I want to tell you all about one of my favourite singers-- Piana! Her name is Sasaki Naoko (佐佐木直子) and she lives in Morioka. She began her career in 1999 with the band Card Skepper and later did some vocal work with electronic artist, World's End Girlfriend.

Piana released her first solo release called Snow Bird in 2003 on Cubic Music Japan, and in the U.S. on the 12K Records sub-label, Happy. 2 years later she released her second full-length solo album, Ephemeral, also on Happy. In 2007 Sasaki moved to the Japanese label, Noble, and released her third full-length, Eternal Castle. Recently Piana has been focusing on concert tours and collaboration with other artists.

She is known for her sweet, gentle voice and bittersweet, heartbreaking, contemplative lyrics. Her music is a unique combination of J-pop and underground glitch electronica with a wonderful production quality and deeply emotional melodies. I was quite taken with her voice the first time I listened to Snow Bird, and became an instant fan.

When asked about her musical influences, Piana had this to say:
I am not really inspired from other music, I woud say more from novels, poetries, or movies. Haruki Murakami is the writer I get the most influence on my music. If I hadn’t have met his works, I might not have been able to come up with my music.

Here is a lovely video of her track, なくしたもの (Something's Lost) from the album, Ephemeral.

Also from the album, Ephemeral, I am pleased to offer you this free download of "Early in Summer."

Piana's website

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