Crystal Kay shares a look at her 2023 Billboard Live gig

Crystal Kay on stage, performing at Billboard Tokyo during Christmas of 2023.

Crystal Kay held what I think is her third (maybe fourth!?) Christmas concert at Billboard Live, at the end of 2023. And she uploaded a look at one of the shows to her official YouTube channel.

It’s not quite Kurissance: A Film by Crystal Kay. She still doesn’t have a proper cameraman / videographer filming her shit. And we don’t get full performances, which is a shame. But what we get is better than nothing. And I’ll take it.

Crystal looked great and sounded great. I’m not sure what happened to her lil’ Beyonce fan though. It was on for one song and then it was off. She must have been roasting on that stage in that small space with all those lights. I felt warm just watching it.

It’s great that Crystal has an annual booking she can look forward to. But if Christmas gigs have been Crystal’s thing for the past three to four years, then were the Christmas singles for her to release and promote alongside the gigs? Where is the follow-up to Shining? And after three to four years of these gigs which stay selling well, where are the extra dates? Where are the bigger venue bookings? Where is the tour?

Girl. Fire the whole management and marketing team.

Crystal really is too good a performer to just be in some bar once a year. I’ve said it before and I’mma say it again; if a fear for Crystal and her team of doing bigger venues is that they may not sell enough tickets, then do a lounge / café tour. Just Crystal and a small band. Or even just a guitarist if a band is too much of a cost. Low risk and small numbers.

Crystal has got to start asking questions about where the bags are in 2024, because this is the year of her 25th anniversary. There shoulda already been a tour announcement, some TV spots and SOME promo of the new single already.

Now, listen. I do get it. Crystal Kay doesn’t have a massive team behind her like Perfume. Or a super business savvy manager like Hikaru Utada. And between events which have unfolded in Hollywood, such as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Taraji P. Henson being vocal on the press run for The Color Purple about working conditions, her lack of pay and lack of opportunities (which she partly attributed to a rubbish team, which she had to fire), music acts parting ways with major labels and going independent, Rina Sawayama saying that she had no choice but to tour from a financial standpoint - there is greater transparency when it comes to what it takes to just keep going in the industry. You have to sink a lot of money into just having a team to help you work. And because of the tightness with money from the powers that be and the forced scarcity of opportunities, not everybody is able to make a living off of the profession we are SEEING many of these ‘celebrities’ in. It’s a big part of why many actors and music acts these days are doing side hustles, influencer type shit and releasing beauty brands. So I know Crystal probably doesn’t have the machine behind her that she once did. If she ever even had it. But she needs to start asking questions about why her team aren’t lining things up for her, and why she is on the fringes of Japanese music and not a more active part of it, despite being a part of its history.

Crystal hasn’t given us a televised performance of one of her songs in a LONG time. When was the last time she toured? Why hasn’t she released a studio album in 6 years? If doing Broadway and branching out into acting was the focus at one point, then where were the acting gigs? Why have none of the singles over the past year had tie-ins with products, films or dramas?

Crystal’s career should have turned a corner from her stint on The Masked Singer. Not only did everybody know she was Miss Television from the start, but she was widely considered a front runner to win. Folk were tweeting left and right about her. Miss Television even trended for a minute. And yet, there was nothing which came after that. An appearance on a big-ass franchise show on Prime Video, which Amazon were promoting the SHIT out of. A show which featured Perfume as judges, who were also promoting the shit out of that show. And yet, there was nothing off the back of any of it. No new cover album. No re-release of I Sing. City pop is in the midst of a revival and there was no release of Crystal’s cover of Miki Matsubara’s “Mayonaka no Door (Stay With Me)”. Crystal covered an Ayumi Hamasaki classic and she didn’t release it as a single. Crystal Kay didn’t even post anything about her participation in the show until days later. That really should have been the point at which Crystal asked questions. Because how do you not springboard from a moment like becoming a finalist on heavily promoted and talked about show like The Masked Singer?

And now here we are in 2024. The year of Crystal Kay’s 25th anniversary. And all we’ve gotten is the announcement of a new song, which is great. But where is the promo for it? Meanwhile, Hikaru Utada done announced a new tour a best album for 2024 during Christmas of 2023, and weeks later we got a track listing, a teaser video and tour dates, and the album doesn’t drop until April and the tour doesn’t start until July.

Regardless of how small Crystal’s team is, they aren’t doing enough for her. They aren’t even reaching for the lowest hanging fruits. Crystal signed off a new year’s Instagram post with ‘2024, it’s level up time’. But with the team she currently has, I can’t see how she will. I’mma stay lighting candles and praying for her though.