Asia-Pacific

Dreams Come True Band

Dreams Come True performing at the Highline Ballroom in New York on Oct. 9 & 10, 2011. Miwa Yoshida (center), Masato Nakamura (far right).

2011 was another banner year for the Japanese superstars Miwa Yoshida and Masato Nakamura, and their Dreams Come True band. The band toured extensively in Japan this past summer, playing before over 400,000 fans at more than ten live concerts, while sales of the band's records continue at a brisk pace. Dreams Come True has sold more than 55 million records worldwide since its inception in 1989.  The band continues its reign as one of the most acclaimed Japanese music groups of all time.

This past fall, for the first time in almost a decade, the band toured the United States, playing five concerts at four venues on the east and west coasts. The venues were sold out months in advance of the scheduled performances. Fans packed each concert hall, and audiences gave enthusiatic support to the band during each performance. At the Highline Ballroom in New York, crowds waited outside the venue to get in for up to two hours, and many fans waited after the concert in the hopes of personally meeting Yoshida and Nakamura. 

Reviewers of the U.S. tour lauded the band's performances. One critic of the first of two shows at New York City's Highline Ballroom noted that Yoshida was "radiantly beautiful" and "full of aerobic energy" and that her "voice was flawless in pitch, dynamics and emotional expressiveness." The reviewer also remarked on Nakamura's "keen sense of harmonic arrangement" and said that Nakamura's "smooth handling and control of the six-string put him in the leading ranks of rock bass guitarists."

Clearly, all these years later, Yoshida, Nakamura and their Dreams Come True band persist with their "golden voice."  They continue to delight their listeners and to produce music which is appreciated across Japan and around the world.

With their enduring success and popularity, one might consider whether Dreams Come True might be able to achieve a crossover into the American music scene. Unlike some Latin international stars such as Gloria Estafan, Marc Anthony and Shakira, Japanese music stars have never been able to break into the American market in a significant way. No doubt, the presence of many Americans of Hispanic heritage has contributed to the ability of certain Latin music stars to acquire a presence in the American music market. Unfortunately, Japanese language singers do not enjoy the same advantage.

There is little question as to the superstar status of Yoshida, Nakamura and the DCT band. The band's 1992 record, "The Swinging Star," was the first Japanese album to sell more than three million copies. In 1996, Yoshida was featured on the cover of Time Magazine Asia and was described as one of the world's leading "divas of pop." The band has continued to produce hit after hit and to give sold out concert tours. The band remains one of the all time leading creators and sellers of music in Japan.  This year again, the band played before large crowds in Japan, with often up to 50,000 or more in attendance at the band's concerts.

So the question arises: Given their enormous long term popularity, can the DCT band yet become the first Japanese music group to attain significant recognition in the United States?  

Actually, Dreams Come True has been there before. More than a decade ago, the band made a limited effort to break into the American music market. In 1993, the band recorded the acclaimed "Winter Song," the opening theme song for the film "Sleepless in Seattle." The following year, the group performed the song "Eternity" for the animated film "The Swan Princess." In 1998, the band released its first English album, "Sing or Die -Worldwide Version-."  The band later followed with two more albums sung in English. While these efforts provided a greater degree of recognition in the United States, the band did not persist in its efforts to achieve a breakthrough in the United States.

During the last Dreams Come True tour in the U.S. in 2002, the band performed almost entirely in English. In 2011, the band performed almost exclusively in Japanese.  The 2011 tour generated great enthusiasm among the strong following which Dreams Come True has in the United States Japanese community. 

The remarkable long term tenure and celebrity status of Yoshida, Nakamura and the Dreams Come True band, suggests that a significant appeal to the American music public might yet be well received.  The performances by the group in their all too short 2011 tour provides a reminder of the band's superlative performance ability and strong audience appeal.

While the U.S. has its share of domestic music stars, the American public has been willing to accept and appreciate foreign-based artists as well. Certainly, if any band in Japan can achieve the elusive "crossover" to the American market, the longstanding, highly prominent and popular artists Miwa Yoshida and Masato Nakamura can make that dream come true. 

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