J-pop singer-songwriter Yuka recently livestreamed a compact set for fans as the featured artist of November on Billboard Japan and TikTok’s hybrid program NEXT FIRE.
NEXT FIRE is a show on TikTok Live that highlights the rising J-pop artists of the moment, based on Billboard Japan’s TikTok Weekly Top 20 chart. The collaborative project streams live performances and pre-recorded interviews by the featured act of the month to give fans an in-depth look at their artistry. Yuka’s showcase set included her breakout TikTok hit “Partner,” which has over 650 million views on the short movie platform.
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Accompanied by guitarist Toshio Uchida and keyboardist Ken Edo for her compact studio concert, the 28-year-old singer-songwriter kicked off the set with “Marry me,” her mature yet cute vocals echoing over the soundscape created by an acoustic guitar and piano. “It’s only for a short time today, but we intend to enjoy this show together with you so feel free to clap your hands and sing along with us,” she said to viewers after the song, while Uchida played an airy melody behind her.
From there, the trio smoothly launched into “Hey girl!!!!,” a song with lyrics that speak to the listener, delivered through Yuka’s skillful blend of pop vocals and falsetto. She then sang the heartrending ballad “Ichirenboshi,” first accompanied only by piano and later joined by guitar,  which added another layer to the arrangement. Her voice gradually grew stronger during the number and drew the audience into the gentle longing depicted in the lyrics.
“So many of you have used my songs in various videos on TikTok,” Yuka said before her next track. “I’d like to sing you the song that you all seemed to have enjoyed while using it to make memories with friends or delivering a loving message to the important people in your lives.” The three musicians then performed “Bestie,” the uplifting rhythm bouncing along as Yuka gestured for the viewers beyond the screen to clap their hands. Packed with phrases that make fans want to sing along delivered through a variety of vocal styles, the live rendition of the popular tune showcased Yuka’s appeal as a vocalist.
“The next song is one that I’m sure you all know,” she teased before her next-to-last track. “I’d be happy if you’d sing along with me.” The song was “Partner,” another viral hit on TikTok. The livestream’s comment section brimmed with excitement as fans hadn’t expected her to perform this number with a catchy melody and relatable lyrics.
After introducing her backing band, she closed her set with “Birthday Song.” This affirming, celebratory song set the tone for the grand finale. Yuka thanked the audience again during the outro of the tune and the set ended leaving a happy vibe.
A pre-recorded interview by Yuka will stream on Billboard Japan’s TikTok channel starting Nov. 11, and excerpts from the livestream can be seen on the singer-songwriter’s TikTok account.
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