By MALUM NALU
SHE is arguably Papua New Guinea’s biggest export to Japan and one of the biggest R&B recording artistes there right now.
Twenty-two-year-old Emi Maria, a PNG-born beauty, who is a superstar in Japan right now, gave a soulful rendition of the PNG National Anthem at the opening of the new PNG Embassy building in Tokyo last Wednesday.
She touched the hearts of the members of the large PNG delegate that was in Tokyo last week to witness the opening of the new building.
“She sang the National Anthem so beautifully and made us so emotional, especially when we found out that she is part Papua New Guinean,” Timon Tomala, leader of a Morobe dance troupe that performed during the opening ceremony in Tokyo, said.
Emi Maria was born in 1987 in PNG.
Family friend Nancy Penina Ono said Emi was one of the daughters born to Japanese woman Hideko Komba and Simbu man Mark Komba.
“Her mother was a JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) staff in our days back home in PNG when she met Emi Maria’s father,” she said.
“Emi has come a long way since she was a little girl and we are so proud of her.”
She spent the first five years of her life in Papua New Guinea, before moving to Kobe in Japan.
She first started listening to R&B at six due to her sister, listening to artistes such as Janet and Michael Jackson, and K-Ci & JoJo, according to a brief biography published online.
She began writing lyrics in junior high school.
By high school, she had started writing music and producing her own tracks.
She participated in the MTV Star Tour, and started performing lives in the Kansai area from 2006 onwards.
In 2007, she started appearing on many different Japanese urban artists’ albums as a guest artist, such as Seeda and MC Moggy.
In 2007, Emi Maria released her first EP, Between the Music, under Freest Inc, a label Emi Maria had created for herself.
Her debut single I Gotta (Summer Kiss) was picked as the iTunes Japan single of the week in August 2008.
She debuted as a major label artiste last year, with the release of a digital dingle One Way Love under Victor Entertainment.
During this time, she had some of her highest profile collaborations.
Luv Is… was a song Emi Maria performed with R&B singer Jay’ed, which features on his top 10 album Musication.
Last December, she had her first top 10 hit, as a featured artist on Seeda’s single Wisdom, which reached #8 on the Oricon singles charts.
After the release of her first physical single this year, Show Me Your Love, Emi Maria released her first major label album, Contrast.
More information can be sourced from her website http://www.emimaria.com/.