Though beginning his career as a punk rock soloist, Hata Motohiro quickly carved out a place for himself with an earthy, somewhat acoustic sound and a singer/songwriter aesthetic -- while not terribly uncommon in the Japanese "indie" market, something of a rarity for success in the sugary and overwhelming J-pop industry.
While many of Motohiro's compositions have been in a predictable format, his influences (Elephant Kashimashi, Mr. Children) are thus far heard to a rather limited extent in his developing sound. Much of Motohiro's differentiation comes from his vocal abilities -- still building a personal sound, his vocals (criticized as somewhat scratchy by some in the J-pop industry) have proven successful given their more "authentic" aspects, delivering a bit more emotional punch than many other artists. At the same time, he dabbles in more saccharine falsettos and traditional anime theme music and its ilk. As his following grew on the strength of a number of singles, 2007 saw Motohiro's first full album, Contrast, perform well and lead the way to a massively popular mainstream single in 2008's "Niji Ga Kieta Hi." ~ Adam Greenberg