Photo by Zoe-Ruth Erwin

She croons excellently but is more comfortable in extreme regions, where the boundaries of comfort are pushed. She likes to propel her voice into a banshee-like quiver, the rock n’ roll answer to opera’s vibrato. In Bent Knee, her singing is often submerged beneath thick sonic strata, but it always manages to pierce through, like a splinter through skin.
— The ARTery, WBUR Boston
 Photo by Johnny Anguish

Photo by Johnny Anguish


My name is Courtney, and I am a musician based in Boston, MA. 

I was born and raised in Japan, and my relationship with music started in kindergarden where I began classical piano lessons. The lessons lasted all the way through my late teens, until I started singing in front of friends and family. Singing brought me great joy and a sense of belonging; something I needed very much in the midst of an identity crisis from living in a very homogeneous Japan, looking like a total outsider. I spent a good chunk of my time outside school singing in teenage punk/rock bands, and I eventually applied to Berklee College of Music on a whim, a week or two past the admission deadline. Less than a year later, I left my home in Fukuoka City Japan to become a musician in Boston. 

At Berklee I met many people, but the most important one was Ben Levin. In 2009, together we started Bent Knee, which has become a unique and powerful voice in 'art rock'. Bent Knee is independently managed and distributed by the power of hard work, late nights, and team effort. The band has played over two hundred shows over the course of seven tours and many long drives. Our travels have taken us through 40 States, and across the border to Canada and Japan. 

In February 2013, I took on the RPM Challenge for the first time. I wrote, recorded, and produced my first solo album 'Claws of the Beasts Inside' in four weeks, and it's one of my proudest accomplishments. Initially I only performed my solo songs as part of the Bent Knee Trio, but recently I've started performing as a solo act under my own name. This has been a big milestone for me, as it marks my growth from a rather shy and limited pianist sometimes vocalist, to an unhindered artist with an original voice. 

As an independent musician, I have spent a lot of time developing skills to navigate the uncharted; booking shows, setting up clinics, managing accounts, recording and mixing audio, arranging for different ensembles, merchandising, silk-screen printing, among a slew other odds and ends. Going forward, I hope to contribute to the lives of other independent artists, female musicians, Asian-Americans, and mixed racial individuals through sharing my thoughts and insights about where I am, and how I got here.