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Tom Smith on Fairy Tail’s 8th Opening Theme

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a fair chance that the idea of visiting Japan has crossed your mind a few times. American-born Jamil Abbas Kazmi had a similar thought, though he wanted to take it one step further by establishing a career out there.

Back on his home turf, he had built a reputable following through self-produced releases. Born in New Jersey to parents with Pakistani and German heritage, Jamil grew up exposed to a mixture of musical influences, some of which he began to explore from the age of 14. By the time he reached 16, Jamil and his classmates had already sold 12,000 copies of their own music. Using the profit, Jamil decided to take some time out and travel the world with his newly earned income.

It’s been said that traveling helps to open the mind, and while visiting and experiencing different cultures, languages and local music, Jamil decided to settle in Thailand for little over half a year before setting his sights on a new plan; Japan.

There was something about the Japanese mentality that fascinated Jamil, and after moving to the country with a commitment to writing and singing, he managed to get a regular slot on Japanese TV show Nandemo World Ranking Nepu & Imoto no Sekai Banzuke, where a number of comedians and foreign guests conduct all sorts of rankings and experiments to list the countries of the world. From there he managed to use his charm and personality to build a modest following, landing appearances on other TV and radio shows before using the opportunity to launch himself as a singer in Japan.

One of the tracks that proved pivotal in establishing Jamil as a contender in the Japanese pop world was his collaboration with the fantasy-comedy anime Fairy Tail, where song ‘The Rock City Boy’ become its eighth opening and showcased how fluent this foreigner in Japan could rap in the country’s native tongue.

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Jamil’s career as a solo artist didn’t last too long. He released one major-label album and was swiftly dropped soon after. That didn’t stop Warner Music Japan from snapping him up recently and working with him as one-half of an all new duo; Grown Kids.

The pair are so new in Japan that their very first single ‘Bottle Rocket’ is released the same day as this article was originally written, with their debut album planned for a 20 August release.

To save confusion (and lawsuits), Jamil now uses his surname Kazmi as his stage name for Grown Kids. His new partner goes by the name of Lafa and shares a similar history to Jamil; he also hails from California and travelled the world with his music as at early age before settling in Japan. Living the dream.

Fairy Tail: Part 8 is out on UK DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of Manga Entertainment from 11 August 2014.


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