Sowelu, born Aki Harada, is a J-pop singer. She was born on November 6, 1982 in Tokyo to a Japanese father and a half-Irish half-Japanese mother. Her career started in 2002 with the release of her first single Beautiful Dreamer, a soft love ballad which did very well in the charts, and was later featured on the Relaxin Ewith Japanese Lovers compilation album. Her first single was modestly successful, and it wasn’t until the release of her album Geofu in the summer of 2003 that she gained recognition. Geofu did exceptionally well in the charts, scoring a number 4 position with more than 300,000 copies sold. Her first single after Geofu, “Rainbow” was used as the theme song for the Japanese drama Netsuretsuteki Chukahanten, and the other A-side song on that single, “breath ~Omoi no Youryou~” was used for the national promotion campaign of JFN Radio. She performs under Sony Music Japan’s DEFStar records label.
Her next big single “Glisten” was used in a make-up commercial for Menard products, and did fairly well in the Japanese market. With this success, she gained even more popularity, and was asked to sing the end theme for the popular TBS animated series Fullmetal Alchemist, entitled “I Will”, giving her an easy in with American fans. Because of “‘I Will”‘, the two other songs included with her “I Will” single, “Candy Rain” and “Pearl Color ni Yurete”, became popular among American fans. In 2005, her song “Candy Rain” was featured on the Soul Tree: a Musical Tribute to Toshinobu Kubota album and “Pearlcolor ni Yurete” was on the Momoe Yamaguchi tribute album Thank You For…. Likewise, her third single “Fortune” was selected for the American J-Pop compilation album Neo Soul, and “Across my Heart” from the Geofu album was added to the “Smooth Listening Compilation” album.
In November 2004, Sowelu released her 8th single, “Last Forever”, which became the TV insert song for the new drama There goes Nurse-man, and her cover of “The Rose” was featured on a Nescafe commercial. Then finally, after one and a half years of waiting, Sowelu released her second album Sweet Bridge on January 7, 2005.
In 2005, Sowelu contributed to m-flo’s album BEAT SPACE NINE on the track “So Exclusive”, and again on their album DOPE SPACE NINE in the same song, remixed by Korean fusion band, Clazziquai.
In the music video for the song “to YOU” several photographs of her family and her childhood are intercut with scenes of her singing in a wide room with large glass windows. According to her website, the video location is a church about one hour away from Tokyo by car. At the end of the PV, the family members in the photos make an appearance together with Sowelu, including her grandmother, her mother and even Sowelu’s pet chihuahua.
Official Website: http://rhythmzone.net/sowelu/index.html