Ayaka J-Pop’s First Global Star?

Singer-songwriter Ayaka (19) is being touted as the J-pop star who just might go global. Yesterday she became the first Japanese artist to have a video released as a world premiere through the iTunes Store. And she is in good company, being just the third artist overall, after Justin Timberlake and Bjork. The video for her upcoming 5th single, “Jewelry Day” (on sale from July 4), was released in ten countries worldwide, including the U.S., the U.K., France, and Germany. And her million-selling debut album, “First Message”, is to be distributed in 22 countries at once, a record for a Japanese artist. Ayaka’s star quality was clear right from her February 2006 debut single, “I Believe”, which reached No.3 on the Oricon chart and sold a quarter of a million copies. The chart-topping success of her 4th single “Mikazuki” brought exposure overseas too, being shown across the continent on MTV Asia. She is currently in the middle of a nationwide tour, and told fans about her iTunes breakthrough during a concert this week in Kanazawa.