In 1996, Makishi Satoko, under the moniker "Cocco," made a modest debut with a three-song, self-titled EP on an independent label. Four years later, her third album shot up to No. 1 on the Oricon charts a week after its release.
Described as a "Japanese Fiona Apple," Cocco delivers some of the hardest music to come out of Japan but sings with a clear, pristine voice. She also writes all of her lyrics and most of the music in her songs.
After Cocco first released her debut, Tower Records in Japan plucked the subtitle of one of the disc's tracks -- "Sing a Song ~No Music, No Life~" -- as a motto for an advertising campaign. The song was also featured in the chain store's commercials, in which Cocco also starred.
Tower Records in the U.S. redistributed the EP, and after a performance at the South by Southwest Festival in 1997, Cocco's career took off. ("No music, no life" is still used in some of Tower Records' advertising material.)
Cocco released her debut album Bougainvillia in May 1997, and her second single, "Tsuyoku Hakanai Monotachi" ("The Strong and Ephemeral") sold more than 200,000 copies a few months later.
Cocco said in a radio interview she was ready to retire from music after touring for her second album, Kumuita, but she kept on writing new songs and released a third album, Rapunzel, in June 2000.
In the end, the call of her hometown of Okinawa was too great, and Cocco announced she was going on hiatus for an indefinite period of time after releasing her fourth album, Sangrose, in April 2001.
With the publication of her art book, Minami no Shima no Hoshi no Suna, Cocco began a new career -- author. The success of her book rivaled the success of her music.
Disheartened by the state of Okinawa's litter-strewn beaches, Cocco organized a rally in August 2003, where she performed her first new song in two years, titled "Heaven's Hell". A like-titled DVD documentary was released later that year.
In August 2004, Cocco published her second book, Minami no Shima no Koi no Uta. A limited edition single, "Garnet", was made available to readers who purchased the book. Later that year, she re-recorded "Sing a Song ~No Music, No Life~" for Tower Records' 25th anniversary.
The recording session resulted in the formation of Singer Songer, a project consisting of Cocco, Quruli members Kishida Shigeru and Satou Masashi, plus keyboardist Hirohisa Horie and drummer Dai Tarou.
Singer Songer debuted in May 2005 with the single, "Shoka Rinrin".