Tokyo born Akiko (Japanese: あきこ) started playing piano at age of 4. She started to listen to rock / punk music, when she was a junior high school student, & then began to take her interest in various kinds of music, including 70s disco music, 60s oldies, 50s rock + country and western. Above all those music, she was especially inspired by old black music like jive, jump blues & doo wop. At age of 18, she happened to listen to Sarah Vaughan & Ella Fitzgerald - thus, discovering jazz. Afterward, she started to sing as a professional at Jazz Club in Tokyo, when she was a university student.