YouTube channel Great Big Story recently had a piece where they introduce the very first “black enka singer” in Japan’s history, a man with roots in Japan but was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a short piece about the passionate singer Jerome White, known as “Jero” (ジェロ), who moved to Japan to become an enka singer.
As the genre enka is more of a traditional—typically slow-paced—genre, it is more popular with the older generation. Thus, Jero made one of his main goals to expose enka to the younger generation in Japan, to allow them to discover a new side of it.
Jero’s song Umi Yuki puts on a modern hip-hop twist in combination with melodramatic tunes and passionate vocals.
For something that might seem unreachable to many, Jero did do pretty good for himself, releasing 12 singles, two original albums, and seven cover albums (including a best-of). His latest release BEST&MV came out earlier this year in February, compiling his best songs and music videos throughout his 10 years of being professionally active as an enka singer. However, as of now, Jero has chosen to put his career on-hold and is currently on an indefinite hiatus. While this is the case, Jero promised to make effort to stay in touch with everyone on Twitter.
Allow Jero himself to tell you about his life in the video below.