LEON & LOLA
In January 15, 2004 Leon and Lola were the first Vocaloids to ever be released. The products were powered by the Vocaloid software, under license from Yamaha, and were release by UK company Zero-G Limited. Leon was a virtual male vocalist while Lola was a female’s. Both of there voices came from professional singer who can not be named.
Of course being the first Vocaloids that of course meant they weren’t perfect. Consumer’s usually complained that Leon’s voice sounded muffled or to high pitch to the point that he sounded like a woman. And while Lola sounded much clearer people said that her voice was too deep making her sound like a man. But despite all these complaints that didn’t stop the two programs from winning 2005 Electronic Musician Editor’s Choice Award in the category ‘Most Innovative Product’ .
In 2006 a CD called A Place in the Sun was release featuring English and Russian song sung by Vocaloid Leon.
Here’s a brief history of the project explained by the creator:
I first heard Lelik (Leon) in January 2004 in Anaheim, on the NAMM seminar, accompanied by Hideki Kenmochi (Yamaha) and Ed Stratton (Zero-G). I was surprised by his voice and got the idea to make an album with him. Our second meeting happened in New York in October 2005 at Music Player Live!, in Bil Bryant’s (from PowerFX) booth. By that time I already had some song sketches in Russian, but Lelik didn’t speak Russian at all. I realized the need to simplify both melodies and lyrics, and that Lelik will have to do his best in articulation. In January 2006 we started work. Now that it’s all done, you can see for yourself, how sincere and amusing these songs have become, when performed with such an unusual timbre.
-Alexei Ustinov, (from CD liner notes)
A year later Vocaloid began to become popular thanks to Vocaloid2 Miku Hatsune. However, Leon ‘popularity’ would only be gain a year after that thanks to ChoiWARU-P, a popular Nico Nico Vocaloid producer. Before using Leon, ChoiWARU-P uploaded 18 works to Nico Nico which used Miku and MEIKO , but none of those got over 5,000 view counts. Them suddenly he uploaded a video of Leon singing True to my heart featuring a picture of a rather manly/funny looking man which got him view counts more than 50,000.After that video, Leon became mostly known as a joke by the Vocaloid community.
In fact Leon’s manly image was so popular that he was able to rank 1st in a weekly Vocaloid ranking that featured him sing Interstellar Flight.
Later on Leon would get another popular and much more appealing image thanks to 愛レオンPさん, who drew Leon as a bishonen type character with blonde hair, a blue shirt, and white pants. His item later became known as a Tulip thanks to a video of him singing Saihate, an original Miku Hatsune song, that featured tulips falling down the screen.
However, Lola wasn’t able to gain such popularity as Leon. Even by English Vocaloid standards she has a very low number of videos featuring her and even fewer fanart. One popular fanart image was given to her thanks to artist Therubozu/Tsutomu_teruko Which usually shows her as a brunette, wearing black pants and a black shirt that is short enough to show her stomach.
Some Nico Nico user think of Lola as black which is mostly likely brought on by the fact her voice is so deep. Lola item is a frying pan, though I can not give any info on why it was given to her.
In the Vocaloid Fandom most people like to think of Leon and Lola as siblings. Lola as the badass/mean sister and Leon as the lonely/loser of a brother. The Vocaloid community have also come to see Leon and Lola as the Kaito and Meiko of the English Vocaloids. Some people even think the Kaito and Leon sound alike.
In July 2004, Zero-G limited launched Miriam, making her the third Vocaloid to be release. Like Lola she was also a virtual female vocalist. Her voice was given to her by popular British singer Miriam Stockley who is the lead singer of the band Adiemus.
Miriam was a huge improvement from the 2 vocaloids before her. Easy to use functionalities were implemented into her lessening the time a person had take in order to get a more realistic singing voice.
In the the year 2005 Mike Oldfield, use Vocaloid Miriam in his album LIGHT & SHADE. In the track “The Gate”, he added “Ooh” and “Yah” to make a chorus harmonized perfectly. In the track “Tears Of An Angel”, he put some lyrics by making them like echoes with the same melodies as the ones played by the keyboard. For this track, he says that this was his first track created by using VOCALOID, and by mixing in his voice, it achieved a nice thick choral effect
Later on Miriam would be feature in another album thanks to authors Esther and Jerry Hicks. The song Emoscale would be a new entry for the upcoming second album of robot vocals. Leon’s “A Place in the Sun, being the first album.
The song Emoscale doesn’t actually have Miriam singing, instead it has her saying random emotions such as fear, wrath, love, and etc. The lyrics are based on the Emotional Scale suggested by Esther and Jerry Hicks in their book entitled Ask and it is Given: learning to Manifest Your Desires. There are 2 versions of the song one in English and one in Russian.
In the Vocaloid community Miriam is nowhere near as popular as Leon, however unlike Leon most producers when using Miriam uses her for serious works.
Because of the silver coloring of her box art most fanart of Miriam portrays her with silver hair. Some people see Miriam as the Miku of English Vocaloid and because of this she is usually drawn with green clothing.
If you go to miriam.co.uk, Miriam Stockley’s webpage, a tube of lipstick will pop up on screen and write out Miriam’s name. It is for this reason why most people has come to see Miriam’s item as lipstick.
Since this is the Vocaloid fandom were talking about Miriam is known to have multiply personalities. She can be either a badass like Lola, shy, or an air head.
There are a lot of videos that feature Miriam and Meiko singing together. Which leads the fandom to think that Miriam sees Meiko as a friend, older sister, or lover.
In January 2007, Yamaha announced a new version of the Vocaloid engine, Vocaloid2. A few months later a Swedish company name PowerFX will release the first Vocaloid2 package, Sweet Ann. Unlike Zero-G, PowerFX actually advertised their Vocaloid. They gave Sweet Ann her own Myspace and uploaded her demo songs to youtube, which gain some attention from the Vocaloid community.
Sweet Ann was a huge improvement over the earlier vocaloids. She was easy to use and her voice was smooth and powerful. However because of her ‘creepy’ box arts Vocaloid fans (mostly Western) did not take like to her.
Nico Nico producers accepted Sweet Ann, but of course they couldn’t help but make fun of her box art. There is a joke running around on Nico Nico where producers make beams shoot from Sweet Ann’s eyes. Similar to the beams that Mikuru uses on the popular anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
Sweet Ann’s box art has also caused some confusion in the Vocaloid fandom. If you look at Sweet Ann’s neck it seems like she has stitches, which is why most fanart shows her with stitches across her body, but in reality the thing around her neck is most likely a choker/necklace.
Andromeca, one of the few Nico Nico producers who uses Sweet Ann, was upset with the virtual vocalist box art and decided to draw her a more attractive image, and soon other artist followed.
It seems that Sweet Ann has quite a large bust size compare to the other female Vocaloids. In the song Bust-uranai no Uta which is sung by Vocaloid Leon (or Kaito depending on which one you look at) Sweet Ann was label as the highest breast size, size F (which equals to a size C in most western countries). The reason for Sweet Ann’s huge bust is mostly brought own by Japanese stereotypes who believe western women have big breast.
When Vocaloid Luka was release Nico Nico producers noticed that she sounded similar to Sweet Ann. It is because of this reason why the two vocaloids are paired together when it comes to singing English songs. Some producers has gone as far to recolor Luka’s hair to yellow, so they can use the image for their Sweet Ann videos.
When it comes to personality Sweet Ann is usually portrayed as nice/helpful or a Vixen. Her item is fried chicken, though I can not give a reason why that item was chosen for her. Because Sweet Ann seems older then most Vocaloids it is said that she does not like to discuss her age.
Sweet Ann also has her own MMD model making her the first and so far only English Vocaloid to be featured in Miku Miku Dance.
In Japanese fannon, people seem to like BigAl/SweetAnn. Probably because they both seem to have ‘stitches’ across their body.
In Western fannon, a lot of people seem supportive of the pairing SweetAnnXGackpoid. However the pairing is most likely one sided seeing how Sweet Ann is often portrayed as the stalker girlfriend and Gackpoid as the boyfriend that just can’t seem to get away from her.
In January 14, 2008 Zero-G release it’s first Vocaloid 2 product, Prima. What made Prima different from the rest of the Vocaloids before her was that her voice was model after a professional soprano opera singer. Which meant she could hit high notes with accuracy and ease. And though she was meant for opera, with a few adjustments Prima voice could also be suited for pop and R&B.
When Prima was release to Japan in February 22, 2008, she was often use as a back up singer for Japanese Vocaloid songs. Later on Prima was to be the first English Vocaloid to be included in the Lipync model series. The LipSync model portrayed Prima as a extremely pale girl wearing a a dark red dress, and a white flower in her short, wavy, black hair.Another well known images features Prima in a white trenchcoat, a skirt with stockings underneath, and a tophat to complete the look.
Prima was given a yandere type personality by the Western fandom due to the fact that when people tried to illegally download vocaloids, such as Miku and Len/Rin Kagamine, they had to download Prima to get the program in English. However illegal downloads of Prima don’t have proper confirmations codes. Causing not only Prima to stop working but other Vocaloid programs as well. Basically if you couldn’t keep her you couldn’t keep any vocaloids.
It is said the Prima’s item is Wine, but because of her yandere nature it’s mostly likely you’ll see fanart of her holding weapons rather than the alcoholic beverage. Vocaloid Prima is the only English Vocaloid so far to have a FLELE shell which was created by DA member Kamui-Gakuko.
A well-known pairing involving the soprano Vocaloid is PrimaXDell. Which became popular due to the interaction between the two characters from the popular Vocaoid roleplaying community, Vocaloidrp-da.
-SONIKA ENTRY COMING SOON-
-BIG-AL ENTRY COMING SOON-