I found this guy's story pretty interesting. Jero is the first African-American enka singer in Japanese music history. He is actually 1/4 Japanese (grandmother is japanese), graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in '03 and moved to Japan. He learned of enka (traditional japanese music that is somewhat old fashioned and not popular among the current youth) from his grandmother and began singing it. He was discovered by JVC music scouts at a karaoke contest.

Clearly the record label is marketing the contrast of his hip hop gear and these traditionally melodramatic ballads. Initial TV performance have audiences and tarentos expecting him to rap only to be shocked once he starts singing enka. And I guess the strategy is working because he's flying pretty high on the Oricon charts. I'm not an enka expert, but his voice seems pretty smooth and its impressive that he has a good command of the Japanese language. Supposedly some of the Japanese have referred to him as the "black ship of the enka world"!


Find It