Ayaka Hirahara (平原綾香, born May 9, 1984 in Tokyo) is a Japanese pop artist, her debut was in December 2003 with the single “Jupiter.” Taking its melody from the “Jupiter” section of Gustav Holst’s The Planets, the song sold steadily over several months and was the No. 3 single on Oricon’s 2004 yearend chart. As of 19 May, 2008, “Jupiter” had been on Oricon’s top 200 singles chart for 156 weeks. Hirahara was born in Tokyo in 1984 and studied ballet for 11 years from age 6. When she was 13 she started learning the alto saxophone. Hirahara first studied classical pieces for the sax, but she gradually became interested in popular music and started making voice demos. She eventually landed herself a record deal with the independent record company Dreamusic. Since then Hirahara, who occasionally writes her own lyrics and music, has released 6 albums and 19 singles, her latest being the double A-side "Nocturne"/"Campanula no Koi" (ノクターン / カンパニュラの恋) which was released on 12 November 2008. Her next single, "Akane" (朱音), will be released on 25 February 2009.
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