元ちとせ (Hajime Chitose)


[元ちとせ (Hajime Chitose)]

Hajime Chitose could have adopted a Western singing style to great effect, but trained in the folk music of her hometown, she instead relies on her traditional training.

Hajime developed an interest in shimauta (or "island songs") when she was three years old, and with encouragement from her mother, the young Chitose went on to win a number of awards, one of which led her to record a traditional album, Shima • Kyora • Umui.

Label representatives became interested in Hajime, but she chased them off, thinking she didn't have what it takes to succeed in the music business. Instead, she entered beautician school. After getting allergic reactions to hair product chemicals, Hajime dropped out of school and decided to pursue a music career.

Hajime recorded two mini-albums on the independent label Office Augusta before signing with Epic Records in Japan. Her first single on Epic, "Wadatsumi no Ki", became a hit. After recording a second single, "Kimi wo Omou", Hajime released her debut album, Hainumikaze, in July 2002.

In 2003, she released more singles and a second album, Nomad Soul.

In early 2004, Hajime announced she got married and was expecting her first child. She decided to put her career on hold to spend time with her husband and baby.

A live CD and DVD, Fuyu no Hainumikaze, was released in August 2004. The concert documented a homecoming concert performed on her island home.