biography - 28.05.2008 22:00


The trio of SOUL'd OUT arrived at the hip-hop music industry by radically disparate routes. Diggy-MO'', the lead MC is actually a classically trained pianist although exposure to rap and blues while in high school and then to hip-hop group, The Roots in college motivated him into forming his own hip-hop band. He continues to cite Mozart, Liszt and other classical artists among his influences though. Bro.Hi meanwhile was a fan of blues since a young age. His early experience however was through '70s progressive rock bands such as The Doors and The Who that he was exposed to while studying in Australia that encouraged him to get involved in music. Bro.Hi begun life as a drummer until Jim Morrison persuaded him otherwise. He too found inspiration from The Roots while in high school and sought to emulate the beat-boxing style. The final member, Shinnosuke was always a melody-maker. Throughout high school he held dual interests of art and music that ultimately led to his interest in creating melodies rather than as a lyricist or vocalist.

The three met in 1999 although they did not start their activities as a band until 2001. In 2002, Diggy-MO'', Bro.Hi and Shinnosuke joined the female hip-hop duo, Heartsdales on tour playing at clubs across Japan. The success of this tour led to the release of their own self-funded CD, 'Demo Tracks' at branches of Tsutaya. It sold out and the band was soon scouted by m-flo's Verbal. Before long they made their major debut with the single, Weakapipo, which was swiftly followed by a second, Flyte Time. This second broke into the top ten of Oricon and paved the way for the first album, SOUL'd OUT. This album performed even better reaching third position on Oricon with 450.000 sales; a huge number for a newcomer. Together with a popular collaboration with female duo, Heartsdales (Candy Pop), the fourth single Love Peace and Soul cemented a successful first full year with its use in a TV drama.

If anything, 2004 was only more successful for the trio with a part in the Toshinobu Kubota tribute album performing La La La Love Song with BoA (a song made famous by the 1997 drama, Long Vacation). In addition SOUL'd OUT embarked on their first countrywide tour, culminating at Zepp Tokyo and then performing as support artists for Mary J Blige at her Japanese concert. This rise to success was rapid considering it was only their second year of proper activities. SOUL'd OUT have also been joined by a number of support members throughout the years with supplement instruments for their music including JUNKOO, a piano player, Suzuki Shunsuke, a guitarist and finally DJ Mass who is credited on a couple of songs for his remixing.

SOUL'd OUT's success would continue over the next few years: while they have never hit the true heady heights of mega-stardom they are considered as one of the forefront hip-hop bands in Japan. They continued their collaborations with various artists in the Japanese music industry including BoA and BENNIE K in 2004, then as part of the m-flo loves series with m-flo loves EMYLI & DIGGY'MO and the track, DOPAMINE. Meanwhile as a group, SOUL'd OUT released their second album, To All Tha Dreamers, which outperformed their first reaching number two on Oricon charts.

The successes of subsequent releases remained constant reaching the upper echelons of the charts with their albums. Their highest ranking single release to date though has been Starlight Destiny, which reached number six on the Oricon charts in September 2006. This success has not since been emulated but it led, in April 2007 to their first concert at Nippon Budokan at Kudanshita in Tokyo with an audience of 10 000. The concert was filmed and eventually released as a DVD.

The end of 2007 saw the band on a hectic release schedule with three tied singles: MEGALOPOLIS PATROL, TONGUE TE TONGUE and COZMIC TRAVEL issued consecutively with only a month dividing them. Individually therefore the CDs did not rank quite as high on the Oricon charts. 2008 has started well though, with a new album, ATTITUDE, a tour culminating at Yokohama Blitz in April and participation in a music festival in Niigata: "WAVE MUSIC FES 2008 IN NAEBA". It certainly does not look as though the trio are slowing down anytime soon!
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