24-year-old Saito Johnny, currently of Tokyo, Japan, is swiftly gaining international popularity for his uniquely Japanese blend of bluegrass, country, rock and pop. In 2011 he was hand-selected by Taylor Swift to open for her on the Japan and Hong Kong legs of her tour, and it’s easy to understand why: although young, his skills as a writer of songs (whether acoustic ballads or fun, uptempo numbers) are matched only by his dexterity on the banjo, mandolin, and guitar and his sweet voice.
He started making music in Sendai, Japan as a teenager, and started paying his dues early, eventually working himself up to sold-out solo shows by the time he was in college. After graduation, he moved to Tokyo to give his music the chance for an international platform. And he’s succeeded- along with the aforementioned selection by Ms. Swift, he played Summer Sonic (Japan’s largest music festival) with his band ( Taro: Mandolin/Iwami Keigo!: Bass / Techno Matsumoto: Fiddle） and started performing with them in the clubs in Japan in 2011 and just released his debut album “I am Johnny” nationwide in October the same year. 2012 will be a big year for this Japanese country phenomenon!