About JERO

In the hyper-traditional world of Japanese enka singing, there isn't generally a lot of room for change -- in the lyrics, in the music, or in the singers and audiences themselves. In an odd twist, however, an information sciences graduate from Pittsburgh won a karaoke contest (his competition itself stemming from an appreciation of enka from a Japanese grandmother's record collection) and made his way into Japan as an essentially traditional enka singer. Though Jero (born Jerome White) wears his own urban styles (complete with chains, cocked baseball cap, bandana, etc.) and introduced a form of hip-hop dancing into his performances, his delivery of enka itself is entirely on the mark with tradition. His songs deal with the same hallmark heartbreak of traditional enka, his delivery and intonation fitting perfectly into the melodramatic form. All that's missing is an aging Japanese singer on a small lounge stage. While enka has been on a sharp decline in Japan for years, Jero's 2008 debut single, "Umiyuki," and associated album, Covers, found their way quickly onto the Oricon charts, "Umiyuki" debuting at number four and Covers peaking at number five. Instead of being shunned by the aging enka audience, Jero was apparently embraced, and additionally lured younger listeners back to the genre. ~ Adam Greenberg

    Pittsburgh, PA
  • BORN
    October 4, 1981

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