Ken Hirai (平井堅, Hirai Ken, born on January 17, 1972) is a Japanese R&;B and pop singer. His soulful voice and unconventional looks won him fans following his debut in 1992. Since his debut, Hirai has worked as a model, actor, composer, lyricist, singer, spokesperson.

During his career, Hirai has sold close to 14 million copies of his albums and singles. His Oricon achievements include a #1 Yearly 2004 (for a single) and one #1 Yearly 2006 (for an album)


Early life

Born January 17, 1972 in Higashiosaka, Osaka prefecture, Ken Hirai grew up in Nabari, Mie Prefecture.

He began his music career back in 1993 when he signed with Sony Music following an audition in Yokohama the previous year while he was a student. His debut single "Precious Junk" and album were recorded the following year and released in 1995. The first single, used as the theme to a TV drama, immediately garnered Hirai attention and his second single, "Katahou Zutsu no Earphone"「片方ずつのイヤホン」also used for a drama, further capitalized on his unique sound. Hirai's debut album, "un-balanced", went on sale the same year and was followed by a second, "Stare At", in December of the following year.