Pitt Alumnus, Enka Singer “Jero” Named Best New Artist at Japan Record Awards

Issue Date: 
February 2, 2009


Pitt alumnus Jerome White Jr., Japan’s pop sensation better known as “Jero,” was named Best New Artist at the 50th Annual Japan Record Awards—the Japanese equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

White also was honored recently with two other Best New Artist awards, from the Best Hit Song Festival and the Japan Cable Radio Awards. In addition, he received an exclusive invitation to perform in the New Year’s Kohaku Uta Gassen television program.

White sings enka, a unique blend of hip-hop and Japanese ballads noted for its melancholic lyrics that romanticize Japanese culture. His first single, “Umiyuki” (Ocean Snow), debuted in February 2008, and his new single, “Eisa,” will debut soon. White is the first Black enka singer in Japanese music history.

White received his Bachelor of Science degree in information sciences from Pitt in 2003. He also took Japanese language classes at Pitt and was enrolled in the Asian Studies Program.

After graduation, White moved to Japan to pursue his dream of becoming a professional enka singer. While working as a computer engineer in Osaka, he was scouted by Victor Entertainment after winning multiple karaoke competitions. White trained for two years before releasing his first single and debut album, Covers.