Pushing the boundaries of their sound, delivering stellar performances, embracing their talents as singer-songwriters, these are the best Solo Artists of 2022.
From January 15 until January 22, 2023, readers and viewers of THTFHQ voted for these awards that value, first and foremost, talent and quality over popularity.
Nominees were shortlisted by The Hand That Feeds HQ and a winner emerged in each category.
To avoid petty fights between fans and disrespect towards seiyuu and their fans, no votes are disclosed in any of the written features covering THTFHQ AWARDS 2022.
If you want to check the abridged version of the complete results of this year’s edition, those were unveiled on episode 130 of SEIYUU LOUNGE, THTFHQ’s weekly podcast all about male seiyuu music and 2D groups.
Without further ado, these are the best solo artists of 2022 as voted by you.
#1 Soma Saito
When I thought the battle in this category would end up being a fierce one it was actually… a smashing victory by Soma Saito.
So your pick – which ends up, in a way, resonating with mine – as the best solo artist of 2022 is the singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Soma Saito.
What a year he had! He released 2 astounding EPs exploring two extremely complex and, at times, abstract concepts: surrealism and the human condition (through Yin/Yang).
“my beautiful valentine” arrived to shake everyone to their core with what is, to this date, Saito’s best EP storytelling wise. It is a marvel of a CD and a unique experience you go through in it.
And better yet, he approached promotions for this CD in a unique way.
He did not promote his CD prior to its release. He let his name and reputation as a singer-songwriter do the talking and he… managed to enter that coveted top 10 on Oricon’s weekly charts.
He then celebrated his 5th anniversary as a solo artist with the release of “Rakuen” song that, at that time, sounded like Saito was moving on from the sound in previous releases and would embark on a different journey.
Turns out that was a bit different when the song was, later in December 2022, included in “Yin/Yang”.
Still, from June 2022 up until November 2022, Saito made monthly releases of his CDs up until then as instrumental versions. He then wrapped everything up neatly by releasing on streaming platforms the bonus tracks that were only available in the physical versions of his CDs.
And December arrived yet again to shake you to your core, this time around with “Yin/Yang”, 3rd EP that brought a more eclectic sound to the spotlight while keeping storytelling as vivid and engaging as ever, taking the listener through a troubled story in which there are no rights or wrongs.
And yet again, Saito barely promoted the CD prior to its release and… he entered Oricon’s top 10 again, officially setting a new record among male seiyuu artists of 8 consecutive CDs on Oricon’s top 10.
This is bloody amazing. To see history rewrite itself in front of your eyes, to see talent being recognized without a massive marketing effort behind.
Yes, Soma Saito does create music that caters to a very specific niche, but what he creates has so much depth and is so rich in its storytelling and music that fans don’t mind waiting years to hear something new from him (like it happened after the release of “in bloom” and subsequent 1 year of no music releases).
After such a flawless year, it is a pleasure to say that you chose Soma Saito as your artist of the year at THTFHQ AWARDS 2022.
From this point on, the seiyuu mentioned are not ranked (the order in which they appear below doesn’t correspond to the place they ranked in the final voting):
Makoto Furukawa went a bit under the radar in 2022 despite how strongly he kicked off the year (or even how active he was in 2D music projects).
Owner of one if the most powerful and complete vibratos among male seiyuu artists, with a unique charm and allure always present in his performances and with a stylish sound as a solo artist, Furukawa was full-on impressing everyone in the first half of 2022.
The talented acid-jazz artist released 2 singles “Ware, bara ni insu” and “Ibara Rinbukyoku“, bringing stylish, refined and deeply emotional songs to the spotlight.
Furukawa wrote lyrics to some of the songs and continued to show how interesting are the stories he creates.
However, it is a pity that the year wrapped up for him without a live show or even a full-length album to neatly wrap up his activities in 2022.
Well, onto 2023 and hoping Furukawa arrives with something outstanding yet again.
Tasuku Hatanaka made a big comeback in the summer with the release of his 2nd full-length album “Real“.
This was a much needed comeback after 1 full year of no releases, which was strange as Hatanaka was riding on a lot of momentum thanks to the stellar release of “TWISTED HEARTS“.
Still, “Real” encompasses and closes another awesome phase in Tasuku Hatanaka’s solo career, one marked by experimentation and growth both as a performer and singer.
The year wrapped up there without even a live show so it felt like there could have been a bit more in there for his fans but, unfortunately, there wasn’t.
Shunichi Toki was more impressive than usual in 2022, and fans noticed it!
The talented seiyuu and solo artist tackled the challenge of releasing his first full-length album “Good for” and left quite the awesome impression in me by releasing what I consider a top 3 best album released in 2022.
He managed to nail the vibes from the 80s and 90s in that album, there were amazing new arrangements for songs that, in the past, had been lackluster. There were new awesome tunes that were genuinely impressive on the composition but also performance sides.
And Shunichi Toki, with his sweet tenor voice, managed to deliver outstanding performances that left me wanting much more from him as a solo artist.
I feel like “Good for” is Toki’s best album to date, a fantastic example of the technical singer he is but also, without forgetting, that he is really experienced as a singer and can basically do it all on the vocal end.
2022 was a strong year for Shunichi Toki, one he can finally build up from and embrace that momentum to impress in 2023.
2022 was a solid year for Gakuto Kajiwara.
He has been sounding really well since the start of his activities as a solo artist, displaying a consistency and technicality that very few have.
And he has a laidback semi-acoustic sound that perfectly fits his impressive clean vocals.
As he arrived in 2022, he made sure to further improve as a singer and songwriter, creating unique songs, writing interesting lyrics for himself and delivering, at times, impressive performances.
He released “Irochigai no Itotaba” and “Road movie” and left fans waiting for more.
By the end of the year, the rising star held his 2nd live show Gakuto Kajiwara 2nd ONE MAN LIVE “Road Movie”, wrapping up 2022 in style.
Mamoru Miyano was really active as a solo artist in the last quarter of 2022.
He released his long-awaited 7th album “THE ENTERTAINMENT” arrived with previously released songs but also outstanding new tracks, most of them embracing R&B, music genre that was at the core of Mamo’s solo debut.
This return to basics while making the best of his improved singing skills, technique and charisma as well as the maturity he now has to his sound led to one of the best album releases of the year and for sure made Miyano shine as the year ended.
To wrap up his activities in 2022, MAMORU MIYANO ARENA LIVE TOUR 2022 〜ENTERTAINING!〜 was held in November, bringing 6 days of electrifying performances to 3 prefectures in Japan.
2022 was a quieter year for Yuma Uchida.
He released a big full-length album in the previous year – THTFHQ AWARDS 2021’s Album of the year “equal” – and was out to only make smaller CD releases in 2022, which he did.
He kicked off the year with “good mood“, a beautiful single with a cozy vibe and later in the year, to simultaneously celebrate his 30th anniversary and 10th single release, he released “Congrats!!“.
YUMA UCHIDA LIVE 2022 「Gratz! / your world, our world」was held in November 2022, featuring a dual concept, with each show having a different setlist and vibe.
As 2022 wrapped up, Yuma Uchida’s fans were filled with good music and awesome performances but certainly waiting for much, much more music from Uchida in 2023 to quench the thirst after the release of “equal”.
In 2022, Toshiyuki Toyonaga was not as active as a solo artist but he was making sure other seiyuu artists were shining.
The talented singer-songwriter was back to his work as a composer, this time around teaming up with Daisuke Ono.
He composed and sang backing vocals in the quirky tune “Self Satisfaction” in the concept mini-album “Sounds of Love“.
During “Toshiyuki Toyonaga live “BEST!! ~Ongaku wa hibi no jinsei da doke ni mo hikari wa atari tsunagareru~“, live show that was held on 20/08/2022 celebrating Toyonaga’s path as a solo artist up until now he premiered a new song “Charactanswer”.
Out of all the nominees for this year’s edition of THTFHQ AWARDS, he was the one with the least activity however it was quite interesting to find him lending his talents to other seiyuu artists.
Wataru Hatano had a solid 2022. He kicked off the year with the release of the single “Naniiro“.
He followed that up with Wataru Hatano Live 2022 colors, live show held in March.
To wrap up the year, Wataru Hatano released the full-length album “TORUS“.
The album has its moments of brilliance and as a first-ever concept album by Wataru Hatano, was is quite awesome and ambitious. Unfortunately though, not many people got into it.
Still, 2022 was a solid year for Wataru Hatano, filled with awesome performances.
Takuya Eguchi may have not released an impressive CD with “EGURand” – especially in comparison with the stellar debut that was “EGUISM” – but he made sure to showcase his growth in a set of interesting performances that explored varied music genres.
2022 was also the year in which Takuya Eguchi hopped on stage for the very first time as a solo artist to headline his own live tour “Takuya Eguchi Live Tour 2022 Asa made nomitai 〜 EGUCHI-ya 〜”.
Eguchi’s sophomore year as a solo artist wasn’t as impressive as some expected but he made sure to try out new music genres, approach his singing in a different way and then take all of those things to live performances that brought it lots of fans to the venues.
Hopefully he can build up from there and show more growth in 2023 with the release of his 1st single.
Thank you to everyone that voted at the THTFHQ AWARDS 2022! A new edition will be held in January 2024 so make sure to follow THTFHQ on social media for notifications when the voting starts.