, born Kiyomi Aki (安芸 聖世美 Aki Kiyomi) on September 15, 1977, is a singer-songwriter and pianist from Itano, Tokushima, Japan.
Aki's father is Japanese and her mother is Italian-American
. She is the daughter of
Kiyoshi Aki, the owner and co-founder of Aeon Institute of Language Education
. This is
one of the "Big Four" Eikaiwa (English conversation) schools in
Japan. She began to take piano lessons when she was three years
lived in Tokushima-shi through
sixth grade, and spent her junior high school days in Okayama-shi, Okayama. She moved to Hawaii when she was fifteen
years old and graduated from Iolani School.
Thus Angela Aki speaks English and
Japanese. She got absorbed in music there for four years.
graduated from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and majored in political science
On March 9, 2007, Aki announced publicly that she had married
Japanese recording engineer and music producer , and made public
that she had been briefly married previously and divorced.
marriage was to engineer, producer, and artist Tony Alany, who
co-produced her first album in Vienna, VA.
She is good friends with JPOP star Yuna
.Both singers attended the same Japanese language
heard that Aki covered his
"Still Fighting It" as c/w of her single "Tegami ~Haikei Juugo no Kimi
", and he contacted in order to meet her.They were congenial
spirits and made "Black Glasses" together.They used "the glasses"
which were their common point as a metaphor of the masks for the
is her mentor and friend.
In 1997, she went to a Sarah
concert at age 20 and felt that she wanted to go into
the music world and decided to become a singer-songwriter. In 2000,
she originally released an indie's album in the United States,
called "These Words," which received much critical acclaim. After
graduation from university, she found a job in Washington, D.C. and
worked as a secretary. She could not give up her dream of being a
singer, however, and quit her job in 2001. She worked as a waitress
for 2 dollars 13 cents during the day, and she played songs at
night at a nightclub. Aki was briefly married to her first album’s
engineer and the co-producer of her first album in Vienna,
In 2002, she composed two tracks for "Let
It Fall" by Dianne Eclar
, a teenage pop
singer from the Philippines.
Debut in Japan
After producing commercial music for several Japanese companies,
she decided to move back to Japan.On September 27, 2003, Aki saw Shiina Ringo's concert in Nippon Budokan
Hall, and promised herself she would perform at the same
place within three years, even though she was unheard of, had not
yet been offered a contract with any record label, nor had she made
an album or major debut.
She performed live in many small
venues and bars in Tokyo, wrote 100 or more songs, and also made
several demo CDs. In 2005, she released an independent mini-album
under Virgo Music entitled "One," which was the #1 selling Indies
album of 2005. This alerted Nobuo Uematsu to her music, and he
asked her to write lyrics and perform the theme song for Final
Fantasy XII, "Kiss Me Good-Bye" in 2006.She contracted with the
Epic Records and made her major debut with the single "HOME" in
September, 2005.On December 26, 2006, she held the concert in
Nippon Budokan Hall, making history there as the first artist to
ever perform in the famous venue solo (with just her piano) -- no
backup singers, band or opening act. Her long-cherished dream had
Reaching an English audience
In May 2006, Angela signed with Tofu Records in order to release
English singles and albums. Her first release with Tofu was "Kiss
Me Good-Bye" as a digital single in the USA, with a slightly
altered track list. Later that month she performed the Final Fantasy XII
"Kiss Me Good-Bye
" at the premiere
PLAY! A Video Game Symphony
Chicago on May 27
With orchestral backup, she played piano and sang the English
lyrics, which she had written herself. She also performed a cover
version of "Eyes
", the theme song of Final Fantasy VIII
, with her piano
Angela Aki was chosen to sing Bob Dylan
"Knockin' on Heaven's
" with her original Japanese lyrics for the movie "Heaven's
Door" and was chosen to write and perform the theme song titled “Ai
no Kisetsu” for the NHK morning drama “Tsubasa” broadcast from
March 30, 2009.