Jero (born Jerome White, Jr. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 4, 1981) is an American-born Japanese enka singer. His maternal grandmother was Japanese. He is the first black enka singer in Japanese music history.
Jero majored in information science at University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 2003, and moved to Japan in the same year. Two months after arriving in Japan, he entered the NHK Nodo Jiman competition broadcast on TV.
His first single, Umiyuki (海雪, literally "The Ocean Snow"), was released in Japan on February 20, 2008. It entered the Oricon charts at number 4.
African-American people and their cultures are extremely popular among young Japanese, so many hope he will spark interest in enka in the younger generation. Unlike traditional enka singers, Jero does not dress up in suits or kimonos, choosing to wear hip-hop clothing instead.
From May 21, 2008, Jero appeared in a Japanese TV commercial for Kirin "Fire" coffee, the first time he had appeared in a TV commercial. In October 2008, he was interviewed on CNN International's TalkAsia.
He won Best New Artist Award in 50th Japan Record Awards on December 30, 2008.
Jero was selected to appear on the 59th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, NHK New Year's Eve musical spectacular, on December 31, 2008. In his participation, he fulfilled a pledge he made to his dying grandmother by appearing on the yearly competition. He appeared wearing a black-and-white shirt bearing the image of her.
Jero made his first major US appearance at the 2009 National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.