Japanese R&B Star "Ai" Soon to Set the Gold Coast Ablaze

Nov 15th 2009

In less than two weeks, Australia's Gold Coast will be set alight by the stellar talent of chart- topping Japanese R n B singer/songwriter AI who will be performing for the International Film Industry elite, gathered to celebrate the third annual Asia Pacific Screen Awards on November 26th.

Born in Los Angeles to a Japanese father and half Japanese/half Italian mother, AI's musical inspirations were Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and the Gospel choirs of local churches.

Although she spent most of her early childhood back in Japan, AI's love of dance and music took her back to the USA in her teens to attend Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.

A move that paid off, with AI winning a coveted place in a Mary J Blige concert choir and beating thousands of other hopeful dancers in 1999 to feature in Janet Jackson's "Go Deep" video. Soon after, music producer, George Brown, of Kool and The Gang fame, approached AI to join a new Asian girl group he was forming, SX4, of which she was a part for two years, before BMG offered her a solo recording contract, back in Japan.

In 2002, AI moved to DefJam Japan as the first female artist on the label and released her album "Original A.I" in 2004 which ranked top of the album charts and received a Gold Disc. Since the move to Def Jam, AI has had four consecutive Top 5 albums, some selling over 500,000 copies, a single "Story" that had over 4 million downloads and two Video Music Award nominations in 2006 and 2007.

With sellout tours and her new album "Best A.I." debuting at Number 1, AI has become an iconic female performer thanks to her unique soulful sound, strong R n B credibility, and songwriting talent, shattering Japanese female musical stereotypes in her wake.

A huge Michael Jackson fan herself, AI did a recent tribute to Michael Jackson singing "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" on Japanese TV with renowned beatboxer AFRA.

A regular on primetime Japanese TV and music festivals with the playfulness of Missy Elliott and the soulful depth of stars such as Beyoncé or Alicia Keys, AI has made her mark, due to her unwavering individuality, which has struck a chord with R n B fans around the world.

AI is the first ever major Japanese star to perform at an international awards ceremony outside of Asia.

AI will perform the hit single "Story" from her latest album "Best AI" as well as the breathtaking feature track from the score of multi-award winning Japanese film, Okuribito (Departures) during the APSA ceremony. The Ceremony will feature in The Screening Room Xtra, to be broadcast across CNN's global network from December 3.

APSA is a unique collaboration between CNN International, UNESCO and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producer's Associations through the Queensland Government, Australia.

"Best A.I." is Digitally Available on iTunes Australia from November 20


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