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bubu13 Profile
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Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


JERO (ジェロ) is an American born enka singer, and the first black enka singer. Interestingly, despite singing enka music he still has the outward appearance of being a hip-hop artist. He debuted under Victor in 2008 with the single Umiyuki.
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Official Website (Japanese)
Official Blog (Japanese)
Oricon Profile (Japanese)
• Jpopmusic.com Forum
Japan Probe (Couple of appearances on Japanese TV)

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    * Stage Name: JERO (ジェロ)
    * Real Name: Jerome White, Jr.
    * Birthday: 1981.09.04
    * Birth place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Information
JERO was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother was half-Japanese, and his Japanese grandmother got him interested in enka music from a young age. He first went to Japan at age 15 to participate in a Japanese language speech contest. In high school he was captain on the dance team. He enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in information science, and graduated in 2003. During this time, he went on a three month exchange to a university in Kansai, and during his stay was when he decided he would become an enka singer.

After graduating, he returned to Japan and worked as a teacher at an eikaiwa school in Wakayama-ken, as well as being a computer engineer in Osaka. In his spare time he appeared on NHK singing programs, and entered many karaoke competitions and winning an array of awards. In particular, he entered a karaoke competition sponsored by Sakamoto Fuyumi and won first place, which is what caught the eye of Victor and got him scouted. He practiced for two years, and finally in February 2008 debuted with the single Umiyuki. --Wiki.ThePPN

Jero, Enka's First African-American Star
February 26, 2008
The media is in a flurry over a young African-American by the name of Jero (26) who's set to shake up the music industry. No, he's not a visiting rap star, but the first foreign singer to make a name in the traditional world of enka for many years. And in a clever marketing move, the Philadelphia native's heartfelt Japanese ballads are in stark contrast to his hip hop fashion. Real name Jerome White, Jr, he came to Japan in 2003 after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, determined to fulfill a promise to his late Japanese grandmother to become an enka singer and appear on the annual "Kohaku Uta Gassen" song show. He achieved the former with the recent release of his debut single, which is set to be the highest-ever pop chart entry by a solo enka singer. According to Oricon, "Umiyuki" will be ranked No.4 in next week's general chart and No.1 in the enka-kayou chart. Though the song's title translates as "Ocean Snow" and conjures up images of the Japan Sea, Jero admits the only ocean he's seen was in California. But he is the real deal, with good looks, an excellent voice, and fluent Japanese, who tactfully includes natto and umeboshi among his favorite foods (both are commonly quoted examples of food that gaijin can't eat). He studied for a time at the Kansai Gaidai University school of foreign languages, and performed on NHK's "Nodo Jiman" amateur song contest in 2003, something that must have made his grandmother Takiko very proud. With his talent and marketability, his chances of fulfilling that second promise with a Kohaku appearance are looking good. --Japan Entertainment News - February 2008

Discography
    * Singles
    * [2008.02.20] Umiyuki (海雪; Ocean Snow)

Last edited by bubu13, 2/25/2008, 8:59 pm


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Hiroshi66 Profile
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


Kudos to him! I read over his profile, and I really think that its great for Jero to enter the world of Japanese enka music. I know of many non-Japanese singers who have really made it famous in the world of Japanese entertainment (like Boa and Toho Shinki from Korea, or Monkey Majik from Canada) but I think what's special about Jero is that unlike the others who have made it famous singing Japanese pop music, Jero really enters the world of enka and follows in the footsteps of singers like Misora Hibari.

I heard his single Umiyuki (translated into "Ocean Snow?") and I really liked it. He mixes modern sounds and enka style of music.
2/27/2008, 1:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Hiroshi66   Send PM to Hiroshi66 AIM
 
bubu13 Profile
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


Oricon chart news

One of the bigger stories is still Jero (ジェロ), the black enka singer from Pittsburgh who debuted the previous week. His Umiyuki fell only one spot to #5, though it actually rose about 1,000 in sales. Not counting artists that originally were in a group or who had a comeback, enka's last debut single to spend two consecutive weeks in the top 5 was the re-release of Akio Kayama's Hisame in the early '80s. However, Jero is the only one in history to have his initial single make the top 5 in its first two weeks.
• Oricon Style Site (Japanese)

Source: Oricon | Tokyograph

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theanonymousafro Profile
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Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


Cool I heard a little about Jero on the morning news. I don't think I knew he was from Pittsburgh though, I assumed he was from Japan.

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-A aka: 無名アフロ,Nebuta Stalker
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


I just discovered this guy after reading about him in a Northern Cal Japanese Newspaper - Nichibei Times. I was curious enough to look him up on youtube youtube jero. He's actually pretty good. I hope that his 5 minutes of Japanese fame lasts a little longer when the novelty of him being an African/Japanese American wears off.

His Japanese seems pretty good from what I saw. It puts me to shame and almost makes me want to study again to fluency.
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


class blockquote bubu13 wrote:

Oricon chart news

One of the bigger stories is still Jero (ジェロ), the black enka singer from Pittsburgh who debuted the previous week. His Umiyuki fell only one spot to #5, though it actually rose about 1,000 in sales. Not counting artists that originally were in a group or who had a comeback, enka's last debut single to spend two consecutive weeks in the top 5 was the re-release of Akio Kayama's Hisame in the early '80s. However, Jero is the only one in history to have his initial single make the top 5 in its first two weeks.
• Oricon Style Site (Japanese)

Source: Oricon | Tokyograph
Good for him! I was at the Asahiya Bookstore yesterday (the one in West L.A on the corner of Sawtelle and Olympic) and I saw JERO's CD - I didn't have a chance to stop and look because I was in line for the register.. but it said "海雪 Umiyuki" on it so I'm assuming its a single.

Hopefully he'll make some more enka. At the rate he's going popularity-wise, I'm thinking he'll make an appearence on next year's Kouhaku.
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


Hi, everyone :
Thank you for introduce this wonderful singer Jero. I listened to his music on youtube, and I really like it. It’s so wonderful to see this kind of east-west combination. It’s so unique and refreshing. I want to buy his CDs.


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bubu13 Profile
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


Jero to host special radio program

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April 14, 2008
Jero, the black enka singer who made his impressive debut in February, will host a special radio program on the Nippon Broadcasting System. This will be his first time hosting a radio show.

The 3-hour special is titled Jero ga Erabu Nippon no Uta. The program will feature a selection of famous enka songs, chosen by Jero, and he will talk about his own memories and experiences with those songs. Comedian Kinichi Hagimoto and rakugoka Taihei Hayashiya will participate as guests.

Nippon Broadcasting System will air the show on April 21 at 6:50pm.
Source: Sankei Sports | Tokyograph

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Hiroshi66 Profile
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


Wow, good for him. Its not easy to break into the Japanese entertainment circle (or any entertainment circle, for that matter) but he seems to be doing a great job of it. Hopefully the radio show will help spread the word and further his career.
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Re: Enka Singer: ジェロ (JERO)


JERO to release cover album

April 20, 2008
New enka sensation JERO announced that he will be releasing a cover album, titled COVERS, on June 25. This is his second release, following up on his debut single Umiyuki that came out in February.

The COVERS tracklist is said to include Cho Yong-pil's Pusankou e Kaere (a.k.a. Come Back to Busan), Akio Kayama's Hisame, and Frank Nagai's Kimi Koishi.
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Announcement on JERO's blog (Japanese)

Source: Sankei Sports | Tokyograph

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