Miwa Gemini
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Miwa Gemini

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Pop Jazz




"East-meets-West fairy tales abound in the New York folk singer's second release"

Look up Miwa Gemini on the Web and you’re likely to find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a fairy tale. The Japan-born, New York–based folk singer’s biography reads: “Miwa was born sometime, somewhere, (long, long, time ago in a far away land),” then recounts a brief romance with Frankenstein and a witch’s curse that turned her best friend into a porcelain cat.

So maybe "facts" aren't Gemini's forte. With an imagination like hers, they don't really have to be. But her fanciful stories aren't all she has to offer. In particular, there's her new album, This Is How I Found You. It's a wispy collection of delicately woven songs that — while youthfully sweet and fairytale on the surface — embodies haunting themes full of the real-world heartache familiarly attributed to American country-western albums.

All this, and Gemini never lived in the United States until college, when she moved from Japan to study photography at NYU. While on the late-winter 2008 tour supporting her March 18 release, Gemini explained via phone how a childhood full of Hans Christian Andersen, American movies, and pop music was preparation enough for life in the West.

You went to NYU for photography, so when did you realize you wanted to do music, instead?
It’s really funny, but it was when I had my first big break as a photographer. I was shooting for a British magazine called Tank. I was doing fashion and working with very high-end models and stylists. That day, after the shoot, I kind of looked at it and said: “I really don’t … care. This is too hard. And if I’m going to suffer, I might as well suffer for something I really love, which has always been music.”

You grew up in Japan, yet there’s a very country-western feel to your music. Who inspired that?
I do love Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Carter Family... I like the storytelling part of those songs; it fascinates me. You know what it is — I think — is that it’s so far away from where I grew up that it really gets my imagination going.

It’s interesting that so much of your music reflects those artists, especially since you came here when you were already an adult.
It’s partly that my parents were a big influence on me. We had more Beatles records in our house than Japanese music. All the books that I read were Western classics like Little Women, and [Vivien] Alcock’s children’s books. And both of my parents are big classic movie fans, so I watched Lilies in the Field when I was probably 10. I can’t even imagine the imagery right now, but it’s set in a big field with a tiny church in the middle of the desert — that’s as far as can be from Japan.

How would you describe your new album, This Is How I Found You?
It’s not as happy as it looks, but it’s certainly not as sad as it pretends to be. My first album [2005’s Forgetful Oceans and Other Strange Stories], my friends pointed out — maybe a year or so ago — that it’s definitely a break-up album. I had no idea that it was. I think this one is definitely more grown-up.

What is it that you like about fairy tales? Why do you write them?
I guess because [they’re] intangible. I write reality into fantasy and fantasy into reality. And fairy tales are stories that play on both those things. And you question, “Was that real, or was that in my head?” I feel like the ordinary world as it is, is so drab. You have to make it interesting yourself.

What’s your favorite fairy tale?
It’s called What the Moon Saw. It’s a collection of 22 stories that are written from the point of view of the moon. He goes around the globe. Some stories are sad; some stories are funny. It touches you; you feel it instantly. Even though they’re stories that were written years ago in a place you’ve never been, the emotions feel familiar. It’s beautiful — every single story. - Amy Oprean, Venus Zine

"Grizzly Roses lies may be fantastic, but Geminis songwriting is terrific as well."

Weirdos always make great music, and anyone who writes a soundtrack to her own made-up tale about a muse she met in Joshua Tree over 100 years ago gains the title of “weirdo”. Van Gogh and Einstein were also anything but normal, so Miwa Gemini shouldn’t frown at that label. Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose is one of the more artistic albums released this year, displaying a variety of sounds such as Italian waltz, country western, and “Misirlou”-style surf rock, but without ever getting too “out there”. Gemini studied classical music while growing up in Japan, and later she studied art in NYC, where she still resides. It’s apparent that her experiences with both eastern and western cultures is what grants her such an eclectic sound. - Pop Matters

"The Warm Up with Miwa Gemini"

One of our favorite finds of the last few weeks is folk songstress Miwa Gemini and her beautiful new album Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose. We were delighted when we found out that she’d be playing at The Buccaneer Lounge with another local chanteuse Amy Lavere TONIGHT!. We became even more excited when Miwa agreed to stop by Ardent Studios to share a few songs with us. She’ll be touring all summer long so be sure to take a listen to this very intimate acoustic set recorded exclusively for TVD. - The Vinyl District


By Beverly Bryan
April 28, 2011
Singer-songwriter Miwa Gemini grew up in Japan studying the piano and listening to The Carpenters. She started writing songs on the guitar as a teenager, but didn’t seriously pursue her strange, dark country-folk leanings until she moved to New York to study photography.

Her approach to Americana is fairly traditional but that doesn’t mean it’s predictable or staid. She’s an artist, like My Brightest Diamond, who, having received formal musical training, starts out with all the tools of the trade arrayed in front of her. Considering that, it’s remarkable that she would gravitate toward the often gloomy sounds of old-time US music, taking up the banjo and mandolin, in addition to the guitar.

The multi-instrumentalist approaches those sounds with a haunting theatricality and indie rock sincerity that makes Mirah her closest musical cousin. But there is so much breadth to her music that it’s hard to link her to any one influence. She has written fuzzed-out blues stompers where she channels Holly Golightly and wistful ballads that touch on Cat Power’s musical universe. And even on, say, a simple song about a picnic, an edge of Nick Cave-style danger seems to lurk around every corner.

Her forthcoming third LP The Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose promises to be a fanciful and musically intricate vision that centers on the mysterious and larger-than-life heroine of the album’s title.

If the song “Goodnight Trail” off the album is at all representative, Miwa Gemini’s lyrical world is growing more surreal, while her relationship with her country and folk source materials is growing more profound and intimate. There’s something magic about the moaning accordion and her sighing delivery in the song that evokes cool night winds and old legends no one remembers. But we’ll have to wait until Grizzly Rose comes out May 31 to get the whole story. - MTV Iggy

"Premiere: Miwa Gemini: "Goodnight Trail" Video"

Folk-pop artist Miwa Gemini released her third album, Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose, via Rock Park Records this past spring. Today, we're premiering the vid for the spacey Western ballad, "Goodnight Trail." It is a classy black-and-white assemblage of the New York-via-Japan artist performing the song at home and in the live setting. Enjoy. - Under The Radar

"The Mysterious Miwa Gemini"

The Mysterious Miwa Gemini
And the Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose
The most New York’s Miwa Gemini will say about her stage name is that Gemini is her astrological sign. She won’t reveal her actual name—but that’s OK, because she doesn’t care to talk too much about herself in her music.

Miwa Gemini
Most of Miwa Gemini’s songs are intricate, guitar-based pieces riddled with twisted horns and fleshed out with eerie minor-key strains. A casual listen conjures images of some mysterious chanteuse serenading a dark, back-alley barroom, but in real life she’s straightforward and modest.

The complex chords in her songs show she’s quite adept in music theory—in fact, she’s classically trained, having studied piano since her childhood in Japan. She deserves to be a little cocky about her talent. But she isn’t. She even admits it took some time for her to believe in her own ability to write music. She originally moved to the Big Apple under the guise of studying photography.

“I actually wanted to do music all along, but I just didn’t have the guts to really face it,” she says. “It’s funny because I played a lot of shows with other bands before I played my first open-mic by myself, so I’d been onstage and everything before, but never as a main singer and not by myself. It was the scariest thing I’d ever done. I remember looking at the exit door from the stage and thinking, ‘Maybe if I just run they won’t say anything.’”

Still, she pushed through the show and thrust her creativity into the limelight. Since then, she has built a loose network of friends who collaborate with her and help realize her songs. “I have a full band of three or more people sometimes,” she says, “but for this tour it’s just me and Aaron [Burns], who plays accordion, piano and glockenspiel.”

From the chords to the song structures to the unusual choice of instruments, her music exudes adventurousness and confidence—a far cry from the girl with stage fright at open-mic night.

Gemini is just more comfortable speaking through her music. Her vocals recall Björk’s haunting timbre with a more direct delivery. Then there’s her guitar tone: warm and quiet but assertive enough to string the whole package together.

“Guitar is definitely my [primary] instrument, but having a classical background definitely influences the way I write music and the way I approach guitar, even though I’ve never studied guitar; I’m self-taught,” she says. “I almost never use picks, and I feel like that approach comes from the piano.”

Lyrically, she focuses on the folk tradition of storytelling. Though she doesn’t listen to much in the way of conventional folk music, she does enjoy darker, “non-Disney” fairy tales in the vein of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen. She also names Tom Waits as a chief lyrical influence, referring to him as "hilarious."

"I like the classic fairy tales, you know, the original ones that not always necessarily have a happy ending," she says. "It’s more strange and beautiful."

Which brings us around to Grizzly Rose, the mysterious woman Gemini fashioned for her quasi-concept album, Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose, which was released just a couple weeks ago. She’s cautious to call Grizzly Rose her alter-ego, merely stating “it’d definitely be cool to be her.”

"The way I look at it, I was lucky enough for her to appear. I didn’t really create her," Gemini explains, adding to Rose's mystique. "She just appeared and said, ‘I want my story to be known… you will do.’"

As the playfully gothic cover art (à la Tim Burton) suggests, the music retains a quality that’s edgy yet buoyant, unsettling yet never bleak—a quality that fits Gemini’s description of Grizzly Rose pretty damn well.

John Barrett
- Flagpole

"Miwa Gemini announces third album + tour"

In Miwa Gemini's music we hear elements as disparate as the stylized, intense atmospheres of The Doors, Chris Garneau's playful, whispered pop experiments, and late Tom Waits' decadent sonic carnival. The female element of Miwa's delicate, magical soprano defies all comparisons, contributing to a sound that's quite unique in today's overcrowded music scene. The NYC based artists will be releasing her third full length album, "Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose", on May 31, and tour the East coast in June. - NYC Deli Magazine

"Review: Miwa Gemini Shines at the Can Can on her Grizzly Rose Tour"

Pike Place Market is under renovation. While the Sanitary Market was under construction, the Can Can was temporarily relocated to the upstairs, above the fish and the lucky pig. There was nowhere near enough spilled beer and music danced into the floor to make up for that unavoidable new venue sheen.
Now back in its original space, the Can Can has once again donned its hobo coat of old songs and broken heart pleasures. The too-high ceilings and too-much square footage has been replaced by the low ceilings, candle light, and elbow-to-elbow vibe that makes the Can Can a perfect venue for an act like Miwa Gemini.
While Miwa prepared to go on, the performers from the preceding cabaret show made the crowd seem like a dreamlike carnival. Belly dancers rubbed shoulders with a bearded lady, and a cowboy chatted up a shirtless strongman. Everyone was well into their second or third glass of wine, and the evening’s show was yet to begin. The accordion and glockenspiel sound check complemented this atmosphere perfectly, and signaled to the audience that it was time to get another drink, and find a seat.
The show started small and delicate, with Miwa’s gentle guitar, and Aaron Burns playing whole notes on the accordion like a warm blanket. Then Miwa’s voice came out large over the instrument sounds, and everyone felt it. Miwa sings with guts. Strengthened from the recently finished first leg of the tour in the Southeast, she is self-assured, and when she leans back from the mic and belts it out, it’s magic.
Between songs Miwa interacts with the audience, telling little stories and jokes. She’s entirely comfortable on the stage; it’s obvious that they are relaxed, and having a good time. The fun that this Brooklyn duo has on stage would make They Might Be Giants proud.
Despite the limited instrumentation, Miwa and Aaron create a great range of sound. They played a couple of covers, both perfectly suited to their aesthetic, and to the Can Can – ‘Jockey Full of Bourbon’, by Tom Waits, and the lovely 1950s song ‘Que Sera Sera‘. They played a song about an imaginary elephant named Zoe and a trapeze artist named Scarlet that had a tasty circus feel. ‘Pioneertown Love Story’ has the most inventive guitar work; with a slightly trashy bent slide guitar sound, it’s their most dance-friendly song. To go down a fun, Miwa Gemini Youtube rabbit hole, start here, with ‘The Goodnight Trail’.
This show was only the second in what will no doubt be a series of fun shows on the west coast. When they come to your town, go see them. You’ll have a good time. - Culture Mob

"Miwa Gemini has found us"

Cute as a button and talented as few, Miwa Gemini is a breath of fresh air to the female “singer-song writer” stable. Her voice is sweet, yet deep, and her folk-music stands out from the crowd thanks to the use of banjo and mandolin. It’s a bit like throwing The Mountain Goats together with Nina Simone and Tom Waits: hazy, organic, and simply stunning.

Miwa’s second full-length album, “This Is How I Found You”, is already out in Canada, but a US and Europe release is scheduled for March 18, 2008. And I highly recommend that you pick it up.
- Cecilia, Rocksellout.com

"Indie Week Live: Miwa Gemini"

In a small room perched at the top of the Big Bop, above the street and the traffic and the city rushing and happening all about, something very pretty transpired in the form of Miwa Gemini on Friday night. Gemini casts a strange spell. Her Japanese accent, slight stature, and strangely kinetic lyrics are reminiscent of Bjork's distinct style of cerebral pop.

Alone, but impervious at the front of the room, she radiates a powerful and unimposing charisma that rendered the small crowd of several dozen mute and enraptured. Even more impressive was that she accomplished this with little more than her guitar and a porcelain cat — and a little help from a friend on accordion during a couple of the songs — creating a simple, but enthralling, blues-tinged form of elfin folk.

Unlike a lot of the bands showcased as part of this year's Indie Week, there was a natural authenticity to Miwa's performance. Whereas other groups struggled to command attention, Miwa's simple guitar rhythms and haunting, other-worldly lyrics effortlessly deserved it. No wonder then that she was one of last year's winners. Playing songs such as "Charlie Chaplin Broke My Heart," "Forever for Never" and "Pieces," New York-based Gemini took the crowd through a half hour of enchanting melodies and comfortable banter; one of the best and least pretentious performances of the entire week. - Soundproof.com

"Miwa Gemini live @ Hotel Cafe, April 08"

When the opportunity to check out New York-based singer-songwriter Miwa Gemini live at the Hotel Cafe came up recently I jumped at the chance based on one line in the PR materials: "Think Nina Simone meets Sparklehorse meets Cat Power, and you're getting close." Intrigued, I showed up Sunday evening to the Hotel Cafe, nabbed a seat in the room's soothing darkness, and was utterly blown away.

Hailing originally from Japan, Gemini came to the US first as a high school senior via a study abroad program that took her to Columbus, Ohio. Craving the excitement of New York, Gemini moved eastward after high school, and studied graphic design at NYU then embarked on a career in photography. Music has always been a part of her life, and she soon began to write and record (Flagpole.com).

Gemini's stop at the Hotel Cafe was part of a tour in support of her current release, This Is How I Found You, which came out in March following an earlier Canadian release. Her sound is hard to pinpoint; her influences are clearly in the American songwriting traditions of folk, blues, country, and rockabilly, which oddly enough seems to put her in the catch-all contemporary category of "indie."

Gemini took the stage with just her guitar, playing a short set of songs from her current album and one brilliant cover that was unplanned. The overall tone of her music is moody and steeped in the conventions and lore of storytelling or a particular musical genre, for example, she explained that her song "Traveling Man" was written in the style of the great women of country, such as Dolly Parton, who all had mournful songs about men who went a-wandering.

What was particularly enchanting about this performance, though, was that once the song came to its end (the fed-up woman leaves her no-good-cheatin' man) Gemini addressed the fact that she'd felt at a certain point that the song could go in another direction, and that the story could take on another dimension.
"Would you like to hear it?" she offered, and we eagerly accepted it. She took up the song with another verse, this time having the troubled couple reconcile and travel forever together; by giving us--and herself--the option to make a choice for ourselves she took not only her song but her storytelling to another level, a feat that is best accomplished live.

What Gemini's album does not reveal that a live performance opens the door for is the immense power of her vocals. She transitions effortlessly between moments of soft spoken musing to a powerful belt reminiscent of the great Broadway showtune bellowers. This was best illustrated when she opted to play a cover of Johnny Cash's iconic "Ring of Fire" (citing having heard some Cash on the sound system just before she went onstage as her reason for having Cash on her mind).

However, instead of the bouncier cowboy rhythm of the original she slowed it down and gave it a resonant dirge-like quality that lent itself remarkably well to the despairing theme of the song. The verses were narrated in a gentle hush, then the pain of the descent into love's fiery hell was translated with enormous force, with the scant trace of her Japanese accent infiltrating her pronunciation adding one more layer of vulnerability to the already heartbreaking melody.

Despite the overall moodiness of her music, there is much about Gemini that is whimsical and lighthearted, from the way she assigns people in her life humorous monikers in song ("Charlie Chaplin Broke My Heart" is about a love affair gone awry with a mischievous fellow) to the way she explains how she got her "stage" name. It all began when the domain name "miwa.com" wasn't free, and so she added her starsign and registered miwagemini.com, which encouraged people to think "Gemini" was her last name. She tried going as "miwagemini" but when iTunes added her music, they split it first and last, and the deal was done. On her MySpace blog she concludes: "in the end it’s kind of like my cat - i didn’t pick him, he picked me. i didn’t pick my name, my name picked me."

Bits of the magical and mythical seep into her songs; there are bewitching moons and heartsick wishes at every turn. At times her delivery--a powerful pixie-like punctuation--is reminiscent of Bjork, and despite the often sad subject matter, inspires a giggly feeling. Gemini is, in short, enchanting. Sadly for Angelenos, she is headed back to her New York home now, but hopefully will be out this way again soon. In the meantime, carve out a little hollow of time and space for yourself and draw her album, This Is How I Found You in. And I'll see you at her next LA show.
- Lindsay William-Ross/LAist

"Incendiary Mag"

This is Miwa Gemini’s second album and, although I haven’t heard the first, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to be this good two albums in. The press release throws names like Bjork and Cat Power at me, but I’m put in mind of Aimee Mann more than anyone. There’s a distinct sadness to the overall tone, but there’s a wry smile there too. You know that feeling when a storm has just died? When the air is wet and cold and the world just feels incredibly fresh? Well, this album is the soundtrack to that moment. Emerging from New York like a newly hatched butterfly, Miwa’s gorgeous little album will give all those women that cry as soon as Bjork opens her mouth somebody else to get obsessed about. You know as well as I do that you need that kind of beauty in your life. - Damian Leslie


The Music Slut recently featured an artist named Miwagemini. (For a few extra songs, check out Miwagemini’s MySpace page, here.)

The song that the Music Slut linked to, “Pieces,” is a weird kind of not-song, and not at all the sort of thing I’m usually into. I can’t stop thinking about it, though, and the more I hear it, the better it gets.

The artists listed as influences—Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, and so on—are there, but I also keep hearing something that nobody else is mentioning: I think Miwagemini sounds like Siouxsie Sioux run through a turn-of-the-century folk group. She—they?—will be playing in Olympia on April 5th, in Vancouver on the 6th, and…in Portland on the 9th. Maybe somebody should book her (them?) in Seattle for one of those days in between. I’d be really curious to see what the crowd at a Miwagemini show looks like. - Paul Constant, The Stranger

"Hi Miwa Gemini, I'm a Libra and I love the banjo."

It takes a very special talent to never feel constrained by time limits — as if you’re truly only making music for yourself — but it can indeed happen. Miwa Gemini, a NYC indie-folk songstress widely characterized as a mashup of Tom Waits and Björk, runs the gamut on her latest effort, This Is How I Found You (released March 18), from the two-minute dirty blues to the six-plus-minute reflective piano ballad to the sub-one-minute, Cat Stevens-esque acoustic outro. The mysterious quirkiness of it all, however, rings more of Jesca Hoop or perhaps even Fiona Apple. Thankfully, this dark element is a holdover from her previous release. What’s new (and you wonder how you could have lived without it previously) is the banjo and the mandolin, which don’t so much change the tone as make one simply think more about it. And, to complete the image, she has some pretty bizarre stories posted on her website. You fortunate many on the West Coast can witness the spectacle in person — starting April 5 at the ABC House in Olympia, WA and working down to the Hotel Cafe by April 13. April 8 will see her at Skylark in Seattle. - Three Imaginary Girls

"Berkley Place / Word Press"

The first song on Miwa Gemini’s new record, “Picnic,” is a somewhat creepy song that brings to mind Tom Waits (but with a better singer) and Bjork (but with more linear songwriting). After all that quiet longing, the record transports us to barroom blues/country, with “Traveling Man” (“My man’s a traveling man/He don’t tell me where he’s been/But it’s not hard to find out where he’s been/He leaves a trail of broken hearts”). Right after that comes “Something Ordinary:” A sad, old-style ballad. And I’m thinking, “Who is this chick?”

Miwa is a fisherman’s daughter from a tiny island off of Japan.

Most of her record is just her singing with her guitar, with easy drumming in the background, and yet it sounds so full you’d swear there was more behind her. Yes, it’s well produced, but it’s not just studio magic that’s at work here. Miwa’s voice is amazing, as is her songwriting. Check out the banjo on “Pieces,” for example, or the guitar/piano interplay on “Forever For Never,” and I predict you’ll be hooked. - Berkley Place

"From The Heart"

Knowing Miwa is like understanding the secrets to John Lennon’s lyrics:

“Picture yourself in a boat on a river/ With tangerine trees and marmalade skies/ Somebody calls you/ You answer quite slowly/ A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.”

Miwa brings to life that enchanted girl whose picturesque lyrics take you on a magic carpet ride with her cascading imagery inherent in her songwriting and the fluid grace of a strumming guitar and a steady drumbeat.

Miwa, who was born in Kyushu, a Southern Island of Japan, began taking music lessons in classical piano at the tender age of three and grew up singing in a chorus group. The impetus to pursue music was also rooted in her family. “My mother was always singing,” she professes.

From there a star was born. Miwa writes lyrics with an allegorical slant and shapes her stories into songs with her dulcet vocals and the melodies she composes on her guitar. Though trained in classical piano, she admits, “With guitar, my favorite instrument, I'm all self-taught and right now I’m planning on teaching myself how to play the banjo.”

She writes about “Frankenstein” and “Charlie Chaplin,” though she does not know either one in real life, they have taken on the role of being people who have traveled along with her through life. She sings about raindrops kissing her forehead, her eyes following the wind, butterfly's dreaming, whiskey moon and champagne truffles. Her songwriting method to express herself through allegories is a reflection of her personality and was encouraged at an early age.

She says, “I had the most wonderful piano teacher who was very strict yet very philosophical in a way and taught me how my personality relates to music.” She reveals, “All my songs are born in my head,” and describes, “I have a song that I finished in literally 5 minutes and I have a song that I worked on for a month. The inspirations are all over whatever I'm feeling that moment. I have a song inspired by an afternoon rain, something I wanted to say to someone but I couldn't, and sometimes I'm just lucky enough to stumble onto a song.”

Young Miwa embarked on a journey to take her kaleidoscopic images and give them music. With the accompaniment of her drummer, Brian Lackey and her sound engineer, Andy Baker, she brought her music to the public.

“Just like with everything else I rely on my hunch and I knew Brian and I would work well together. We seemed to understand each other from the first rehearsal.” When explaining how she met her drummer Brian Lackey, she recalls, “He was a friend of friend of mine and the first time he came to see me play, we got to talking and the next thing you know we were rehearsing.”

Miwa, who relies on honesty, breathes from it, lives by it and follows her instincts on it like a woman’s intuition, says, “I couldn't play with a person I couldn't trust. I think that's why personality is very important. I think that when it comes to playing with other people, the best way is to let it happen organically.”

After years of performing in clubs throughout New York City’s East Village and following the release of her two EP’s, Whiskey Moon, and Confetti Dream, Miwa and Brian set out to make their first full length LP. Along with the masterful engineering skills of Andy Baker, Miwa recorded her album entitled Forgetful Ocean and Other Strange Stories, which was released on March 12, 2005 and premiered at the Sidewalk Café in Manhattan’s trendy Alphabet City district.

The production was a labor of love expresses Miwa, “We didn't have a producer. There was me and Brian and Andy, who recorded us. It was a very relaxed atmosphere – plus Andy knows what he is doing. The whole thing was recorded and mixed in two days. The best way I can describe is everything sort fell into place beautifully.”

Atmosphere, honesty and everything falling naturally into place are vital components for Miwa when recording her musical compositions. Her songwriting, she discerns, “Makes me happy and keeps me sane, and if I can make my audience happy, that's really wonderful.”

She believes that Forgetful Ocean was a natural transition for her to make from her previous two EP’s. She estimates, “It's a closing of a chapter. (It) feels like finally I can leave those songs where they belong and move on to new ones. Of course, it feels great to know that I am taking a big step towards my dream.”

In this media age when artists need to make videos to promote their material, Miwa feels very confident about making videos. “I think it will be something natural to me since I have a strong visual background. I was in a photography business before I began taking music seriously. I was happy that I was able to bring that side of my creativity with the album cover.”

The album cover for Forgetful Ocean shows an animated girl dressed in a red dress and cowboy boots clutching a guitar in her arms while a brisk wind is blowing her hair to one side of her f - themusicedge.com

"Miwa Gemini's Quiet Side at Iota"

There's a major Japanese arts festival underway at the Kennedy Center, but Miwa Gemini's appearance across the river at Iota on Thursday evening was just a coincidence. While Gemini's accent revealed her Japanese origins, the New York-based singer-guitarist's music was entirely Western. Her short, engaging set ranged from folk-pop to rock-and-roll to "Que Sera, Sera," a lightly Latin standard that was a hit for Doris Day in 1956.

The turnout was also light, perhaps because Gemini's new album, "This Is How I Found You," won't be officially available in the United States until March. (Release dates are elastic these days, of course, and the disc was for sale at the show.) Most of the show, like most of the album, consisted of wispy lovelorn ballads, occasionally punctuated by a high, sharp trill. Live, Gemini couldn't reproduce the recording's vocal multitracking and other subtle tricks, but she was supplemented by Aaron Burns on glockenspiel and accordion.

If Gemini is principally an introspective folkie, she accompanied herself on a red electric guitar, and proved she could use it for more than gentle ripplings with two up-tempo numbers, "Charlie Chaplin Broke My Heart" and "Traveling Man." The latter was the set's highlight, not because it's one of her better songs (it isn't) or the guitar solo was fluid (it wasn't), but because Gemini opened up the tune with an additional verse and an earthy Japanese proverb she learned from her mother: "There are things between a man and a woman that even dogs won't eat," an adage that's definitely more electric guitar than glockenspiel.

-- Mark Jenkins

- Mark Jenkins, Washington Post


Forgetful Ocean and Other Strage Stories (2006) LP
This is How I Found You (2008) LP
Fantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose (2011)



Singer-songwriter Miwa Gemini can take your breath away. Her single Goodnight Trail just stopped this bloggers day dead in its tracks.Whatever the roots and reasons Goodnight Trail carries you away to a storybook world and gives you a very real sinking feeling at the same time. Its a neat trick that makes her forthcoming third album TheFantastic Lies of Grizzly Rose one to watch for.

-MTV Iggy

Band Members