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About Dakota Star

Dakota Star are an electronica-influenced Japanese pop trio comprised of vocalist Chiaki, songwriter/producer/bassist Alan Brey, and guitarist/co-producer Tusk. Based in Tokyo, Dakota Star have taken a circuitous route to pop stardom since forming in 2002. As a 16-year-old, Chiaki swapped her native Japan for the American Midwest, spending ten months studying in South Dakota. After returning to Tokyo, Chiaki began playing in several bands while earning a living doing dead-end part-time jobs (sometimes literally -- for a time she worked at a funeral parlor) before she met Canadian musician Brey.

In their early years, the group spent more time touring overseas -- in Australia and Germany -- than playing in Japan. They made their recording debut in 2004, contributing four tracks to the Japanese soundtrack to the PlayStation 2 game Gran Turismo 4. In the same year, they also performed at Australia's Falls Festival. It wasn't long before the trio was back down under, appearing at the rock fest Southbound and playing six live dates supporting punk-poppers Veruca Salt in 2005. Closer to home, Dakota Star also provided two songs to the soundtrack of the Japanese sci-fi movie Hinokio, including a cover of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." The band recorded another cover, T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution," as the B-side to its debut single in Germany, "Together Alone." The same song also became Dakota Star's debut single release in Japan during 2006.

Chiaki's husky voice -- hardly typical of J-pop -- gained its biggest exposure to date when Chiaki (credited as Ch) contributed a Brey-penned tune to the soundtrack of the hit 2006 movie starring Miki Nakatani, Memories of Matsuko, alongside other J-pop starlets such as Kaela Kimura and Bonnie Pink. Rockier than the music of either of those two J-pop starlets and with the occasional electronica flourish, Dakota Star's eponymously titled debut album followed later that year. Dai Nagao, a former member of big-selling J-pop act Do as Infinity and a songwriter for Ayumi Hamasaki, wrote two of the tracks. ~ David Hickey

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