Kayoko Tachibana is an El Cerrito-based vocalist, artist,
and jeweler with a humble mission – To Celebrate Love Through Music.
Kayoko was born in Fukuoka, Japan, where she first developed her passion for music. She listened to The Carpenters, Lita Coolidge, Carol Bayer Sager, Sergio Mendes, and many movie soundtracks in her youth. She started creating original songs with her friend in High school.
In her first year at Fukuoka University of Education she met her beloved husband Nori Tachibana through a band- Kayoko as a new lead vocalist and Nori as a lead guitarist.
They soon began composing music together and they teamed up their band outside of the school. Their band started participating in and won many amateur song contests in the late 1970s. After some member changes, they formed the legendary band in Fukuoka, named Kaja (pronounced kaya), won the “Best Song Award” at the 19th Annual Yamaha Popular Song Contest and then performed at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo in 1980.
In 1981, Kaja professionally debuted two single records before the band separated.
In 1983, Nori and Kayoko got married and she gave birth to their only child, Misao, in Tokyo in 1987.
Nori, Kayoko, and Misao moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1989 before settling in San Francisco in 1992.
Following their artistic passions, they started a jewelry business called “Kayoko Designs”, crafting and selling jewelry throughout the Bay Area, while Nori continued developing his music, recording three CDs in recent years.
This beautiful life was upended suddenly on May 21, 2015 when Nori unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. He was 60 years old.
Over the next two and a half years, Kayoko’s passion for music would blossom as a way to celebrate the memory of her husband. In her first solo album, “S-M-I-L-ing Face” Kayoko pays tribute to the life of Nori Tachibana. With original lyrics in Japanese and guitar recordings from Nori’s life, including their unpublished songs written almost 40 year ago and the title song which written right before Nori’s passing, this album reveals Kayoko’s unique voice as an emotional and soul-stirring artist.
“S-M-I-L-ing Face ” her first solo tribute album, it is not only a celebration of Nori’s music, not just a tribute to his memory, but a deep expression of the love they shared and a statement about the love that continues to connect them now, even though they are currently separated by time and space. Kayoko’s voice is gentle, soothing, soft, and sultry – an absolute salve to the soul.