Superfly is a Japanese rock act that debuted on April 4, 2007. Formerly a duo, the act now consists solely of lyricist and vocalist Shiho Ochi with former guitarist Kōichi Tabo still credited as the group's composer and part time lyricist. Superfly's two studio albums have all been certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, and their three albums (the third being classified as a "single" by the group) all debuted at the top of the Oricon's Weekly Album Charts, a first for a female recording artist in Japan in seven years.
Shiho Ochi met Kōichi Tabo in 2003 while they were students at Matsuyama University. They were both members of a music circle that covered songs by Finger 5 and the Rolling Stones. In 2004, the group formed the blues band "Superfly", naming themselves after Curtis Mayfield's song "Superfly". The group disbanded in 2005, with only Ochi and Tabo remaining when they went to Tokyo to seek out a label.
2007–2008: Break up and Superfly
After a battle between recording labels, the duo debuted on Warner Music Group with their 2007 single "Hello Hello". This was followed by their Shibuya, Tokyo, Apple Store performance and the subsequent EP Live from Tokyo. Kōichi Tabo scaled back his involvement in the group on November 8, 2007, a few months after their second single "Manifesto" was released, remaining behind the scenes composing the songs. Later that month on November 28, 2007, Superfly released a single in collaboration with the Australian band Jet, titled "I Spy I Spy". Since departing with Superfly, Tabo has also written music for artists such as Charice Pempengco, Mai Fukui, Yuna Ito, Maaya Sakamoto, BECCA, Saki Fukuda, and Asia Engineer.
Superfly's debut album Superfly was released on May 14, 2008, topping the Japanese Oricon weekly album charts for two weeks. Following its release, Ochi, who has a great admiration for Janis Joplin, was given the chance to travel to San Francisco in 2008 where she travelled through Haight-Ashbury and met up with Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company as part of a documentary titled Following the Steps of Janis on Music On! TV. Ochi also counts Carole King, Maria Muldaur, and the Rolling Stones as some of her other favorite artists.
2008–2009: Woodstock and Box Emotions
The asteroid 91907 Shiho was named after Ochi in 2009, as the asteroid was discovered at the Kuma Kogen Astronomical Observatory in Ehime Prefecture, her home prefecture. April also saw the release of the Rock'N'Roll Show 2008 DVD set from the band's 2008 tour stop at the NHK Hall.
During the 2009 Heroes of Woodstock Tour for the tour's stop in Bethel, New York, the site of the original Woodstock Festival, Ochi joined Big Brother and the Holding Company on stage and performed "Down on Me" and "Piece of My Heart" as a follow up to the previous documentary.
Superfly's second studio album, Box Emotions, was released on September 2, 2009. Box Emotions debuted at No. 1 on the Oricon weekly charts, with the first week sales of around 214,000 copies. For the Japanese iTunes Store Rewind of 2009, Box Emotions was the album of the year.
Ochi has also teamed up with fashion designer Manami Kobayashi for the A.I.C (Another Important Culture) brand to create a line of Woodstock and hippie subculture themed clothing called "Cosmic Market".
2010: "Wildflower & Cover Songs: Complete Best"
Superfly's first single since Box Emotions titled "Dancing on the Fire" won Best Rock Video at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards Japan. April saw the release of Dancing at Budokan!!, Superfly's second video album featuring the band's performance at the Nippon Budokan in 2009.
Her first released song of 2010, "Tamashii Revolution", was used as NHK's 2010 FIFA World Cup theme song, and was released digitally on June 18, 2010. "Tamashii Revolution" was later included as a B-side on the single and cover album compilation "Wildflower & Cover Songs: Complete Best 'Track 3'", which became Superfly's third album to debut at number 1 on the Oricon.
On November 30, 2010, Superfly performed at the Zepp Tokyo arena alongside a session band called "The Lemon Bats" (consisting of Mo'Some Tonebender's Kazuhiro Momo and Yoshiyuki Yatuhashi on guitar, Koichi Tsutaya on keyboard, Hidekazu Hinata on bass, and Losalios' Tetsuya Nakamura on drums) in a show called the Switch 25th Anniversary presents Superfly & The Lemon Bats Special Live "Rock'N' Roll Muncher". Performing as "Superfly & The Lemon Bats", Ochi performed covers of "Dr. Feelgood", "Beat It", "Barracuda", "White Room", "I Saw Her Standing There", "Land of a Thousand Dances", and "Born to Lose", in addition to covers of her own songs "Tanjō", "Manifesto", "Free Planet", "Alright!!", "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo", and "Bitch".
2011–present: Mind Travel
Superfly's song "Beep!!" was used as the theme for the film Manzai Gang, and was on a double A-side single with "Sunshine Sunshine", a song used for the KDDI "Meet the Music 2011" campaign. It was intended that she was to perform "Sunshine Sunshine" live at the Okinawa Namura Hall in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, on March 20, 2011, with the performance broadcast live over FM52 radio stations Tokyo FM, J-Wave, and FM Okinawa. This performance, however, was postponed due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. In response, Ochi recorded an a capella version of "Sunshine Sunshine" which she posted on her blog on March 18, 2011, and wrote the new song "You & Me", which she posted on her official blog four days later. "You & Me" was subsequently made available for purchase on the iTunes, Recochoku, and wamo! digital music stores and all proceeds went to the Japanese Red Cross's relief efforts in Tōhoku. By May, the song had raised ¥7,831,780 (approx. US$96.8k, €68k, or £59.4k) for the Red Cross.
Superfly also had a national tour in 2011, visiting 32 cities and 35 venues. The tour, dubbed "Mind Traveler", supported the group's third studio album Mind Travel, which was released on June 15, 2011. On June 21, 2011, Mind Travel topped the Oricon's weekly album charts having sold over 166,000 copies, making it Superfly's fourth consecutive album to debut at number 1, a feat not duplicated by a female artist since Hikaru Utada in 2004. In August 2011, Superfly announced that the band would go on an arena tour titled "Shout In The Rainbow!!", with shows at the Saitama Super Arena, the Nagoya Nippon Gaishi Hall, and the Osaka-jō Hall. This news was followed by the release of the band's 14th single "Ai o Kurae", a song for their upcoming 4th album.
In 2012, Superfly participated in the JAPAN UNITED with MUSIC 30-member supergroup in recording a cover of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" to raise money for reconstruction efforts regarding the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.