Billboard Japan and TikTok joined forces for the first time on Sunday (June 28) for the “MusicCrossAid” special live stream, featuring live performances and DJ sets by some of the most popular acts from the first half of this year and the ones expected to break through in the coming months.
The show was hosted on the short video platform’s “TikTok LIVE” feature before its official launch, streaming performances taking place at Billboard Live Tokyo and Billboard Live Yokohama. More than 285,000 viewers logged in to enjoy the live stream.
Alongside the performances by six J-pop acts, multi-creator Mai Ujita introduced a special video featuring the veteran a cappella group Gospellers celebrating 25 years in music and the boy band DISH//, whose latest version of “Neko” written by hitmaker Aimyon is taking off, mainly on social media. Also, Tones and I joined in from Australia with performances of her hits “Dance Monkey” and “Never Seen the Rain.”
In between sets, DJ RINA and DJ Sho-hey each presented 30-minute mini-DJ sets, with the latter hyping up the comment section by building his playlist around tracks by THE RAMPAGE from EXILE TRIBE — which he belongs to as one of its performers — and other hits by LDH’s popular groups.
The first act to hit the stage at Billboard Live Tokyo was Novelbright, whose street performance from last year created a buzz online after being shared on TikTok. The five-member band performed acoustic versions of five songs, mainly from their first full studio album, WONDERLAND, including “Kimi-iro Note,” “Yumehanabi” and their long-running streaming hit “Walking with you.”
Meanwhile, the first artist to perform live from Yokohama was Eito, the breakout artist whose poignant ballad “Kousui” (“Perfume”) became a major favorite on TikTok this year and went on to become his first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. Accompanied by an acoustic guitar, the young Yokohama native performed four songs including his first big hit, grinning shyly as he introduced himself and addressed viewers in between songs and appeared to revel in his first set at the new venue.
The rising singer milet followed with a selection of songs from her latest album, eyes, which stayed at No. 1 on Billboard Japan’s Hot Albums chart for two consecutive weeks. Familiar numbers such as “us” and “inside you” took on a different ambience when arranged for piano and acoustic guitar, highlighting milet’s distinctively robust vocals.
Back in Tokyo, up-and-coming band Ryokuoushoku Shakai opened their set with their profound ballad “Omoibito,” the Roppongi nightscape glimmering beyond the glass walls behind the stage. The band kicked things up a notch, performing two upbeat numbers showcasing frontwoman Haruko Nagaya’s clear, high-pitched vocals.
The members expressed their joy of being able to perform live throughout the set — saying, “I’m so happy” and “This is so fun” to each other in between songs — and ending their performance with “Ippo” off their latest digital album, SINGALONG, which they selected as the perfect match for Billboard Live Tokyo.
Singer-songwriter Dai Hirai (HIRAIDAI) didn’t disappoint as the only solo artist to perform in the live stream, delivering his signature soulful vocals surrounded by numerous candles onstage.
After opening with a couple of mid-tempo numbers, he continued with a simple, heartfelt ukulele version of “Inoribana 2020,” then closed his 30-minute non-stop set with his new song “Boku ga kimi ni dekiru koto” (“What I can do for you”), accompanying himself on acoustic guitar to sing about the importance of spending time with loved ones.
Popular singer-songwriter Leo Ieiri wrapped up the 4.5-hour live stream with a short-but-sweet selection of tracks from her latest EP, Answer, released in May. Wielding a red Mustang electric guitar, she kicked off her set with “Overflow,” then went on to perform the title track of her latest EP.
Before her emotional rendition of “Mikansei” (“Incomplete”), she mentioned how her songs are often used on TikTok’s popular “Oshi-mem Douga” (collage videos of a user’s favorite celebrity or band member) and explained that she wanted to lay bare the various aspects of love in the song. She ended her segment with a raw cover of Elephant Kashimashi’s classic rock number “Kanashimi no hate,” also included in her new EP.