B i o g r a p h y
"Emi Takada was born to sing.
I enjoy her honest approach to the craft.
Emi relays great feeling,
and that's what singing is all about."
--- Marion Cowings (Jazz vocalist)
"There is something very special about Emi Takada's
singing. Beyond choosing great songs and displaying
real talent in jazz interpretation, Emi touches the heart.
She captivates, which is a rare gift."
--- Bob Henschen (Jazz pianist)
"I really enjoy hearing Emi Takada sing because of the
deep feelings she expresses through her singing.
Many times she often brings me to tears with the sincerity
of her singing. She really understands the deep meaning
of music and its ability to change the world and move
hearts toward love and acceptance, and compassion for
the human condition."
--- Susan P Blevins (Writer)
Born in Sapporo, Japan, Emi Takada began singing at age of 10 in the local renowned Boys and Girls Choral Group. She was moved by being able to communicate with others through music, which transcends all borders. Living overseas for a long time, she continued singing classical music, chanson and a variety of different genres.
In 2010, she encountered jazz in New York City where she studied with vocalist Marion Cowings and started her career as a jazz vocalist.
After that, she was based on Houston, performing with pianist Bob Henschen, and having live shows in NYC, Tokyo and Sapporo. Her singing has been praised for her transparent, gentle voice quality and overflowing emotion.
In November 2014, released her first CD album “I’m All Smiles” (recorded in Houston).
In 2017, she moved back in Tokyo.
In May 2018, released her second CD album “Why Did I Choose You?” (recorded in NYC). It’s been well received, appeared in jazz magazines and several radio stations played songs from this album. It’s also picked as Amazon’s Choice. Her CD release tour included concerts in 6 cities of Japan and in Houston.
In December 2018, She successfully performed a show at “Motion Blue Jakarta” in Indonesia.
In September, 2019, she’ll make her first appearance at Birdland NYC, the premier jazz club in the world.
Emi continues to pursue songs that connect the power of music and the deep meaning of words to touch people's hearts.
“JAZZ JAPAN” ARTICLE, (PUBLISHED IN JAPAN),
APRIL 2016, Vol 68
“I want to share this miracle called LIFE with everyone, and let my music come from the depths of my heart to express my philosophy of universal love. Whatever bad things happen in the world, or in our lives, love has the power to heal them and to help us to overcome them. Love is what unites us all.”
May 24, 2015, live shot in Tokyo's Ginza "No Bird” jazz club.
From the left: Satoshi Inoue, Iwao Masuhara, Emi Takada, Dennis Freese, photo by Takumi Akiba
Emi Takada, jazz vocalist, has lived in Houston, Texas, in the USA, since 2011. In her debut album, “I’m All Smiles’, she sings about love in a rich voice with overflowing emotion, and connects at a deep level with her listeners. This CD is very impressive for its clear and pure sound, and demonstrates her broad range of abilities.. Of late, Takada has been busy expanding her geographic exposure, and as well as singing regularly in Houston, Texas, she has a monthly gig in NYC, and appears regularly at various venues in Japan.
TAKADA: “My music is very simple, I sing just with piano, bass and drums, but within this simplicity, I always try to bring variety to make it interesting to my listeners. For example, I sing bossa nova in Portuguese, the Blues, beautiful Ballads and fast tempo Swing. I always put my whole heart into each song, and I chose each one of these songs for a very special reason.”
As mentioned in the March issue of JAZZ JAPAN, Vol. 67, Takada feels a special connection with Cole Porter’s songs.
TAKADA: “In fact, I love Cole Porter and I wanted my whole album to be Cole Porter’s songs! It was easy for him to compose the music, but very difficult for him to write the lyrics, and that is why I love him! His lyrics come from a place deep in his heart and are painfully sincere. They speak of love in its many forms. I myself believe that we human beings cannot live without love, so I feel a magnetic attraction to his songs.”
Takada speaks many languages and in this album she sings in Portuguese and English.
TAKADA: “The music and lyrics of Antonio Carlos Jobim fit together perfectly, and that is why I chose to sing his song in Portuguese (Agua de beber), and people really enjoy my bossa nova songs. I sing the first chorus in Portuguese, the second in English, and I wanted to sing the third chorus in Japanese, but I was unable to procure the necessary permission to translate it for the CD, although I do sing it in Japanese at my live gigs.”
During Takada’s childhood she sang in a choir with children from all over the world, and it was there that she discovered the joy of communicating with others through the universal language of music. She maintained her love of music as she grew up, and after she moved to NYC in 2010, she studied jazz with the great jazz vocalist, Marion Cowings.
TAKADA: “Originally, jazz was the expression of the African slaves brought to the southern USA, and expressed their pains and sadness at being forcibly removed from their homelands in Africa, but over a short span of time, their profound music gave them power, and eventually it entered mainstream US popular music. As a Japanese woman, I feel drawn to singing their music, because it empowers me to break out of my own cultural conditioning. With all the wars and ecological disasters happening every day, it is a miracle that we can survive at all! We don’t know what tomorrow will bring us, and that’s why I want to live each day with gratitude, and I want to share this deep feeling with everybody. In fact, I made an earlier album for children (My Little Cottage), and I donate all the proceeds to an orphanage in Japan, which was founded five years ago following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. It is not possible for me to stop wars and prevent natural disasters, but I can quietly contribute beauty and peace through my music, because I know that the world is changed one heart at a time.”
(Translated from Japanese by Emi Takada with the help of Susan P. Blevins. The original Japanese article by Mari Ochiai.)