Katini's sights on Japan stardom

Coast singer Katini Yamaoka is on the verge of breaking into the big time in Japan.
Coast singer Katini Yamaoka is on the verge of breaking into the big time in Japan. Che Chapman

WITH the right demos, producers and writers, a Maleny 19-year-old could be the next big thing on the Japanese music scene.

Katini Yamaoka – a half-Japanese, half-Ghanaian singer who was born in Tokyo but grew up in the Sunshine Coast hinterland – returned to her birth city to make her mark and hopefully a hit record.

Now back home in Maleny following the horror of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the former Sunshine Coast Grammar student said she was eager to return to Omotesando in Tokyo and get back to work.

“I've always loved singing, ever since I was young,” she said.

“I realised in Year 12 if I wanted to make my dream come true I had to so something about it.”

So she recorded a demo of her music and sent it to a producer in Los Angeles who was seeking a “half-Japanese girl” to make music for the incredibly lucrative “J-Pop” or Japanese pop music market.

“He called and said, ‘I would like to meet you next month in Japan',” she said.

Soon after, she was signed to a contract with a major record label and her debut is planned for later this year.

“My dad is from Ghana and my mother is from Japan,” said Katini. “But I feel like this is my home in Maleny.”

While she may be home on the Sunshine Coast, Katini said the people of Japan were never far from her thoughts as they fought back from the recent devastation.

“I want to send my hope and love to everyone back there,” she said.

“I know that Japan will come through and be even stronger.”

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