Shota Shimizu is a Japanese soul/R&B singer/songwriter who made it big in the late 2000s even before turning 20.
Discovering soul music in high school, he tried to conquer America, performing at amateur nights at the Apollo Theater in New York on two occasions in 2007 and 2008 to good reception, but went for Japan in the end, recording with Dohzi-T and Miliyah Kato in 2007 and releasing his debut solo single, "Home," even before his second Apollo appearance. "Home" only scored number five on the Oricon, but went gold in Japan, shifting 128,000 units. Two following singles had worse sales, but still allowed his debut album, Umbrella, to score number two and go gold in late 2008. The tickets for his debut tour in 2009 flew off in a day. Shimizu's own 2009 singles did not shift many units, but "Love Forever," his new collaboration with Kato that appeared on her album Ring (2009), was a smash hit, selling over two million ringtone downloads, which allowed his own second solo full-length to fare no worse than the first -- Journey topped the charts and sold 108,000 copies. A 2009 collaboration with Double underperformed, but another joint single with Kato released in 2010 sold 59,000 copies. ~ Alexey Eremenko, Rovi