Hirai Ken

平井堅

znany także jako:   Ken Hirai  
major - Aktywny (1995 - )
Ken Hirai is a Japanese Pop solo artist. His current sound is created by a mixture of various genres: from soulful gospel based on 70’s soul to contemporary R&B and Jazz, funk to hip hop.

Ken Hirai, whose career has been going strong for over fifteen years, will continue to impress the world with his unique sound and soulful hits.
autor: Cynthia, Gin (2013-03-23)
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Ken Hirai's career began when he joined the SMEJ audition and became an award winner in 1992. He made his debut with the release of his single Precious Junk, which was also the theme song for a TV drama in 1995. Since the song was a hit due to the TV drama, the single sold relatively well.

Before his year and eight month break in 1998, Ken Hirai released his seventh single Love Love Love. The release was an epoch for himself since prior to this release he sang what he had to sing, and this time he sang what he had wanted to sing.

In 2000, Ken Hirai released his eighth single LAKuEN which was the first collaboration together with other writers and composers rather than by himself. He was able to enter "the new millennium style of soul" with the combination of his mellow voice and melancholic tune. With this single he marked a lifelong hit in the Oricon charts which suddenly put him in the center of attention.

During this year, Ken Hirai began to perform overseas for some events, not yet having a "full fledged" concert. Ken Hirai performed at the Apollo Theater in New York, United States for Amateur Night as a guest artist and was applauded by the local audience. He also made his first visit to Taiwan to join the MTV Taiwan Summer Summit and performed in front of 30,000 locals, where he was cheered on by his Taiwanese singer and friend, Wang Lee-Hom.

In 2001, Ken Hirai made a promotional trip to Hong Kong and won the award for Best Japanese New Act at RTHK. After much promotion and many events, his third album THE CHANGING SAME (which was released in Japan the previous year) sold over 98,000 copies all over Asia (excluding Japan). Ken Hirai released his fourth album gaining through losing which sold over 1.5 million copies all over Asia (including Japan). Soon after, there was a national tour covering approximately twenty cities where tickets sold out instantly. In the latter part of 2001, Ken Hirai released his remix album Kh remixed-up 1 which showed a different side of him and appealed to club-goers and DJs for the first time.

2002 was a year full of accomplishments for Ken Hirai. One of his life-long dreams came true when he was able to collaborate with Babyface who composed and produced Missin’ You ~ It will break my heart. In the same year, Ken Hirai attended MTV Video Music Award Japan and won the award for Best Male Artist. Ken Hirai was also able to have his first overseas concert in Taiwan, where the tickets quickly sold out.

2003 was the year of overseas events for Ken Hirai. He performed as the first Japanese male solo vocalist for MTV Unplugged Live in New York, United States. He was also interviewed by CNN "The Music Room", which was televised in 210 countries and watched by 230 million viewers.

Not only did Ken Hirai have many overseas experiences in 2003, but he also released two albums LIFE is... (which contains several hits such as Strawberry Sex and Okina Furudokei) and Ken’s Bar (which was a compilation album of cover songs). At the end of the year, he was invited by Stevie Wonder to join his Japanese show and co-performed You Are the Sunshine of My Life.

In 2004 Ken’s songs were used in various TV commercials. He also released three new singles: Hitomi o tojite, KIMI wa tomodachi and Omoi ga kasanaru sono mae ni…--the first one was spotted at the top of Oricon’s top 100 best-selling singles of 2004. Then on November 24th he simultaneously released a new album, SENTIMENTALovers, which was awarded a gold disc for “Rock and pop album of the year”, and the music video collection Ken Hirai Films Vol.7.

The beginning of 2005 saw more awards for Ken Hirai. It was the fifth year in a row that he became the “BEST MALE” in the J-WAVE TOKIO HOT100 AWARDS. Also, the music video for Hitomi o tojite won an award from SPACE SHOWER TV, as well as from MTV in the Video Music Awards Japan 05. Furthermore, Ken celebrated his tenth Anniversary and held a special tour in May and July, which gathered 120,000 people in total and ended with a tour final at the Saitama Super Arena. Later he released the complete single collection and DVD from the aforementioned final. Not long after, the single POP STAR was released on October 26th and used in the TV drama series “Kiken na ANEKI”. Not failing to close the year with a blast, Ken Hirai performed at the prestigious Tokyo Dome, which gathered 40,000 people in total.

Though the year 2006 wasn’t too eventful, Ken released the single BY MY MELODY on June 14th and performed at ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL 2006. By the end of the year, Hirai’s single collection that was released last year was spotted at first place in Oricon’s top 100 best-selling albums of 2006.

In both 2007 and 2008, Ken Hirai concentrated on releasing new material and performing. Throughout these two years he released five singles and a full album, FAKIN’ POP. Many of his new songs were used in commercials of popular brands, like Shiseido (Kimi no skina toki), Meiji Seika (fake star), Ajinomoto (Cry &Smile!!) and LG (UPSET), to name a few. Some of his songs also appeared in TV dramas, such as "Ai no rukeichi" (Elegy) and "Honey and Clover" (Cry & Smile!!). Occasionally, his songs are often used in many TV commercials and dramas.

The year 2009 featured the release of the live DVD from his 10th Anniversary Valentine Special, as well as two consecutive singles, CANDY and Boku wa kimi ni ai o suru, which were released in September and October. Ken even participated in the Disney tribute compilation album, Mellow Disney ~R&B Revisited, recording the song When You Wish Upon a Star from "Pinocchio". His final live for the year was held in Saitama Super Arena and gathered an impressive number of 30,000 fans.

Ken’s 15th Anniversary was celebrated in 2010 with several live events and the release of two singles and best-of album, Ken Hirai 15th Anniversary c/w Collection '95-'10"Ura uta BAKA". Ken also performed together with American jazz-R&B-soul singer Roberta Flack and singer-songwriter and guitarist from New Mexico, Raul Midón.

In 2011 Ken released the single Itoshiki hibi yo and his eighth album, JAPANESE SINGER. He also held an extensive tour to promote this release.

In 2012 Ken celebrated his 40th birthday. He also released the single Kokuhaku and the twelfth edition of his live DVD. In September Ken collaborated with many popular artists, like Bonnie Pink, Tomoyasu Hotei, Hata Motohiro and EMI MEYER to name a few. This collaboration resulted in the album titled, White. As for collaborations, Hirai contributed Toko Furuuchi’s best-of album for her 20th Anniversary released in February 2013.

As a prominent artist on the Japanese music scene, Ken Hirai has worked for over fifteen years and continues to make himself known throughout the music industry.
autor: Cynthia, Gin (2013-03-23)
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