Angela Aki returns with “Kono Sekai no Achikochi ni”. Her first single in 10 years.

Angela Aki wearing a white shirt and light stone washed jeans, in a promotional shoot for her digital single “Kono Sekai no Achikochi ni”.

It’s happening y’all. Angela Aki is coming back. And she done changed. Because Angela Aki is not just a recording artist. She is out here as a composer and writer for musicals now. And “Kono Sekai no Achikochi ni” is her first song to be released from this phase of her life and career. “Kono Sekai no Achikochi ni” is a song from the stage play Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni, a manga series which has been adapted into a musical, which will run nationally in Japan throughout May 2024. And Angela Aki has written all of the music for it.

The manga series Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni was written and illustrated by Fumiyo Kouno. So it’s really great that a manga series from a woman which has being adapted into a musical is also having its music be written by a woman.

I don’t think there has been an instance in Japan of a recording artist writing all of the music for a stage musical before, so it would make complete sense for the soundtrack to release at some point. Especially given that Angela Aki still has a recording contract with Sony Music, through which “Kono Sekai no Achikochi ni” is releasing.

Writing music for a musical is what Angela has been working towards for the past 10 years. Angela went on a hiatus back in 2014 and moved to America to study music and pursue her dream of writing musicals for Broadway. In this time she has written music for small productions and also written odd songs here and there for other artists. Her endeavours have taken her to New York (because, obviously), Los Angeles and Tennessee, where she now resides with her family.

Angela made this decision to pursue writing music for musicals in her mid thirties. At a point in her career as a recording artist where most would have just continued on. Especially as Angela was still selling moderately well, despite the underperformance of her last studio album Blue. But she followed her heart to pursue a dream.

So often we’re made to believe that everybody has to have things figured out by a certain age and that it’s too late to pivot or pursue a dream. Even when we consistently see examples in the world that this isn’t true. So I really hope Angela’s return to music (not that she ever left it) sparks a conversation in Japan of women being able to pursue their dreams at middle age, and that the goal for a woman should not just be ‘to have a family’, unless she wants it to be.

Angela Aki is occupying a space in which women tend not to. Not just in Japan, but anywhere. And this should be acknowledged and spread far and wide. There are so many amazingly talented women and they / thems who are musicians, but may not know which avenue they can pursue with their talents and how. So I also hope TV shows and content creators reach out to Angela to talk to her about what made her choose this path, how she went about it and what advice she would give. This would also be so valuable for women with families to see, because Angela was doing all of this pursuing of her dreams whilst juggling being a mother and a wife. So it’s also affirmation to women with families that you don’t have to give up on dreams and aspirations just because you are a mother,

Angela hasn’t spoken much of what comes next and whether she will release a studio album. I hope Angela feels inspired to still record albums alongside writing for musicals. But it’s just great to have her active and out here again. She’s occupying a really unique space which could take her to to so many different places. One which comes to mind, being Disney. If Elton John can be tapped to write music for The Lion King, Phil Collins can be hit up for Tarzan and Julia Michaels can be DM’d for Wish, then I see no reason why Angela can’t get a call from Disney.

“Kono Sekai no Achikochi ni” releases on 7 February.

🌐 Official website for the musical: Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni

💿 Album reviews: Answer | Songbook | Blue