Anime music composer Yoko Kanno was born on March 19, 1964 in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. Kanno began composing at an early age, and one of her earliest compositions was written for a boy that she liked. Kanno is also a keyboardist. Kanno cites Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy as her primary influences.
Kanno was married to composer Hajime Mizoguchi, and they collaborated together on the soundtracks for Please Save My Earth and Vision of Escaflowne; however, the couple divorced in 2007. Over the years, it has been rumored that Kanno also records under the pseudonym Gabriela Robin, because this vocalist has only ever worked with Kanno or her ex-husband, Mizoguchi.
Kanno has released three albums in Japan: Song to Fly was released on January 1, 1998; 23-Ji no Ongaku was released on May 22, 2002; and CM Yoko was released on May 2, 2008.
Kanno formed the blues/jazz band The Seatbelts to record the music for Cowboy Bebop, and she served as the frontwoman for the group. However, because the group became successful through their music for Cowboy Bebop, they stayed together and toured primarily in Japan. The Seatbelts also worked on the music for Darker Than Black: Kuro no Keiyakusha.
Yoko Kanno has also composed music for the following anime: Macross Plus, Memories: Magnetic Rose, Clamp School Detectives, Noiseman Sound Insect, Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of Heroic Knight, Cardcaptor Sakura, Brain Powerd, Gasaraki, Turn A Gundam, Dai-Guard, Earth Maiden Arjuna, RahXephon, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Genesis of Aquarion, Oban Star-Racers, Genius Party, Macross Frontier, Wolf's Rain, and Kids on the Slope. In 2005, Kanno was nominated for an Annie award for Music in an Animated Television Production (for the music she composed for Wolf's Rain).
In addition to her anime compositions, Kanno has also composed, arranged, and performed on some Japanese pop albums. She has also composed music for live-action films, video games, and television commercials. Kanno's clients for television commercials have included Canon, DoCoMo, Fuji Xerox, Seven-Eleven, Microsoft, Nissan, Toyota, Shiseido, Avon, and Master Card. Video games featuring Kanno's compositions include: Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Nobunaga's Ambition Zenkokuban, Genghis Khan, Nobunaga's Ambition Sengoku Gunyuden, Ishin No Arashi, Uncharted Waters, Nobunaga's Ambition Busho Fuunroku, Nobunaga's Ambition Haoden, Uncharted Waters 2: New Horizons, Nobunaga's Ambition Tenshoki, Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream, Cowboy Bebop, Cowboy Bebop: Tsuitou no Yakyoku, and Ragnarok Online 2.
In addition to Japanese, Kanno can speak a little English and some French.