Crystal Kay sits with Genius Japan and speaks into existence what she’d like for 2024 and beyond

A shot from Crystal Kay’s shoot as part of her feature with Billboard Japan. But with the background replaced with the yellow backdrop associated with Genius’ Verified series.

Crystal Kay has done quite a few interviews as of late, which has been great to see. Everybody be getting interviews with her but Random J Pop.


Crystal sat down with Genius Japan quite recently. We unfortunately didn’t get a Crystal Kay Verified for “Kirakuni”, but what point would that had even made if the song is not available for streaming globally? But maybe Crystal can do an episode of Genius Verified later in the year. Especially now the door has been opened with this interview.

πŸ“° Harmony in Diversity: Crystal Kay’s 25-Year Journey, Musical Legacy, and Trailblazing Impact on Japan’s Entertainment Scene @ Genius Japan

There wasn’t a great deal that Crystal shared in this interview that we hadn’t already heard or gathered. But it’s great to have another English interview with Crystal out on the Internet, where she is speaking things into existence.

So, let’s get into some of the things raised in this interview.

The takeaways?
  • She’d like to do more shows in the US.
  • Almost Seventeen is that bitch and will always be that bitch.
  • She hated “Koi ni Ochitara”, something she had been vocal about in quite a few of her interviews over the past few years.
  • She wouldn’t mind doing something with Troye Sivan.
  • She would like to do a disco album.
  • She is touring this year.
  • She has a new album releasing this year.

A new album? It’s about time. Because it has been 10 years since Crystal released a studio album. BUT. With this year being her 25th anniversary, I do think a Best album would make more sense. Make nice with Sony and find a way to release a Best album which features material from her earlier days and features her Universal material. Sony seem to be pimping some of Crystal’s old music videos and are very retrospective with a lot of their posts and content. So there is clearly a memo going around at Sony Japan to throwback to the old shit, which me

And also re-release some of the Sony albums on vinyl. Call Me Miss... on grey frosted vinyl, All Yours on gold vinyl? Bitch. My wallet wouldn’t open fast enough.

But Crystal’s team don’t seem to be on their shit, so probabaly won’t even speak to Sony Music Japan, despite them being on a kick where they are regularly posting old / legacy releases. So I guess a Best album which just has the Universal material on it will have to do (although nobody is buying that). And to sneak in the old material, Crystal could release a version of I Sing alongside it which is just an album of self covers of songs from 2000 - 2007. Game the system.

A tour? Let us see. Because Crystal’s team have not been able to book a bitch for anything but Billboard at Christmas. They haven’t even been able to get her some more Broadway gigs. No TV drama acting gigs. So I am sceptical. Not because I don’t believe in Crystal. But because I do not believe in her team. So I don’t want to get my hopes up, just to have them dashed.

As disco album? I could be here for it, if its done right. I Sing and Crystal Kay’s last couple of albums have really shown that the quality of Crystal’s output is dependent on who she is put in the studio with. So if she did ever decide to do a disco album, she would need to have the right team assembled to do it right. Crystal Kay’s A&R team has been a mess post Vivid. But I do think a disco album in the style of the Crystal Kay we know and adore could be an amazing thing. She has the voice. She also has the look. And so rarely do we get concept style albums in Japanese pop. Also, it would be such an easy way to rebrand Crystal in a sense, because I do think a rebrand and a reset is what she needs right now. And doing a disco album is such an easy way to go about that. Also, at a time where city pop is still popular, she could ride this wave too. The more I think about it, the more I feel this could actually be a way for her to go. Not a full on disco album. But definitely something which is disco led.

One of the coolest parts of the interview was Crystal talking her shit about her album Almost Seventeen. I wrote a whole-ass post on how big a part Crystal played in R&B in Japan and this album is a major part of that. So I am glad that she sees that her presence and that album meant something. “Girl U Love” is a Japanese R&B classic. PERIOD.

A shot from Crystal Kay’s shoot as part of her feature with Billboard Japan. But with the background replaced with the yellow backdrop associated with Genius’ Verified series.

Aside from sitting down with Genius Japan, Crystal had also sat with Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi, The Japan Times and The Korea Times where she pretty much shared the same stuff.

πŸ“° “That Girl” is Crystal Kay: Reflecting on 25 Years in the Music Industry and New Single @ Kawaii Kakkoii Sugoi

πŸ“° Crystal Kay’s star sparkles anew with Gen Z fans @ The Japan Times

πŸ“° J-pop artist Crystal Kay explains how multicultural background shaped her life, music @ The Korea Times

I like that Crystal is doing more of these English interviews. Social media is absolute trash. And the Internet be terrible. But the one thing I think they have done for Japanese acts over the past decade is made them realise that they do have fanbases outside of Japan. Prior to this ‘social media age, record labels and management teams weren’t considering markets outside of Japan at all, so acts had no idea that they had sizeable fanbases in other parts of the world. But thanks to social media (and of course, social media should be taken with a grain of salt) and streaming stats, acts and labels can see first-hand the locations and demographics of their fans who are engaging with them.

With Hikaru Utada it was a similar type of thing. Even with albums releasing via Def Jam and the In the Flesh tour, only later on did Hikaru and their team realise ‘OH SHIT. There are hella fans outside of Japan’. Which is why they ended up doing interviews with non Japan publications as part of promo for Bad Mode. Perfume did the same thing around the time their first performed at Coachella and when they did Primavera; as though they hadn’t done shows in packed venues IN Europe and North America prior. So it’s a cool shift to see. And it’s great to see Crystal Kay be a part of that. Even if her career isn’t nowhere near where Hikaru Utada and Perfume’s are - although it absolutely should be.

BUT. I do think it’s a real shame that Crystal isn’t pushing her Sony catalog more, at a time when it can reach more people and give some of those older releases a new lease of life. Especially given how each of those albums still hold. (Spin the Music? I don’t know her). But it don’t mean shit if all of the songs STILL aren’t available for streaming, including “Kirakuni”.

Girl. Fire the whole management and marketing team.

Crystal Kay had said that she doesn’t want to be stuck in the past or spend too much time looking back. But I feel so strongly that in order to move forward, we do have to look back. And Crystal herself has spoken about the fondness she has for her first single and album. So if she wanted to return to that, then what would a bitch need to do? LOOK BACK.

Whilst Crystal figures out where she wants to go, she should pimp her Sony catalog. Not only would she buy herself time, but it would help reignite and grow her fanbase so that she has a larger audience who can rock with her, support her and appreciate what she’s putting out. But spending some time revisiting her past will also help Crystal be methodical and analytical about what it was about her and her music back then that spoke to audiences in a way that her current music seems unable to. And how would she tap back into that and present it in a landscape which is so different from what it was back then.

Toot-toot that ocarina girl. Because your answers lie in the past.