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Japanese heavyweight songwriter to make US debut as singer at age 70

Songwriter Hiroaki Serizawa sings in the studio. (Photo courtesy of Hiroaki Serizawa)

TOKYO -- A veteran songwriter who composed major Japanese '80s hits such as "Juria ni hatobureiku" (Heartbroken by Julia) sung by the pop group Checkers, is now making his U.S. debut as a singer at the age of 70.

    Hiroaki Serizawa wrote the music for his debut song, "Light It Up!," while popular lyricist L. Russell Brown wrote the all-English lyrics. Producer Joel Diamond also participated in the project.

    Born in Yokohama in 1948, Serizawa distinguished himself as a composer and producer for the wildly popular all-male pop group Checkers in the 1980s. In addition to fan favorites such as "Namida no rikuesuto" (Tearful request) and "Hoshikuzu no suteji" (Stardust stage), Serizawa is also responsible for composing singer Akina Nakamori's hit song "Shojo A" (Girl A), as well as the beloved theme songs to the anime "Tatchi" (Touch) and "Kinnikuman" (Muscle Man).

    Around 10 years ago, Serizawa began exploring opportunities to put his talents to the test and realize his childhood dream of doing work in the U.S. Because he did not want to be marketed in the U.S. as being "a famous figure in Japan," he sent samples of his work to American companies through a representative as a "newbie."

    His unique melodies eventually won over hearts in the U.S., and many of his songs were sold nationwide. One of those songs, "Brighter Days," performed by Chellena Black, topped the dance music charts, and the name Serizawa became well-known across the U.S. music industry.

    When the New Jersey-based Sunset Special Markets heard a demo sung by Serizawa, the label showed interest in not just Serizawa's music, but his voice, leading to Serizawa's U.S. debut as a singer.

    The song, "Light It Up!" set for release in the U.S. on May 24, will also be included in a CD collection titled "Anime Golden History," which will go on sale in Japan under the Pony Canyon label on June 20.

    (Japanese original by Hiroshi Kawasaki, Cultural News Department)

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