(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 read more...
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.
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
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,
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.