Miliyah Kato


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Following up on the success of Ring, Miliyah Kato's Heaven displays the songstress at the crossroads of straightforward J-pop and more R&B-influenced urban balladry. There is perhaps nothing revolutionary in her sound on Heaven, but Kato produces strong work throughout the set. When in basic ballad form, her voice twinkles and yearns as the verse demands. When in an otherwise flat R&B track, she displays just enough vocal power to move the track along with her. Kato shows a rarity in Japanese pop, with a tendency to emote vocally, adding just a touch of pathos to the proceedings when a love song calls for it, and just a touch of melodrama when a pop piece calls for it. Regardless of the actual composition, Kato's performance is rarely bland. That might be the key to her success, and Heaven provides glimpses of it.