ONE OF THE MOST STREAMED ASIAN CLASSICAL ARTISTS
‘Japan is known for having very beautiful seasons. Every day, as we live, we are influenced so much by them – the change of the season, the air, the temperature, the wind, or the smell of the wind. Those are things that inspires us.’
It’s clear that nature is something that is very much at the heart of Akira Kosemura, both the man and the music that he makes. His is a natural talent, born of a fascination with film music, storytelling and a curiosity about the sounds of the world around us. That all shines through in Seasons, but the seeds have been sewn by the musician and composer over the last 15 years and a blossoming career that seemingly grew out of nowhere. Or should that be somewhere?
Tokyo is home for Kosemura, it’s where he was born, and it continues to play an important role in shaping his identity as a composer. It was through walking the streets in and around the Japanese capital that a 20-year-old Kosemura found early inspiration. Those walks were a kind of therapy during a difficult time and he decided to carry an audio recorder with him to capture the soundscapes he encountered. Those field recordings, of life and nature, inspired him to create tracks which brought together elements of what he’d collected with the sound of his piano.
Some of that music was picked up for use in an advert and it was noticed by the Australian label Room40. They released it through their imprint label Something Good as an album called It’s On Everything, which was released when Kosemura was still studying at university in 2007. Suddenly, Akira Kosemura was a composer and a recording artist, and that same year he set up his own record label, Schole Records. From then on he has produced his own albums, and at a rate of nearly one every year. These have included Grassland (2010), One Day (2016) and In the Dark Woods (2017), each has seen him become more musically adventurous, adding electronics, vocals, winds and strings to his expanding toolbox of sounds. Seasons, with its stripped-back piano melodies, is Kosemura’s inaugural recording for UMG and his first release on a major label.
Completely self-taught, Kosemura has truly navigated and furrowed his own path in music. When he was growing up, playing the piano and singing in a school band were the earliest aspects of his musical world, along with trips to the cinema and hours spent immersed in soundtrack albums of music by film composers he really admired. He cites listening to the music of John Williams, James Horner and Thomas Newman as playing a huge part in his musical education; their music and innate ability to shape narrative led him to become interested not just in film music, but instrumental music, too.
It’s no surprise then that creating music for stories has become a regular part of what Akira Kosemura does. His first professional gig was composing music for choreographer Kimiho Hulbert’s 2012 ballet Manon – a self-confessed baptism of fire for the composer, followed by the feature films Embers (2014) and Bring on the Melody (2017). The small screen has beckoned, too, with music for TV series’ such as Japan’s Meet Me After School (2018) and the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Love Is… (2018), while Kosemura’s music has graced an abundance of screen adverts, documentaries, short animated films and even a fashion show. His highest profile works to date include the score for director Naomi Kawase’s film True Mothers, officially selected for screening at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, and the NintendoSwitch video game JackJeanne, while the Jonas Brothers film Chasing Happiness used music from Kosemura’s back catalogue.
All of that music has started out life at the piano or on the keyboard, where Kosemura is at his most comfortable. He was learning to play the piano as young as age three, but the formalities of classical tuition never really grabbed him and he gave it up by the time he reached middle school. He didn’t give up the instrument entirely, though; indeed, the piano remained a source of great inspiration and has always been a crucial creative outlet.
That said, it is sound and its creative tonal possibilities that continue to be at the forefront of what is important to the artist and how he operates. He rarely spends his time on melodies, those seemingly just come to him; instead he is more focused on harmony, chord progression and arrangements.
The result is music that resonates, responds, tells a tale and stays true to everything Akira Kosemura holds dear, everything he feels. Music is in his nature.
“It feels impossible to get tired of, circumscribed and boundless at once.”
by Gilles Peterson
“Peaceful, evocative music”
by Fact Magazine
1985年6月6日東京生まれ。在学中の2007年にソロ・アルバム「It’s On Everything」を豪レーベルより発表後、自身のレーベル「Schole Records」を設立。以降、ソロアルバムをコンスタントに発表しながら、映画やテレビドラマ、ゲーム、舞台、CM音楽の分野で活躍。
主なスコア作品に、瀬々敬久監督による長編映画「ラーゲリより愛を込めて」、河瀨直美監督による長編映画「朝が来る」（カンヌ国際映画祭公式作品【CANNES 2020】選出）、ハリウッドで制作された海外ドラマ「Love Is__」、石田スイ全面プロデュースによる Nintendo Switch 用ゲームソフト「ジャックジャンヌ」、TBS系テレビドラマ「中学聖日記」、コンテンポラリーバレエ公演「MANON」、ミラノ万博・日本館展示作品などがあり、米Amazon オリジナル映画「ジョナス・ブラザーズ 復活への旅」や、ヴェネチア映画祭・金獅子賞を受賞したフランス人監督オドレイ・ディワンのデビュー作「Mais vous êtes fous（Losing It）」、東宝映画「思い、思われ、ふり、ふられ」でも楽曲が使用されている。
近年は、国際的なブランドとのコラボレーションが多く、是枝裕和監督が手掛けたSK-II STUDIOのドキュメンタリー「The Center Lane（池江璃花子）」の音楽や、アパレルブランド TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist. SS22/AW23 コレクション・ランウェイの音楽、LA MER BLUE HEART、LAND ROVER、L’OCCITANE への楽曲提供、米アーティスト Devendra Banhart との共作など、特定の枠に収まらない独自の活動を展開。
また、Spotify が発表する「海外で最も再生された日本人アーティスト／楽曲 Top10」に2017年、2018年連続でランクインしたほか、米国メディア「Pitchfork」、豪州新聞紙「THE AGE」、フランス公共放送「FIP」、カナダ公共放送「Ici Musique」にてその才能を賞賛されるなど、国内外から注目される作曲家。
2022年より名門デッカ・レコードと契約を結び、EP『Pause (almost equal to) Play』をワールドリリース、ジョン・レジェンドの新作『レジェンド アクトⅠ＆Ⅱ』収録の「ジ・アザー・ワンズ feat. ラプソディ」でも自身の楽曲がサンプリング使用されるなど、世界を舞台とした活躍を続けている。