Known for spearheading the Jazz-Hop movement, Kero One, a San Francisco rapper/producer/DJ, stands as a testament to the do-it-yourself success story.
Using only his homemade studio and personal credit card, Kero One pressed and released his first 12” record Check the Blueprints in 2003 on his own imprint, Plug Label. Without any experience as to how he should distribute his new record, Kero One spent endless hours researching, cold calling, and seeking help from friends. 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 inquires, 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 jazzy hiphop classic in Japan almost overnight, and Kero One was invited to tour the country just a few months after. He performed in cities throughout Japan where he was greeted by hundreds of fans waiting to take photographs and autographs, much to his surprise. It was at this point that making a career out of music became a reality.
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 in USA, Asia and Europe, received praise from the likes of Emmy award winning producer Will.i.am, and toured all over the world. Kero One has shared the stage with artists like KRS 1, Blu + Exile , DJ Cash Money, Far East Movement, and Epik High. Additionally, Kero One has kept busy collaborating with acclaimed artists from all over the globe like Talib Kweli, Aloe Blacc, Epik High, Ben Westbeech, Dj Deckstream, David Choi, Fashawn, Dumbfoundead, Dynamic Duo and many others.
In 2012, Kero one will release his fourth solo album and continue to tour, produce music, place his music in television shows, and work on his youtube channel
1. 5th Best Indie hiphop of 2004 on MSN music.
2. 4th Most Downloaded artist on Cnet's Download.com
3. 2nd Selling underground hiphop album on HMV and Tower Records Japan.
4. 10th most downloaded album on Itunes Japan.