When Kero One was aged 6, he started listening to old school hiphop on the radio. The first hiphop song he heard was by Boogie Down Productions. Since then, he collected records with genres spanning from hiphop, 70’s soul, funk, jazz, Latin, soulful house, electronica and rock.
Kero One originally worked as a web designer, making 50 copies of his first single with home equipment and personal credit cards. He released his first 12” record “Check the Blueprints” in 2003 on his own imprint, Plug Label. Of the 50 copies that were eventually distributed around the world, one landed in a tiny record store in Tokyo, Japan. A few weeks later, it was found by a Japanese DJ who played it at a club that night and received dozens of inquiries, including a Japanese label executive who immediately contacted Kero One and asked for 3,000 copies of the record. The record, “Check the Blueprints” became an underground hiphop classic in Japan selling almost 15,000 copies, and Kero One was invited to tour the country just a few months after. He performed in cities throughout Japan.
Kero One went on to finish his first album, “Windmills of the Soul,” in 2005, handling everything from playing instruments, rapping, and sound engineering. Without a strong label backing or a street team, Kero One handled almost all the business himself. From promotions and marketing, manufacturing, finances, art direction and web design, Kero One personally handed out promos to tastemakers anywhere he could find them. Eventually the hard work paid off, and “Windmills of the Soul” garnered respect in many circles for Kero One’s thought provoking lyrics and musical soundscapes which fused live instrumentation with dusty analog samples.
It wasn’t long before Kero One quit his job as a web designer in 2006 to pursue music full-time. Since 2006, Kero One has been awarded the title of “Best HipHop Album of 2006” from Remix Magazine Japan, topped iTunes hiphop charts, received praise from artists all over the world like Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas, the legendary Stevie Wonder, Emmy nominated jazz singer Jaime Cullum, and multi award-winning Korean Hiphop groups Epik High and Dynamic Duo. Kero One’s Music has been heard in Printemps Mall in Paris, France, Takashimaya Mall in Tokyo, Hyatt hotels, and TV Shows like Anthony Bourdain's The Layover and Fuse TV. Additionally, Kero One has kept busy collaborating with acclaimed artists from all over the globe like Aloe Blacc, Tuomo (Finland), Ben Westbeech (UK), DJ Deckstream (JAPAN), Fashawn, Shing02, Dumbfoundead, The Sound Providers, DJ Mitsu (JAPAN), Abstract Rude and many others.
In 2012, Kero one released his fourth solo album, “Color Theory,” which raised over $10k from fans to pay for the mastering and engineering costs through Kickstarter. Once released, Color Theory received praise from fans as his “best album to date”. His lead single “What Am I Supposed to Do” charted on Radio Nova (France), J*Wave Japan, and WDR Funkhaus europa radio in Germany. Also, the song received a major endorsement from Stevie Wonder who asked Kero One to perform it at Stevie Wonder’s 17th Annual House Full of Toys Benefit Concert on December 15, 2012 at Nokia Live Theatre with Bruno Mars. Later on, Kero One formed a new collaboration project "Kesna Music" with successful YouTube singer Esna Yoon. They released their single "Is It Love?" on July 16, 2013.
In 2015, Kero brought his signature jazz-hop sound to Korea, producing a song called “Ordinary Love” for Korean rapper Park Kyung of Block B and Park Bo-Ram, which hit #1 on Melon charts. Later that year, Kero released a future soul album under the alias "Kero Uno" called Reflection (noitcelfer) Eternal which made it to Reddit's ListenToThis best of 2015 albums list. Another interesting highlight in 2016 was when South Korean longboarder Hyo Joo Ko used Kero One's 2012 song "So Seductive" in one of her instagram videos and when Kero One reposted the video on his Facebook page it went viral reaching 26 million views. The viral longboarding video brought Hyo Joo Ko international fame and a renewed interest in Kero One's older song.
- 5th Best Indie hiphop of 2004 on MSN music.
- 4th Most Downloaded artist on Cnet's Download.com.
- 2nd Selling underground hiphop album on HMV and Tower Records Japan.
- 2nd most downloaded album on iTunes Japan.
- Landed on Reddit's ListenToThis best of 2015 albums list.