Do you know what happens when the Land of the Rising Sun, the Land of the Morning Calm, the Land of Fields, and the Elongated Country are combined in the name of heavy music? Well, the result is our metal lady of the month of March, and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her beautiful vocals, stunning looks and undeniable charisma after knowing more about a woman who perfectly unites Japan, South Korea, Poland and Sweden in her blood. Her real full name is Akane Okamoto-Kaminski, but everyone knows her by her stage name of Akane Liv, the multi-talented frontwoman of Japanese Symphonic Power Metal band Liv Moon, owner of a unique voice that will bring warmth to your soul during the last month of winter in the northern hemisphere without a shadow of a doubt.
Born on August 24, 1978 to a Polish-Swedish father and a Korean-Japanese mother in Gothenburg, a major city in Sweden situated off the Göta älv river on the country’s west coast, Akane Liv was actually raised and educated in the ultramodern yet traditional Japanese capital Tokyo. After graduating high school, she joined Takarazuka Revue, an elite Japanese all-female theatre troupe introduced to her by her aunt who was already a fan of the project (and she took Akane Liv there for the first time when she was still in elementary school), having performed with the company for six years before departing, enrolling at a small international college in Oxford, England. Whilst in England, Akane Liv took lessons in classical singing and performed at the 2004 edition of the Beckenham Music Festival, where she was named the Singer of the Year and, therefore, attracted a lot of attention worldwide. Despite being accepted to the prestigious Royal Academy of Music, she didn’t study there for long. Following a solo recital in Poland, she returned to Japan in 2005, where she continued to perform, graduating from Takarazuka Revue and meting producer Tatsuya Nishiwaki, leading to the founding of Liv Moon in 2009 while also releasing music under her own name, Akane Liv. Furthermore, when questioned about the main reasons why she left Takarazuka Revue the first time, Akane Liv mentioned that after seeing how musicals work in other parts of the world she felt that Takarazuka Revue was a dream world where she had to stay in character and wear makeup and costumes all the time, something very demanding for her.
Needless to say, there’s no Liv Moon without Akane Liv and vice-versa, with our metal lady being the heart and soul of the band since their inception in 2009. Currently formed of our diva Akane Liv together with Tatsuya Nishiwaki on keyboards, Masaki on bass, Kentaro on the guitars, Hideki Harasawa on drums, and Saori Hoshino on the violin, Liv Moon play beautiful Symphonic Power Metal dealing with topics such as tragedy, poetry, love and dark romanticism, having already released the full-length albums Double Moon (2009), Covers – Scream as a Woman (2010), Golden Moon (2011), Symphonic Moon (2012), The End of the Beginning (2012), and more recently Our Stories (2022), as well as a compilation called The Best of Liv Moon (2015), the EP R.E.D (2016), and a series of live albums and videos, those being Liv Moon Club Show Golden Moon (2011), Liv Moon Club Show 2012 “Symphonic Moon” – Black Night (2012), Liv Moon Club Show 2012 “Symphonic Moon” – White Night (2012), Liv Moon Club Show 2012 “Symphonic Moon” – White Night & Black Night (2012), and Liv Moon Live 2012 “The End of the Beginning” (2013). If you want to have a taste of the music by Liv Moon, you can enjoy the official videos for Escape, Never… and El Dorado on YouTube, or simply stream all of their releases on Spotify.
As aforementioned, our beloved diva also has her own solo project since 2013, simply named Akane Liv, having released her debut album titled Liv back in 2014. From that album, you can enjoy Akane Liv’s mesmerizing vocals in songs such as Night Parade, Summer Shadow, and Hikari, where you can easily see how she managed to blend international rock and pop music with Japanese pop. Apart from that, you can find Akane Liv as a guest vocalist in the songs Angel of Salvation, from the 2012 album by the same name by Japanese Neoclassical Power Metal act Galneryus; Incredible Bass Show, from the 2013 album Psycho Daze Bass by Japanese Heavy Metal/Shred project Masaki; Alone, from the 2010 album Crying Stars – Stand Proud!, and Chaotic Reality, from the 2019 album Vorvados, both by Japanese Neoclassical Power Metal project Syu; and Poison Eyes, from the 2013 album Devils in the Dark by Japanese Melodic Power Metal/Shred project Takayoshi Ohmura.
A huge fan of Queen and Bon Jovi, playing songs such as Livin’ On A Prayer to cheer herself up, our diva mentioned in one of her interviews that she opened her eyes and ears to Symphonic Metal after listening to The Phantom of the Opera on the radio in a taxi while she was studying in England. She said that everyone in that musical showcased a powerful voice, saying she was moved by that, and also mentioning that The Phantom of the Opera has a strong rock vibe even among musicals, with its bass and drums sounding truly heavy. She also said that she doesn’t think Symphonic Metal and Takarazuka Revue are too different, because when she sings Symphonic Metal she also play various characters, sometimes even a different one every four or five minutes when a new song comes up (as opposed to Takarazuka Revue, where she used to play only one character for one hour or two), as Symphonic Metal has a stronger theatrical element than most metal styles. For instance, she mentioned that the role of Madame Red in Black Butler is a character that she couldn’t have created if she hadn’t invested in a darker and heavier world with Liv Moon, as that was a character full of jealousy, passion, affection and all kinds of emotions that are common to most women, whereas on the Liv Moon side, she wants her fans to have a very theatrical experience as if they were watching a theater group like Takarazuka Revue.
Having played a male role during a considerable amount of time with Takarazuka Revue, Akane Liv believes that the project’s appeal is that it expresses men and women of all ages as one single gender, with all of its gorgeous costumes making the whole experience of watching it even more compelling. Perhaps the only “issue” she had during her time with Takarazuka Revue was that she often sang only low notes despite being a good soprano, albeit that also helped her build her own layers when singing with Liv Moon. Lastly, despite being an accomplished singer and performer, Akane Liv said she still feels a little shy when she has to speak in front of an audience instead of singing, which by the way happens to several amazing artists out there, as after all is said and done, we’re all humans and we all have our fears, weaknesses and flaws, right? And being not just a great vocalist and artist, but above all that, an amazing person, is what turned Akane Liv into one of the most interesting names of the current Japanese music scene, as well as into our beloved metal lady this month.
Akane Liv’s Official Instagram
Akane Liv’s Official Twitter
Liv Moon’s Official Facebook page
Liv Moon’s Official YouTube channel