10 TO WATCH IN 2003:


Teen singer aims high
after success with first CD

By John Berger

By the time Jennifer Perri celebrated her 13th birthday in 1999, she had already won Hawaii's top kids' talent contest, been the co-host of a local television variety show and recorded and released her first CD-single.

Some may still think of her as the precocious seventh-grader who grabbed the public's attention as the winner of Oceanic Cable's Kiddieoke-Plus Contest in 1997, but at age 16, she has remained on the fast track to success.

Ten to watch in 2003
The Star-Bulletin is spotlighting 10 people who may have a big impact on Hawaii this year.

Her past accomplishments were merely the lead-in to a two-year artist development contract with Victor Entertainment, a Japanese record label.

Victor made history last year when it released Perri's self-titled CD-single in Hawaii in July and followed it with a full-length English-language album that was released in Japan and Hawaii in October. Perri is now looking forward to what 2003 will bring.

"My album's doing good in Hawaii and Japan and (in other parts of) Asia, and this year they're going to take it to the (U.S.) mainland," Perri said during a late lunch at Mariposa.

Her producers' strategy is to take their time and continue the development process, she explained. A second album is already in pre-production and is scheduled for release later this year.

Between promotional appearances and trips to Japan, Perri, a sophomore at Mid-Pacific Institute, has been honing her dance skills as a member of Jason Ulep's Hypersquad. She will be dancing with Hypersquad at Leeward Community College on May 9-10.

In addition to singing, dancing and perhaps duplicating Hoku Ho's breakthrough moment on the mainland, Perri has personal goals as well. Her main aim since turning 16 last month is to get her driver's license -- and a red Audi TT Quatro hardtop.

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