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CDJapan Archives

January 2009
Black Enka Singer Jero's First Album

Black Enka Singer Jero's First Album

Eager rookie "Enka" singer, Jero will drop his first album "Yakusoku." The album features his remarkable first single "Umiyuki," second single "Eisa" (lyrics by Yo Hitoto), and more. First initial pressing includes a poster.

From his very early age, Jero's Japanese grandmother would let him sing great Enka songs even though he didn't speak any Japanese and didn't catch the meaning of the lyrics of the songs. But gradually, he became familiar with this expressive style of singing embodying the rich traditions of Japanese culture, and as his fascination and love for it grew, he began to dream of becoming a professional Enka singer.

When he was a student at University of Pittsburgh, he visited Japan for 3 months as an exchange student, and that's when he aspired to make his dream come true. After graduating from college, he quickly moved to Japan, taking various types of job while actively participating in Enka contests until he was discovered by a major record company.

He went through a formal training for two years, and he released the highly acclaimed debut single "Umiyuki" which won him the New Artist of the Year Award at the Annual Nihon Record Taishou and which also propelled him to appear in the 59th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen, the most famous Japanese music TV special that is broadcasted at the end of each year. So, that's how this hip American-born man clad in hip-hop fashion came to be an genuine Enka artist on his path to pursue his dream to a higher dimension.

Staying faithfully true to the traditions of the art, he has earned reputation that he understands the heart and soul of the Japanese perhaps a lot better than the average Japanese people nowadays. So, that's the remarkable and amazing story of this Enka artist. Listen to how it all culminates on "Yakusoku" the first album!