ISSUE: Spring 2012
STORY: Courtney Hong
Get ready, America. Japanese superstar Jin Akanishi is set to take over with his U.S. debut album, Japonicana.
Singer, songwriter, producer and actor Jin Akanishi is remarkably focused. The 27-year-old groundbreaking artist has been working hard (often with no time to eat) on his highly anticipated U.S. debut album, Japonica (a reference to the great influence that Japan, the U.S. and Spain have had on the singer), which drops March 6. Akanishi describes the album as one that “has no boundaries … a collection of music and sounds that I love,” including club, dance and pop. It’s a project that “really allows me to be creative and true to myself.”
Akanishi, who grew up in Japan, is used to crossing boundaries. He was the lead vocalist for the Japanese boy band KAT-TUN, which had multiple number one hits on the Japanese national charts and became the first group to ever perform 10 consecutive days at one of Japan’s most notable venues. But Akanishi stepped into unknown territory when he left KAT- TUN to pursue a solo career, without a record company’s support, in order to fully utilize his creativity.
So far, Akanishi’s risk-taking has paid off, with the release of his number one iTunes single, “Test Drive” featuring Jason Derulo, and a deal with Warner Music Group. After a number of solo shows in Japan, he toured the U.S. in 2010, performing at sold-out, 2,000-plus seat venues. “It was an amazing experience,” says Akanishi. “It was the first time I did anything like that in the U.S.”
Akanishi returns to the U.S. with a five-city tour starting March 9, and will be making his big screen debut as a wandering samurai alongside Keanu Reeves in the period film, 47 Ronin, opening on February 8, 2013. Though he’s newly married, expect to see a lot more of the superstar. “L.A. has become a home away from home,” he says. Lucky us!