Faves of 2014: Ryu Sera

Sera makes this list because she left her bad deal, and is now making indie covers on youtube. That sounds like a step down to many, but she was under Star Empire, and they have been a fuck up for a minute. It wasn’t like Nine Muses, the group she was originally a part of, were truly making major waves. God bless them, I don’t even know if they were getting by. By international standards they had a name, and that is more than many idol groups can even claim (watch one of those music shows and you may see some random ass group who you will never see again in two weeks). Despite that, the cute music, and an apparent fanbase…I personally didn’t see it for them. Not under Star Empire at least.

So when three of the more popular members of the group left, I applauded them. Especially Sera who was apart of the documentary series  for the group. Yeah…she went through hell. They all did.

Anyway Sera dipped the fuck out of Star Empire and Nine Muses, and has been on youtube releasing covers and (As of late) original songs.

Video time (aka the reason 2014 was a nice year for her imo)


 

Growl (Exo cover)

I don’t know what it is about this cover that makes me love it. She took a nice enough song by a group I don’t care for and slowed it down. I love the simplicity of the beat, her small harmonies. The little addition of the violins near the end were also nice. It felt very accoustic and in vibe with her.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Marvin and Tami cover)

I love where she takes her covers. She is big on the positive vibes musically in my opinion. I love how the song builds. It starts very simple with her and a piano. Then by 1:10 we get add harmonies, which leads into the second verse. By the time we get to the end stretch of the song it picks up speed, and everything. It sounds fun and positive, and I would by this.  She also starts trying to sing a little more.

Falling (Alicia Keys cover)

This is one of her more out there covers, and my all time favorite from her. It is very repetitive with her only going as far as the second verse and repeating the beginning. What makes this interesting is the fact that she altered the same section over and over again. Each time she starts over, we get more refined in harmonies, key changes, and Sera gets into it a little more. If we were to assume that this was all her (or mostly her with minor assistance), then we have something good in our hands.

Grenade (Bruno Mars cover)

This is the final cover I am posting of hers. I love what she did with this. Another darker song, and she maintained that vibe. The lone guitar with that bop vibe was nice (I don’t know how else to say it). I loved her chorus, it meandered while feeling even more grim than Bruno (who went the dramatic route in the original version). Her runs were nice as well. I think this was earlier in the cover phase, so the harmonies needed to be fleshed out. And the ending just happened, and didn’t leave me feeling content. Overall, I like this. I love what she did.


 

Finally, we hit the original content phase. Sera’s youtube has not even been open for a full year, and she is already shown some improvements imo. She went from covers to posting original content. So let’s dive into my favorites.

Mine

I think this was one of the first original piece she put on her youtube. When this was uploaded, the news of her departure from Nine Muses was happening, so this song seems like a goodbye to that group. I don’t have lyrics, so I can’t get into the meaning of the song, however I do like it. Ballads are hard to get working because you need to find a way to maintain energy while keeping the pace of the song. This is a slow song, and would have benefited from a more layered track. More harmonies, more interesting moments. The end caught me because it was a grand moment in itself. I love the sound of it though. Just add more.

Hey Girl

Hey Girl got some stank on it. It is like a combination of the acoustic/indie pop and some R&B pop. I kind of wish there was more to is musically. Something more in the instruments to add to the bright and fun sound. The harmonies are cute. There really isn’t much to say for or against it, but I do think it is an improvement on some of her prior songs.

One To Eight

I fucks with this heavily. I like all of her songs, but this one just wins for me. One thing I have an issue with in a lot of her songs is how bare they can sound. But here, I got a more fleshed out track. Like on the hate you part, she sings, and then a piano flutters by. It sets the vibe a little more for me.

One other thing I love about a lot of her videos is that she is doing location filled scenes. In her Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You video, she went on a date. She usually is in her room in some videos. In a lot of her original content she travels. Garden Me was set in a garden. Some of her videos are just scenery and all that, but it’s nice that she is thinking of going beyond her room.

Here is her latest video, which is a preview for something coming later


 

Sera has a lot of potential, and she is growing. On top of her idol training, which allowed her to be a decent performer, she is working on her musical skills. Right there you have something in semblance of a full force, if done properly. However it is all dependent on what she wants. I bet a dollar and some change she is disenchanted with the whole idol aspect of music, and is leaning to the less stressful indie side. Which honestly works because she has a name on some level (international fans are pretty much keeping her going in my opinion), and she can do the type of music she is comfortable with. But that’s what ever.

I do think her biggest problem right now is that she is still learning. We are watching her grow. In some of her original content she tends to be very reliant on the guitar, and she doesn’t have enough skill to really do a lot with it. One To Eight overall felt much more serious, but maybe she could have learned a new chord to really get into that darker sound she was going for. Also the drumkit needs to be banned. Not just from her, but overall.

Anyway, Sera is growing as an artist. It isn’t like super D to A grade growth, but progress is happening. She is in a space where she can be creative, is doing just that, and expressing that to us. There are people who like it, and those who don’t. I am one of those that do.

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