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So let’s say you’re a high school girl growing up in Tokyo, the undisputed mecca of fashion and pop music in Japan. You want to break into the industry, but what can you do to make yourself stand out from all the other teens with the same ambitions, especially if you’ve got a fairly pedestrian name like Kiriko Takemura?

Simple: you slip on an outfit that’s as colorful as it is outlandish, adopt the stage name Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and bask in the adoration of fans both in Japan and abroad.

Of course, this didn’t happen overnight. Kyary’s success is the result of several years spent developing her persona and image, as we can see in a pair of pre-fame videos showing her as a high-schooler still at the midpoint of her path to stardom.

Although Kyary began in the world of modeling, since making her musical debut in 2011, she’s built a growing base of extraordinarily loyal fans. She achieved a coveted hallmark of success for a Japanese pop artist when one of her songs, “Fashion Monster,” was used in television commercials for discount clothing brand g.u.

Kyary’s look and sound are distinctive enough that she’s gained considerable recognition among Japanophiles overseas, and the 20-year-old has performed in the US, Europe, and several other Asian countries.

▼ Analysts expect Kyary’s popularity to continue rising in years to come, as evidenced by the fact that the shark has jumped her.

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Of course, Kyary wasn’t always the fashion and music icon she is today. Once upon a time, she was just a silly high school kid who liked hanging out with her friends and singing into their webcam, as we can see in the video below where a 16-year-old Kyary and her pal cover “Natsuiro,” originally performed by Yokohama street musicians turned pro Yuzu.

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And while Kyary is now known for the high-pitched tone she sings in, another video from her high school days shows that she originally experimented with a slightly less girlish voice.

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On one hand, these clips show how much Kyary has progressed as a performer, but what’s more telling is what has stayed the same. Sure, Kyary’s pitch and sense of rhythm have improved, and her visual style has become much more memorable than just the simple blond wig she dons for the second video. Yet at the same time, these early performances are proof positive that the singer was never, in any way, afraid of the cameras or lacking in enthusiasm.

Source: Doorblog
Top image: Popspace 5
Insert image: Summer Sonic