Biography


I am an electronic musician, producer, engineer, vocalist and sound designer.  I was born and raised in Japan, and I live in Washington DC.  I have produced two award-winning albums and performed internationally.  

I am a sound sensitive creature.  

Perhaps it is because I started the piano at 3, before I started to speak in complete sentences.  My mother tongue is music, my second language is Japanese, and English is my third.  I hear every sound as a note.  At age 5, I was attracted to the poignancy of Beethoven, whose music mediates the spiritual and sensual life.  At age 8, my dream was to be the mayor of a city made of sound.  

I am a sound alchemist.   

I am fascinated by the relationship between sound and emotion.  I wrote, produced, and engineered my first album, “012906,” which was nominated for “Best Album in Electronica” by the 6th Annual Independent Music Awards (2006).  “Yoko hovers above her contemporaries in this genre… truly the work of a visionary,” said Adam Harrington (Whisperin & Hollerin).  I toured North America and Europe as a member of Dust Galaxy, a solo project of Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation.  I released my second album, "Heaven's Library" (2011), and received the Washington Area Music Association Award for "Best Electronica Artist" twice (2011, 2012).  I became the first electronic musician to serve as an artist in residence at Strathmore, in Bethesda, MD (2011-2012), and performed my work at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington DC.  I have served as a co-chair of the Producers and Engineers Wing at the Washington, DC Chapter of the Recording Academy (2010-2011).

I am a transformative experience designer.  

I am interested in humanizing technology through empathy.  I have received the Young Artist Community Service grant (2006) and the New Media and Audio grant (2007) from the Washington, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to create "amahoro," a multi-lingual sound piece based about a Rwandan boy, which I later presented at TEDxPotomac (2010).  I have collaborated with visual artist/interactive designer Ayodamola Okunseinde to create "huggy robot" (2011), a performance in which we wore suits with touch sensors that trigger the sound and video as we hug each other.  We also collaborated at IDEO Cambridge on "mother tongue" (2015), in which we created and performed with empathic robots that were aimed at alleviating the human fear of the singularity.  I have given guest lectures at Georgetown University's Communication, Culture and Technology Program (2007-2011) and Parsons' Technology and Design Program (2015).

I am a daydreaming visionary.  

I am a daydreaming visionary.  I create spaces to allow people to explore speculative, optimistic futures.  As a part of University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center NextLOOK residency, I am now creating "pre-22nd century nostalgia Mars pop," a hybrid music performance and immersive visual installation to help people experience an alternative future -  different from the dominant narrative of post-apocalyptic dystopia.  I am also doing research on how people experience sound in hospitals, with a long-term vision of transforming sound design for medical equipment alarms.  Luckily, I am married to an innovation strategist who helps me to create to-do-lists to turn my daydreams into reality.

I am Yoko Oh Yes, not Yoko OH No.