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SIRUP is the evolved form of Osaka based singer-songwriter KYOtaro and represents his (true) organic soul/R&B side, established separately from the local Soulflex music collective.

The words “singer-songwriter” are bandied about a lot these days, in fact in Japan they just label artists as “SSW.” SIRUP’s singing style and subject matter sometimes might remind you of SSW king Jason Mraz or even Maroon 5, but what makes SIRUP much more interesting is his rapping, the production, and the variety between tracks. On EP2, SIRUP has found his groove and solidified his style/identity, collaborating with underground producers like Shingo S., Chocoholic and Zentaro Mori of Soulflex to create a sound that’s very future (deep synth bass, vocal manipulation, DAW beats) and yet organic at the same time. Having listened to Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys in high school through his time in the light music club and later getting into Donny Hathaway and D’Angelo, SIRUP has a strong soul/R&B background and that’s what gives the songs a heart and human connection.

On the first single “LOOP,” he’s a fool falling in love over and over with a girl he can’t get with, while on “Last Dance,” he’s hoping to stay together for a last dance until it all falls apart. This would be typical R&B material but it’s made fresh and listenable with the future production switching rhythms and warping sounds to keep it from being too melodramatic – or maybe it’s just the right kind of melodramatic for millennials. He has some fun with “No Stress,” a very soul kind of melody that’s got a bouncy groove, and keeps it positive on “One Day,” which carries messages of encouragement and accepting yourself. Haters might think that’s a bit lame, but aren’t you tired of hearing about drugs, money and partying? It’s refreshing for a change, and much healthier.

For me the highlight is the other single “Do Well,” which captures all the best parts of the SIRUP sound, with his cool rapping and smooth vocals with soul harmony and scat combined with the varied production changing beats and electric guitars for a funky dance vibe, topped with cowbells! You had me at cowbells.

I actually heard his first EP way back in November and so I knew this would be good - it’s great to hear SIRUP’s sound become more mature and confident on EP2. Highly anticipating a full length album, when they get around to it. Hopefully sooner rather than later!


1. Do Well
2. Maybe
3. Rain
5. No Stress
6. Last Dance
7. One Day

Royce Leong