fly to high

Jero – Umiyuki
March 2, 2008, 1:52 am
Filed under: Japan, Jero, Jpop | Tags:

Jero’s debut single “Umiyuki” has made huge waves on Japanese music. Real name Jerome White Jr., quarter Japanese and from Pittsburgh, he’s the first African-American enka singer and has the highest ranking enka debut single for a solo artist who hadn’t previously been in a group (catching #4 on the Oricon charts).

I’m personally not an enka fan so I can’t comment much on the music, but I’d say Jero has a nice enka voice. The beginning of the video makes it seem like a hip-hop song, then immediately flips a 180 into old-school sounding enka. Throughout the video though, there are scenes of Jero singing and two other guys doing hip-hop dancing in front of a graffiti covered wall, in straight-up gangsta dress – extremely disconcerted from the music itself, which I’d say is more calming and melancholy. (I really can’t legitimately judge enka music.)

It’ll be interesting to see Jero’s career path in the future – he sings pure enka but dresses in hip hop fashion; is he planning on ever bringing the two genres together? Or is it just a promotional scheme, and he has no intention of actually having hip-hop connections?

More interesting to see will be how Japan treats Jero; his Japanese heritage and language help assimilate him, but he is still a complete novelty to Japan, even more so than imports like Leah Dizon. Currently, a lot of the attention is focused on his appearance. Whether Jero will actually become a consistently popular Japanese music artist or if he is just a one-time hit for the foreigner and novelty obsessed Japanese remains to be seen.


6 Comments so far
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[…] Jero – Umiyuki […]

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I think he has a good chance, I mean if you look past his appearence and heritage he has a beautiful voice that really suits the genre he has chosen. I think he could do really really well, and despite not listening to enka usually I loved Umiyuki so I’m excited for his next single : ) (also, it will be interesting to see if it ranks as high)

Comment by Kahori

I….really like this!! where can i buy it??? Cd japan, yesasia???

Comment by sakuraice

@sakuraice: It’s available at cdjapan, yesasia, hmv japan, and I’m sure many other Japanese CD retailers.

Comment by oroitsme

lol i actually saw him on a tv program before his debut… he seems like a really nice guy… really shy. and before i saw his music video i actually saw one of his live performances too… it’s cool how they are mixing hip hop with enka… really new. and it’s great that this debut single was quite well-received. i like this guy šŸ™‚

Comment by alina

I hope he has tremendous success! Loved it!

Comment by Sheila

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