Who Is Imase? The First J-Pop Artist To Crack Melon’s Top 100

You might not know his name, but you have probably heard his voice.

Imase, a 21-year-old Japanese artist, recently became a hot topic on Korean blogging forums after his song entered the Melon 100 chart, the first Japanese song to achieve the feat.

| @imase11_9/Instagram

Imase is already a well-known name on TikTok, where his songs frequently go viral. In fact, his music is best known in South Korea through TikTok’s trending audios. Still, it was quite a surprise when his track “Night Dancer” broke through Melon’s chart, and it got more people intrigued about this young talent.

So, who is Imase beyond his TikTok recognition, and how did he get into music? Here are some fun facts about the singer:

Learned Production In A Short Time:

Imase started making music in 2020, prior to which he had no formal training in the field. He took a year to learn music production, following producers on TikTok. He started with the basics and slowly built up his skills bit by bit to create full-fledged songs.

I tried so hard. I looked into it online and found an article saying you should keep at it every day, even if it’s just for an hour. I didn’t know anything, but I stuck to it every day, little by little, and expanded my arsenal.

—Imase, Tokion 

Taught Himself To Play Instruments:

While honing his production skills, the singer also learned how to play the guitar and the keyboard from scratch by himself. He has developed a good grip on how chords work and is confident about his keyboard playing. But he admitted that he still has a long way to go with the guitar.

Songwriting Formula:

The first song by Imase that went viral on TikTok in Japan was called “n1ght.” The response was much bigger than his expectations, and he eventually sat down to understand what exactly contributed to the song’s virality.

The BPM of that song is about 90, so I did some research on my own, thinking that I could make a good song in that tempo with six to eight words in four bars.

—Imase, Tokion 

But with more analysis, he realized that there is no definite formula to make a viral song. As for his process of writing songs, Imase starts with production. Once he has the track, he then builds a melody and finally fills it with lyrics. One interesting fact about his lyric writing is he tries to follow the format of a haiku or a tanka in his songs because settling on a definite number of syllables helps him write better.

When I try to write the words first, I can’t think of any interesting phrases. I think you can create a newer expression if you write lyrics like a haiku or tanka. I can put down more interesting words when I decide on the number of words in a melody, like eight.

—Imase, Tokion 

Career Achievements:

Though Imase had many of his self-produced tracks go viral on TikTok, his official debut was in 2021, with the song “Have A Nice Day.” He released the song after landing a record deal with Universal Music Japan. “Night Dancer,” the song that hit the Korean charts, was one of his 2022 singles. He has released two singles so far this year. One of them, titled “Utau,” is a part of Universal Music Japan’s Pokémon Music Collective. The project is in collaboration with The Pokémon Company, and its objective is to release a collection of new music that is inspired by the music and sounds found within the iconic video game.

Future Goals:

Imase is not shy to admit that he wants to go viral with his music. Popular recognition is what inspires him to work harder, and his goals are indeed number-oriented. As a musician, he is focused on earning the milestone streaming stat of 100 million streams!

Source: Tokion
Scroll to top