The Story of Yuuri's Rise to Fame
A few years ago, around when Covid was happening, I discovered The First Take. It's a YouTube channel where various musicians perform in a single take with no do-overs, and it quickly became my go-to place for discovering good Japanese music.
And it wasn't long until I discovered Yuuri and his iconic song, Dry Flower, which was an instant hit. I had always assumed he was a famous and well-established artist. What I didn't know was that, just a year ago, he was a no-name street musician.
How did that happen? Well, let's say he had a lucky break during his street musician days, and he was able to take full advantage of it. While performing a cover of a popular song on the streets one night, the actual main vocalist of the song joined in and sang with him, and the internet went crazy over it!
After that incident, they became good friends. The band spontaneously called him out to perform together on stage one night, and they even helped him with his first single. After that, he became one of Japan's top solo artists, and the rest is history.
[Yuuri] began his singing career as a vocalist for the four-man rock band, The Bugzy, until they disbanded in May 2019. After the group's disbandment, he began performing live on the streets of Tokyo.
On October 10, 2019, Yuuri was singing [「花 」-0714-] by My First Story on the street at the scrambled intersection in Shibuya. It became a hot topic when My First Story vocalist Hiro, jumped in and sang the second verse of the song with him.
After this incident, Yuuri was called out from the crowd to perform spontaneously for the encore final performance on November 30 when My First Story was holding a concert in Saitama Super Arena as a part of their country-wide tour "My First Story Tour 2019."
Yuuri's originally composed "Kakurenbo" whose recording was supervised by Hiro and My First Story's [「花」 -0714-] were performed together. On December 1 , Yuuri released "Kakurenbo" independently. It ranked in 4th place on the general chart on iTunes Japan, and the music video garnered over 40 million views.
On October 25 , his second major single, "Dry Flower" was released. On February 1, 2021 "Dry Flower" exceeded over 100 million streams on the Streaming Songs chart on Billboard Japan.
On March 22, 2021, "Kakurenbo" also exceeded over 100 million streams on Billboard Japan’s Streaming Songs chart. It is the first time in Billboard Japan history for an artist to have two songs exceed 100 million streams only 8 months after their major debut.
On September 1, 2021, "Dry Flower" exceeded 400 million streams on Billboard Japan’s Streaming Songs chart. Since it exceeded 400 million streams within 44 weeks of charting, Yuuri became the first and fastest solo male artist to achieve this record.
He also became the first Japanese artist and solo male artist to exceed 500 million streams on December 22, 2021.
Sometimes, fateful encounters like these can overplay the importance of lucky breaks. What most people miss is that while opportunities like these can make or break your life, you would still need to be skilled enough to capitalize on them. If Yuuri didn't have the talent, he probably wouldn't have gotten this far, even with all the help he received.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. While we don't have much control over the latter, we have total control over the former.