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Joji (musician)

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Joji
Joji Performing Live in 2018 (cropped).png
Joji performing in August 2018
Born
George Kusunoki Miller[1]

(1992-09-18) 18 September 1992 (age 28)[2]
Osaka, Japan[3]
NationalityJapanese
Other names
  • Filthy Frank
  • Pink Guy
EducationCanadian Academy
Alma materNew York Institute of Technology
Occupation
  • Singer-songwriter
  • rapper
  • record producer
Musical career
OriginHigashinada-ku, Kobe, Japan[4][5]
Genres
Instruments
Years active2006–present
Labels
YouTube information
Channels
Years active2008–2017
Subscribers13.1 million (combined)
Total views2.4 billion (combined)
NetworkScaleLab[9]
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2012
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2015

Updated: 27 April 2019

George Kusunoki Miller (ジョージ・楠木・ミラー, Jōji Kusunoki Mirā, born 18 September 1992[2]), better known by his stage name Joji and formerly by his online aliases Filthy Frank and Pink Guy, is a Japanese singer-songwriter, record producer, author, and former Internet personality, YouTuber, and comedian.

Miller began his career as an entertainer through his three now defunct YouTube channels: DizastaMusic, TVFilthyFrank,[10] and TooDamnFilthy. They consisted of rap songs, swearing, rants, extreme challenges, ukulele performances[11] and a shock humor show titled The Filthy Frank Show, with most of the main characters played by Miller, including the titular character of Filthy Frank.[12][13] To complement his TVFilthyFrank channel, Miller produced comedy hip hop music under his Pink Guy alias, who is also a zentai-wearing recurring character on The Filthy Frank Show, with his songs featured on the show and his discography spanning two full-length projects and an extended play. Miller's videos had widespread impact, including starting a viral dance craze known as the Harlem Shake, which was directly responsible for the debut of Baauer's "Harlem Shake" song atop the Billboard Hot 100.[14][15] Many YouTube personalities have made major or cameo appearances on The Filthy Frank Show, including h3h3Productions, iDubbbz, JonTron, Michael Stevens, and PewDiePie.[16][17][18]

In December 2017, Miller stated he had retired the channel to focus on his music career, under the name Joji, producing more nuanced and serious music, releasing the EP In Tongues, which peaked at number 58 on the Billboard 200, and his debut studio album Ballads 1, which reached number 1 on Billboard's top R&B and hip-hop chart in November 2018. With this, Miller became the first Asian-born artist to do so.[19] Miller's music has been described as a mix between R&B, lo-fi and trip hop.

Early life

George Kusunoki Miller[1] was born on 18 September 1992,[2] in Osaka, Japan.[3] He is half Japanese and half Australian.[20] He attended an international school, Canadian Academy, in Kobe, Japan, where he graduated in 2012.[5] At age 18, he left Japan and travelled to the United States.[21]

Miller made attempts to maintain his privacy, such as deleting the video "Filthy Frank Exposes Himself?", where he revealed himself to be a college student in Brooklyn, New York, and that he did not want to reveal personal information for fear of not being able to get a job later on due to the nature of his show.[20]

Entertainment career

The Filthy Frank Show (2011–2017)

Miller created the "Filthy Frank" character during his time on his DizastaMusic YouTube channel, on which he created sketch comedy-based content. The channel started gaining popularity after his 2012 conceptualization of Filthy Frank, a character who was described as the anti-vlogger of YouTube by Miller.[22] The first known video on this particular channel (before his creation of the Frank character) was uploaded on 19 June 2008, and was titled "Lil Jon falls off a table".[23] The DizastaMusic channel has over 977,000 subscribers and 170 million views as of September 2020.[24] On 15 August 2014, Miller uploaded a video to the DizastaMusic channel, announcing that he would not be posting any more video content onto the channel, under the risk of losing the channel due to the numerous copyright and community strikes it received.[25]

On Miller's channel, TVFilthyFrank, he had many different series on his channel, such as "Food" (和食ラップ), "Japanese 101", "Wild Games" and "Loser Reads Hater Comments". This channel currently has a total of 7.5 million subscribers and 1.09 billion views as of December 2020.[26][27] Miller opened a third channel, TooDamnFilthy, on 1 July 2014.[28] On this channel he had two series, "Japanese 101", which is also featured on his main channel, and "Cringe of the Week", which is usually abbreviated to "COTW".[29] As of September 2020, TooDamnFilthy has 2.25 million subscribers and 300 million views.[28]

On 27 September 2017, Miller announced the release of his first and currently only book, titled Francis of the Filth, which addresses things uncovered in The Filthy Frank Show, and serves as a culmination of the series.[30]

On 29 December 2017, Miller released a statement on Twitter explaining that he had stopped producing comedy, including Filthy Frank, due to both "serious health conditions" and his personal lack of interest in continuing the series.[13][31] In September 2018, Miller stated in a BBC Radio 1 interview that he had no choice but to stop producing comedy due to his health condition.[32]

Legacy

Miller's Filthy Frank show has had a profound impact on internet culture, responsible for creating many internet memes.[33] Miller's show has been hailed as "the epitome of odd".[33]

Miller's videos had widespread impact, which included starting a viral dance craze known as the Harlem Shake back in 2013, which was directly responsible for the debut of Baauer's "Harlem Shake" song atop the Billboard Hot 100.[14][15] Fellow YouTuber and friend of Miller, Ethan Klein (also known under his alias of h3h3Productions) described Filthy Frank as the greatest YouTuber of all time in a 2017 interview with First We Feast.[34]

Music career

Pink Guy (2014–2017)

Miller always had a passion for music composition. He has expressed that even before his YouTube career, he had an interest in creating music and created his YouTube channel as a means of promoting it. In an interview with Pigeons and Planes, he said, "I've always wanted to make normal music. I just started the YouTube channel to kind of bump my music. But then Filthy Frank and the Pink Guy stuff ended up getting way bigger than I thought so I had to kind of roll with it."[12]

Miller's music under Pink Guy is often comical, staying true to the nature of his YouTube channel. His debut album, Pink Season, debuted at number 70 on the Billboard 200.[12][35] Under his comedy rap stage name, Pink Guy, Miller has produced one mixtape, one album, and one extended play, Pink Guy, Pink Season, and Pink Season: The Prophecy, respectively. On 16 March 2017, Miller performed for the first time as Pink Guy at SXSW.[36] Future plans were stated to include a "long overdue" tour, a third Pink Guy album and more progress on his personal music outside of the Pink Guy persona.[citation needed]

However, as of 29 December 2017, Joji has ceased production of all Filthy Frank-related content, including Pink Guy music.[12][13]

Joji (2015–present)

Aside from the comedic and often rap-based music he created under the Pink Guy alias, Miller also created more serious and traditional music under another stage name, Joji, which became his primary focus in late 2017. Speaking on his transition from his YouTube career to his music career as Joji, Miller said to Billboard "now I get to do stuff that I want to hear."[37] In the article by Billboard, he specified that 'Joji' isn't a character like Filthy Frank and Pink Guy. "I guess that's the difference," he continues. "Joji's just me."[38]

During his time growing up in Higashinada-ku, Kobe, Japan, Miller began to produce music and sing with friends as a side-hobby and a way to pass the time. After relocating to Manhattan, New York, Miller expanded upon his music career by starting his Pink Guy persona, which paved the way for his Joji persona.[4] Miller originally announced his Joji album on 3 May 2014 alongside the first Pink Guy album. However, Miller subtly cancelled the project until he began releasing music under the name PinkOmega.[39] Miller released two songs as PinkOmega: "Dumplings" on 4 June 2015[40] and "wefllagn.ii 5" on 28 August 2015,[41] both of which were later released on the Pink Guy album Pink Season, the latter being re-titled "We Fall Again".

Miller intended to keep the music made under Joji a secret from his fanbase due to them mainly wanting his comedic music. In late 2015, two singles were released, titled "Thom" and "You Suck Charlie"; both were released under a false alias, but it was quickly leaked that the user behind the account was Miller,[42] which prompted him in January 2016 to publicly announce on Instagram that he was releasing a full-length commercial project titled Chloe Burbank: Volume 1. In the same post, he linked his SoundCloud account.[43]

In 2017, Joji released several songs via the YouTube channel of Asian music label 88rising, the songs "I Don't Wanna Waste My Time", released on 26 April 2017, "Rain on Me", released on 19 July 2017,[44][45][46] and "Will He", released on 17 October 2017.[47] Joji was featured in the song "Nomadic" with the Chinese rap group Higher Brothers.[48] Miller performed live as Joji for the first time on 18 May 2017 in Los Angeles. The event was streamed by the Boiler Room.[49] On 17 October 2017, Miller released the debut single from his debut commercial project, In Tongues.[50] The single, titled "Will He", was released on platforms Spotify and iTunes.[47]

Miller's debut project under the moniker Joji, an EP titled In Tongues, was released on 3 November 2017 by Empire Distribution.[50] A deluxe version of the EP was released on 14 February 2018 with 8 remixes of songs from the EP along with the release of "Plastic Taste" and "I Don't Wanna Waste My Time" as part of the track listing.[51] Joji released the song "Yeah Right" in May 2018, becoming his first to chart on a Billboard chart, peaking at 23 on the Billboard R&B Songs chart.[52]

Miller debuted Ballads 1 under the label 88rising on 26 October 2018, which quickly peaked the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart.[53] Shortly after its release, Miller announced a North American tour, spanning 9 dates in early 2019.[54] At that time, he was already on tour for Ballads 1 in Europe.

On 4 June 2019, Miller announced his new single titled "Sanctuary" through his Instagram page and released it on 14 June. It was accompanied by a music video, which was uploaded to 88rising's official YouTube channel.[55]

Joji was featured in the song "Where Does the Time Go?" with Indonesian rapper Rich Brian on his second album The Sailor.[56]

On 30 January 2020, Miller announced another new single, "Run", which released at midnight on 6 February 2020 alongside a music video released later that day.[57][58] On 2 March 2020, he performed the song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[59][60]

On 16 April 2020, Joji announced another new single, "Gimme Love", which released at midnight, and along with announced his upcoming album Nectar, which was initially set to be released on 10 July 2020.[61] However, on 12 June 2020, Joji announced that the album had been pushed back to 25 September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[62]

Musical style

Joji's music has been described as trip hop and lo-fi[7] that blends elements of trap, folk, electronic, and R&B.[63] His songs have been characterized as having "down tempo, melancholic themes and soulful vocals"[3] with "minimalistic production".[64] Joji himself classifies his work as dark love songs, with his 2020 album, Nectar, dissecting cliche tropes and topics.[65]

He has been compared to electronic artist James Blake,[63] whom he also names as an influence alongside Radiohead, Shlohmo and Donald Glover.[66] In an interview with Pigeons and Planes, Miller said that his music was inspired by his time growing up in Osaka and by boom bap instrumentals he listened to while attending Canadian Academy.[4]

Personal life

Miller lives in Brooklyn, New York.[67]

Discography

As Pink Guy

As Joji

References

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  2. ^ a b c "Joji on Apple Music". Apple Music. Archived from the original on 14 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Joji Shares Video for New Single 'Will He'; Announces New EP". BroadwayWorld. 18 October 2017. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Joji's Journey from Viral Videos to Quality Music Music Life. Pigeons and Planes. 1 November 2017. Archived from the original on 28 December 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b "CA Review Fall 2012". Canadian Academy. pp. 4–5. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2017 – via Issuu.
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  7. ^ a b c Graham Corrigan (1 November 2017). "Joji's Journey from Viral Videos to Quality Music". Pigeons and Planes. Archived from the original on 2 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
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  40. ^ pinkomega – dumplings. George Miller. 4 June 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017 – via YouTube.
  41. ^ pinkomega – wefllagn.ii 5. George Miller. 28 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 23 August 2017 – via YouTube.
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  46. ^ "Listen to Joji's Gorgeous New Song "Rain On Me"". Pigeons & Planes. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  47. ^ a b "Joji Shares Gorgeous New Single 'Will He' [UPDATE]". Pigeons and Planes. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  48. ^ Higher Brothers + joji – Nomadic (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO). 88rising. 12 July 2017. Archived from the original on 30 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017 – via YouTube.
  49. ^ "Boiler Room x 88rising". Boiler Room. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  50. ^ a b "Pre-Save". Empire. Archived from the original on 17 October 2017. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  51. ^ Desk, BWW News (24 January 2018). "Joji Shares Video For 'Window' Announces Deluxe Version of 'In Tongues' EP". Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  52. ^ "Joji Drops New Song 'Yeah Right'". PigeonsandPlanes. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  53. ^ "Joji's 'Ballads 1' Debuts at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart". Billboard. Archived from the original on 30 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  54. ^ "Joji announces 'BALLADS 1' North American tour 2019". AXS. Archived from the original on 22 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  55. ^ "SANCTUARY -- 6/14". 4 June 2019. Archived from the original on 15 November 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019 – via instagram.
  56. ^ Where Does the Time Go (feat. Joji) by Rich Brian, retrieved 28 July 2019
  57. ^ JOJI (30 January 2020). "New single "Run" out February 6th 12:00 am ET worldwidepic.twitter.com/kFKlr1WxsL". @sushitrash. Retrieved 30 January 2020.[non-primary source needed]
  58. ^ "Joji – Run (Official Video)". 88rising. Archived from the original on 6 February 2020. Retrieved 6 February 2020 – via YouTube.
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  60. ^ "Joji Performs On 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' (Watch Now)". Headline Planet. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  61. ^ Mamo, Heran (16 April 2020). "Joji announces 'Nectar' album & shares intergalactic 'Gimme Love' video". Billboard. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  62. ^ https://twitter.com/sushitrash/status/1271601995674275841
  63. ^ a b Patrick Green (3 November 2017). "New Music | Joji Miller Makes a Name for Himself". Crave. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  64. ^ Ruth Jiang (28 April 2017). "Listen to Joji's new song "I don't wanna waste my time"". Earmilk. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  65. ^ "How Joji made his second album, Nectar". British GQ. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  66. ^ Joji Discusses His Rise From Parody Rap To Mainstream Music. MTV News. 6 November 2017. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  67. ^ "Joji Opens Up About YouTube Fame, Porn, & "In Tongues"". Highsnobiety. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 17 September 2018.

External links