Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: My AVEX Singing Audition

AVEX singing audition singing competition
So, few days ago I went to my 2nd screening process of Avex.
(Avex is the biggest record company in Japan, boasting of internationally known artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Koda Kumi, BoA, etc, etc).
I'm actually surprised by the lack of any forum threads or blogs on this subject!
Before going, I spent an hour googling, but the only posts I found are of some major auditions from past years (apparently, Avex had some huge international audition back in 2009 and then again last year). BUT, at least since the beginning of this month (because that's when I happened to come across their ad. Although, I'm almost sure it's been like this for quite a long while already) they have an online form saying that they accept people to audition throughout the year. And visa statuses and nationalities don't matter...SO WHY NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT?

Click on the title to

Anyways, since I couldn't find anything relevant I'm gonna write my own experience in a hope it would help someone who is interested.

AVEX singing audition competition in front of crowd

In the beginning of this month I came across an ad in a free paper. Just from curiosity I went to their site and filled their online form. The audition categories are: Artist/Vocalist, Band, Singer/Songwriter, Composer,  Lyricist, Rapper, Instrument player (wide range), Arranger, Track Maker,  Actress,  Idol, Talent,  Fashion Model, Bikini Model, Voice Over, and Announcer. You can mark what you like and as many as you like. Hey, they even have "other" on their long list of what they are looking for.

Since I love writing songs in my free time and as I already have some experience in modeling/acting, I chose the categories of lyricist, actress and fashion model.
I uploaded my demo songs together with 2 photos (the standard full body size + close-up), summarized my CV/PR and gave my contact info.

It's written that they only contact you if you pass their careful 1st screening selection.

Which I did.

One week later and the person in-charge contacted me asking to come to in-person audition.
What I was surprised about is that he requested to see my dance skills and singing.
Now, I did not apply as a singer nor as a dancer. I wrote him back saying I am interested in writing songs- not singing them and that I'm interested in acting/modeling. He replied saying that I don't have to dance if I'm not interested, but he would like to hear me sing anyway.

Alright so, here is my audition experience:

As one of the things I applied as was "model", I decided to go without make-up. I know that for modeling auditions, a person should come with either natural-looking make-up or none at all. You know, because they want to see how you really look.
However, during the audition I realized that was probably a mistake because the girl before me was wearing semi-heavy make-up and apparently wasn't asked to remove it. We were not even asked to remove our shoes (and any shoes were OK), so I could have worn ones that hide 20cm hill and cheat about my hight lol

I was advised to bring some instrumental track, or a guitar, or at least choose a song from their karaoke machine, but (stupidly) I decided to sing acapella. Obviously that's way harder than singing with background music, but I had no time to prepare anything.
I chose to sing one semi-difficult Russian lalabye song I've heard in some old TV drama, because, even though hard to sing, I often sing it to my son and so at least it involves positive emotions on my side (+I don't really know anything else). I guess I should have chosen a song I wrote myself, but since I've already sent them the demo I thought I should sing something they didn't hear(?)

Anyway, I came a bit earlier and saw another applicant (girl) coming out of there (the one with make-up and high hills). But I don't know how many were/are auditioning on that day and in general.
It was my turn and I entered. 4 Judges (2 women and 2 men) sat infront of me + one girl was in charge of recording the applicants on a video camera. None of the jury introduced themselves, but I immediately recognized the person in-charge thanks to my facebook/linkedin/google search. Small habit that stayed with me since journalism days, hehe.
They told me to say my name, age, where I'm from and start singing as soon as the girl working the camera gave a sign. And so I did.
After my extremely short and messy singing (probably 30seconds) I stopped and waited for their reaction. They didn't ask me to sing anything else and immediately moved to the interview stage.
I was asked how many years I'm in Japan, where I am originally from, how many languages I speak, who was my previous agency, why did I come to Japan, my work and---my visa status. Yes, I know how impossible it is to get a job in a showbiz (mind alone a singer's career!) when you are married. Especially in Japan!!! Even in non-showbiz fields married women have hard time getting a job because, from what I've heard, married women aren't taken as trustworthy (you know, she got a house to take care of, kids, etc.). At the same time I didn't dare to lie. They would have discovered anyway when seeing my documents.
They also asked me my songs' style and I said that I like writing slow songs, however I sometimes write rap, pop and rock, as well. That's it. They didn't ask me to show them my songs nor did they ask me to demonstrate my acting skills/modeling skills (catwalk).
I was a bit confused about it and asked them whether this is only an audition for singers, but they said that no- by that interview+song they are going to judge me in the songwriter/model/actress categories, too. Yes, you read correctly.
But it does make sense. If all the song-writers would have been judged by their songs-writing skills and all the actors would have been judged by their acting skills, etc, we wouldn't have had so many actors who can't act and so many songs that make no sense and even got miserable grammar mistakes, etc, etc... :)

Finally, the girl behind the video-camera took 2 photos of me (full body and close-up) and I was excused. All in all, it was an interesting experience.
I don't know the results yet though, but I'll update here when I hear something.


  1. I just gave a lecture last week on the jimusho system here and how evil Avex is... if they do want to contract you, be careful you are OK with what you are signing on for ^_^;

    1. Oh wow, is your lecture available online somewhere? I'd love to hear more!!! :)

    2. Sorry I took so long getting back to you >.<
      If you're interested "The Jimusho System" by W. David Marx (chapter in a book called "Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture" edited by Galbraith and Karlin) is a really informative read. You can download a PDF of the book from

    3. Thank you very much for the link! What an interesting read!
      I had the feeling that many J-jimusho are connected, but I wasn't sure until I read that book!
      While US celebs might be the ones hiring/firing their agents, this "everything connected by only few big corporations" is true to so many other products, too! Isn't it scary?
      This is a food chart:
      And back to our entertainment topic, those 6 companies control 90% of the media in the US:
      Maybe we all should start watching indie contents and buying local produce? ^^;

  2. Hi! I'm so proud of you,that you went for this audition!!!
    It's encourages me to go too.
    I wanted to ask you ,how old were you when you went to the audition?
    Because I'm 28 and I wonder if I should go, because they mostly prefer younger people....

    So did you passed the audition and got any answer from them?
    I would really wish to hear that!!
    Hope you would answer soon.

    1. Thank you! :D
      I was early 20s, but I recommend you to try regardless of age. Maybe don't even mention your age or just say whatever?
      Are you planing to go to their audition in Japan? Are you living in Japan?
      I didn't get to have the contract with them, but it was a fun experience ;)

  3. Hi there!

    I have read your blog on and off for the past few months, and by chance saw this older post--I'm actually hoping to audition for Avex this year, if they accept my online application. Do you have any specific advice about anything regarding Avex? I'm especially interested in how they contacted you--via phone or email, and if it was in Japanese or not. I speak only conversational, though hope to be fluent-ish in a year as I continue studying. Any help would be awesome!!! I hope everything is going better for you family, I did read about the hospital system issues and that really sucks :(

  4. I want to audition too i hope i know where to go and next schedule i would love to sing even back up singer will do i had my singing lesson in States when i was 13 my trainorbis Abby Van Spronsen one of the famous opera singer in whidbey island Washington state. I have been singing live in ocations like Japanese boninkai Party i am a stage performer please contact me if your interested to hear me sing 09055875795.


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