Rié (pronounced ree-ay) Funakoshi - known simply as Rié - is a singer-songwriter of rare melodic grace whose music resonates with the lush splendour of Karen Carpenter and the acoustic intimacy of Suzanne Vega. But there are signs in her sound of an artist teetering on the edge between MOR and the avant-garde. Listening to her reminds you that, from Kate Bush and Björk to Bat For Lash-es, some of the most interesting, experimental pop has one ear attuned to the mainstream. She came to music via painting, having studied Fine Art at London's Central Saint Martin's. When speaking about her art-based background: "I never thought I'd be a singer because I was shy and wanted to create and paint rather than have people look at me onstage," admits Rié, who was born in Japan and grew up in Tokyo in a family of medics ("I didn't get any of their doctor DNA," she laughs). A Rié song might be about anything - she even has one about eyelash extensions - but these are merely the launchpad for a series of thrillingly inventive meditations on the human condition. "There's nothing I wouldn't write about," she says. "I'd welcome the challenge of writing about the most unexpected thing. " "Japanese poetry and writing are all about saying something through something else, implying obliquely," she muses. "In a Japanese poem, if something is beautiful, you never use the word 'beautiful'; you refer to it without spelling it out." Paul Lester, September 2016 Artist logo by Airside Studios Japan
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