Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a plethora of musical talent come and go in every genre – Joji, whose real name is George Miller, is one of them. The lo-fi R&B trip-hop musician hailed from Osaka, Japan, and started off his YouTube shortly after moving to the US in 2011, birthing some of the most iconic yet controversial online personas, including Filthy Frank and Pink Guy which are “the embodiment of everything a person should not be.”
However, his over-the-top rants and extreme shock humors have attracted the worst type of internet fanbase, so it was a massive shift when Miller transitioned into a serious ballad powerhouse. When he retired the violent alter ego in 2017 for good, some of his hardcore fans turned against him and hated that shift. Here’s a simplified look at the timeline of Joji’s musical career, and what’s next for the singer.
8 In 2011, George Miller Created ‘DizastaMusic’
In 2011, George Miller, aged 19, created the “DizastaMusic” channel on YouTube as a way to promote his music. The singer was attending the international school Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, at the time, and posting goofy pranks of himself and his friends, but nothing was too outrageous. He was a part of his school choir and a Beats n’ Miso rap collective under the moniker of MC Ruckuss.
7 When Joji’s Pink Guy Alter Ego Was Born
With this channel, George Miller introduced the world to his ‘Filthy Frank’, and later, ‘Pink Guy’ personas. As Filthy Frank, he would make a lot of manic statements and shocking jokes, which contributed to his earlier comedy hip-hop music. Pink Guy, the second character of the many people of the Filthy Frank universe, also raps in the show with a questionable sense of humor. His first song as the character, “Who’s The Sucker,” is a perfect example of that. He raps, “I once found a dead dog on the road I left him there on the road / You want to know why? Because we stir-fry.”
6 Joji Kicked Off The ‘Harlem Shake’ Trend In 2013
“Harlem Shake,” one of the most iconic internet trends of the early 2010s, was popularized by this very musician. On February 2nd, 2013, George Miller, as Pink Guy from The Filthy Frank Show, kicked off the phenomenon in “Filthy Complication #6 – Smell My Fingers” by dancing to the song in convulsive movements.
“I started both at the same time,” he told Billboard, reminiscing his gross-out comedic days. He added, “Back then, to make up for that fact, I would still make music, but funny stuff — but now I get to do stuff that I want to hear.”
5 In “Filthy Frank Exposes Himself,” Joji Revealed That He’s Quitting The Alter Ego
The pressure of being a toxic character somewhat got the best of George Miller, which contributed to his spiraling mental health conditions. For all his controversial antics, he was among the internet’s most-beloved content creators with over 7 million subscribers and 1.1 billion total views on TVFilthyFrank and 1 million subscribers and almost 180 million other views on DizastaMusic.
So, in the 2014 12-minute video “Filthy Frank Exposes Himself?” he addresses the issue as himself and attempts to quit the character even before reaching the peak of his popularity. However, his toxic, aggressive, and rude fanbase hated it, prompting him to even take things to the extreme with his Filthy Frank character. He released two comedic rap albums as the character in 2014 and 2017.
4 When The ‘Joji’ Musical Persona Was Born
Realizing that he couldn’t escape the character sooner, George Miller slowly planted the seeds of his musical persona, Joji, throughout his videos. He grew his fanbase slowly and shifted them into his serious musical side before making the full transition. He even quietly released his music as Joji, “Thom” and “you suck charlie,” on his SoundCloud page, which sound totally different from his manic lifestyle as Frank. After years of build-up, he announced his retirement from YouTube in 2017, citing his lack of interest and “serious health conditions” as his main reason.
3 Joji Signed To 88rising In 2017 & Released His Debut EP, ‘In Tongues’
In the same year, 88rising music label was on the rise. Founded by Sean Miyashiro, the label gave a platform to Asian musicians, like Rich Brian, Keith Ape, Higher Brothers, and more in the American market. Joji was the perfect fit for that, and he signed with them in 2017. His debut EP, In Tongues, was released to celebrate his full departure from the ego-maniac characters.
2 In 2018, Joji’s ‘Ballads 1’ Was Released
Joji released his debut album, Ballads 1, in October 2018 under the label, catapulting his stardom to a whole new level as a serious musician with singles like “Slow Dance in the Dark” and “Yeah Right” propelled the album to where it is. With this record, the singer scored history as the first Asian artist to top the R&B/hip-hop Billboard chart, and he wasn’t going to stop there. To promote the album, he embarked on a North American and European tour. His sophomore album, Nectar, was released in 2020 also to a moderate success.
1 Joji’s Back With His First Single Since 2020
In 2022, Joji is back with new music with his latest ballad single, “Glimpse of Us,” which peaked in the top 10 in many countries. Contrary to his previously electronic tunes, the song is a stripped-down chilling piano ode to “the one that got away.” Additionally, he’s also been promoting his latest tour.
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