Students excited for Joji tour kickoff at Stanford

Leena Hussein and Maya Mukherjee

Joji, a Japanese rhythm and blues singer, will make his “SMITHEREENS” tour debut at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Stanford Frost Amphitheater. Many students from the Palo Alto Unified School District, including senior Caden Domingo, were encouraged to attend because of the close proximity of the opening venue. “Especially since I used to listen to his music a lot, I figured I should go because it is not often that mainstream artists hold concerts in Palo Alto,” Domingo said. (Photo Credit: Shorefire Media)

Popular rhythm and blues artist Joji will make his “SMITHEREENS” tour debut at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Stanford Frost Amphitheater. Many attending Palo Alto students are looking forward to the tour kickoff.

Joji’s name can be spotted at the bottom of millions of TikToks. His new song “Glimpse of Us” has taken off rapidly on Spotify and TikTok, launching him into fame and the top 100 artists on Spotify. “Glimpse of Us” has garnered almost half a billion streams, while his 2018 song “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” has nearly a billion.

Palo Alto High School senior Evie Barclay said Joji’s local tour venue was very unexpected. 

“It was surprising to see Palo Alto listed on a tour schedule next to cities like Boston and Chicago,” Barclay said. “Having something local is more accessible and made convincing the parents a bit easier.”

According to Gunn High School sophomore Yayoi Tomaszewski, the tour kickoff at Stanford is an example of artists connecting with smaller cities.

“I appreciate that he [Joji] takes time to come to small cities like this that aren’t necessarily New York or Los Angeles,” Tomaszewski said. “I think this is a great way for Palo Alto to be recognized too.” 

Barclay said this is a perfect concert to attend coming out of the pandemic because of how close the venue is.

“I love concerts and haven’t been to one since COVID-19 lockdowns, so I jumped at the opportunity to see one of my favorite artists at a venue so close by,” Barclay said. 

Some students, like Paly senior Caden Domingo, support Joji because of how diverse his songs are.

“I think he [Joji] is so popular because his music can be relatable for many people and his music covers a wide range of genres,” Domingo said. “Whenever I need to chill out, I’ll just listen to him.”

Tomaszewski said Joji’s music has been important to her for a long time.

“His songs have been a part of my life since I was 11, so seeing him live is a dream come true in a way,” Tomaszewski said. 

According to Tomaszewski, Joji’s evolution from a comedian on YouTube to a musician gained a lot of attention and praise from fans. 

“He made hilarious videos and songs that would go along with some of his pranks on YouTube,” Tomaszewski said. “No one really took him seriously back then, and his entertainment style became pretty popular since it was different, funny, and weird. Once he switched to music, it’s like he became a whole new person. The seriousness in him got put out in an artistic way and that really gave his songs meaning.”

According to Barclay, Joji’s music resonates with many people and brings them comfort.

“There’s something about Joji’s music that is distinctly empathetic, personal, and a little bit haunting at the same time,” Barclay said. “Joji’s broad range of experiences is reflected in the range of feelings throughout his songs, and I think that’s why so many people have latched onto his music upon its release.”

Barclay anticipates this concert will have a unique and positive impact on the Palo Alto community.

“The shared experience of Joji’s concert will bring those people [going] together,” Barclay said. “Having large, exciting events does tend to bring more energy to the community.”