Glimpse of Us: Filthy Frank, Pink Guy, and George Miller
April 10, 2023
If you were scrolling through TikTok during the COVID pandemic, there is a very low chance that you haven’t heard one of George Kusunoki Miller’s songs. His music consistently goes viral, with “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” gaining momentum in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic and “Glimpse of Us” immediately after its release in 2022. But, you probably know him better as the well-known singer and songwriter, Joji.
But, if you still have no idea who that is, you may know him by another name: Filthy Frank. Originally from Osaka, Japan, Miller moved to the United States in 2010 and started one of his iconic YouTube channels the year after. His first channel, DizastaMusic, where he posted various musical and comedy sketches, gained over 1 million subscribers and over 180 million views. After a multitude of copyright and channel strikes, he ceased posting on the channel in 2014 and moved his character, Filthy Frank, to a new channel entitled “TVFilthyFrank,” where he continued making comedy sketches and gained over 7.7 million subscribers and over 1.2 billion views. His videos were incredibly viral due to their shock-style comedy and meme-ability.
Due to the success that the channel saw, Miller released two comedy albums and one EP under the name “Pink Guy,” which kickstarted his music career, albeit in an odd way. And during his time posting videos on the channel, Miller was also working towards announcing his music career under a new name: Joji. He was concerned about his fans not respecting the
separation between his comedic and serious music, so he canceled the project until 2017. While this was happening, he was also concerned about his online privacy, deleting multiple videos that included information about his real name and where he lived, fearing that it may prevent him from pursuing a career in the future.
After a few years of continuing to post videos to the channel, due to serious health problems, disinterest in continuing the character, and desire to shift his music path, Miller announced that he would no longer be posting videos and that he would be making music under the name Joji. He released his first single, “Will He,” in 2017 and his debut EP in 2018. Quickly after the release of these, he released his first album, BALLADS 1, featuring the single “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK,” which recently hit 1 billion streams on Spotify. He released his second album, Nectar, in 2020 and his most recent album, SMITHEREENS, in 2022.
With over 27 million monthly listeners on Spotify, his music is described as a mix of R&B, lo-fi, and trip hop, but Miller simply describes his style as dark love songs. Influenced by James Blake, Radiohead, Shlohmo and Donald Glover, he says that he is happy to be able to make music under a new name, because Joji is not a character, he is a reflection of himself.
Essential Listens: “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK,” “Glimpse of Us,” “Die For You”