especially older people, say with disapproval, “You have tattoos.” It makes me angry, but that’s how they think and it’s hard to change. So I’m not trying to change the way people think, but rather to encourage them to feel that there are other ways of thinking through my songs and my approach, and I hope they take note of these new perspectives.
The songs she released so far and her EP A beyond are impressive for their multifaceted musicality that defies genre categorization. This aspect can also be seen in her music video for “The Time Has Come,” in which she performs alone wearing a variety of looks that pay homage to artists of various genres, ages and styles. Its eclectic sensibility emerges as the result of music production in a post-streaming world, where all music is available on the same platform and consumed alongside each other.
“The genres and ages of music that I grew up on were all different, and even now I don’t listen to music of a particular age or genre,” she shares. “That’s why I think my music is a combination of band sound, beats, rap and vocals. I want to make music that has never existed before, but with elements of nostalgia for the past.
The fact that she self-produces her work is also a testament to the freedom she exudes. “The reason I perform myself is because I want to know what I can do,” says Doul. “What kind of clothes and makeup do I want to wear? What kind of lyrics do I want to write? How do I want to sing? What kind of music do I want to do? Every day is different. I love it when I rock trendy, I love when I dance and do cool moves. And if I take a different approach, I might find another side of me that I love even more. That’s why I want to take on various challenges on my own and pursue my identity. Being produced by someone else can wait to find out who I am.
Doul describes herself as “the world’s greatest narcissist”, which is reflected in the phrase “I can say I love myself” in the lyrics to her track “Howl”. But what follows are the words “But I hated myself before.” So how did she learn to love herself? “As I mentioned earlier, when I was bullied in college, there were times I had negative thoughts like, ‘Maybe it’s my fault after all’ and I felt bad about myself, she admits.
“But then I focused on improving myself, including the visual aspect like makeup and fashion. I focused on becoming a better person and improving myself,” Doul continues. . “I think that meant that I looked at myself and loved myself, and that I actually felt that I was getting more beautiful and more beautiful. I then realized that I could grow taller if I looked at myself properly and didn’t look at myself. didn’t care about opinions and noise around me. That is why I am now able to exist as Doul and write songs like “Howl.” If someone fights like before, I would love it. ‘Encourage to look at yourself and to love yourself. But in order to love yourself you have to try to change, and that’s something I really think about stoically.
As an artist called to play a major role in the J-pop music scene, Doul shared his vision for the future. “My goals of winning awards and doing lots of concerts haven’t changed since I made my debut,” she says. “But now that about a year has passed, I think I’ve developed an ego about how I want people to see and feel my music. Before I debuted I was only doing music, but now that I’m a professional artist, I want people to identify with my music and oppose it as well. I especially want to give people courage. I want people to use my music to solve all kinds of problems, so that’s how I approach music production now. But maybe I’ll say something different next year. I hope I can keep looking for new sides of myself like this from now on. “
Doul’s latest single, “My Mr. Right”, her first love song where she herself played all instruments, is now available.
This article by TAKAGI “JET” Shinichiro first appeared on Billboard Japan.