Kent Nishimura was born in Osaka, Japan on March 1, 2003. When he was five years old, after mentioning that he wanted a guitar of his own, his parents gave him an acoustic guitar for Christmas. With guitar in hand, he began to play and sing along to Japanese rock and pop hits. It was around this time that he happened to hear a tune by Kotaro Oshio (a superstar in the Japanese fingerstyle guitar music scene), which prompted him to declare to his family, “I will perform as an acoustic guitarist from now on!!”—although Kent doesn’t remember this at all.
Kent began studying Kotaro’s videos on YouTube, copying them so perfectly that it surprised even Kotaro himself. Kent went on to study the repertoire of many foreign solo fingerstyle guitarists as well—accomplished musicians like Michael Hedges, Don Ross, Andy McKee, Antoine Dufour, and Tommy Emmanuel to name a few. When Kent was about ten years old, people began to hear that there was this young kid living in Osaka (named Kent Nishimura) who was able to play the guitar very well, and he began to get offers to perform at numerous music events in the Osaka area.
At age twelve, Kent released his debut album First Step on Slice of Life Records, an independent label in Kyoto responsible for releasing albums by Japanese and foreign fingerstyle guitarists (including Erik Mongrain and Laurence Juber). Immediately following the release of this album, Kotaro Oshio invited Kent to appear as a special guest on his popular radio music program, OSHI-TEMO, HEE-TEMO. George Lowden, the legendary luthier of Lowden Guitars, was so moved by Kent’s playing on the album that he offered to build him a customized guitar…making sure to use Kent’s favorite types of woods. After six months of work on the guitar, Mr. Lowden gifted Kent a brand-new Lowden F-35 with an inlay of Kent's name on the 12th fret.
In April 2017, at age fourteen, Kent entered Japan’s premiere fingerstyle guitar competition, the 17th Annual Fingerpicking Day 2017, and finished as the youngest grand champion in the history of the competition! Following this up, Kent released his second solo album entitled 2 in May of 2017, which included thirteen original arrangements (mostly of hit songs from the 1970s) and one original composition, “Desert Island.”
Many professional musicians, members of the music media, and (of course) music fans were surprised to learn that the tunes on this album included no overdubs—everything was played at once on a single guitar.
In August 2017, Kent attended a Tommy Emmanuel show and was invited to meet the legendary guitarist between sets. In the dressing room, Kent played his original arrangement of “Drive My Car” from the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album. After he finished playing, Tommy asked Kent if he’d be willing to play the arrangement live during his second set. Kent agreed, and Tommy introduced him to the capacity audience as a special guest that very night! In the same month, Kaname Nemoto, the leader of the legendary Japanese rock/pop band Stardust Revue, invited Kent to open for the band at an open-air venue in front of an audience of 2,600. In September 2017, Al McKay, the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist, invited Kent to play his arrangement of “September” during an encore performance by the Al McKay Allstars.
In October 2018, Kent released My Favorite Songs, a solo fingerstyle album of eleven original arrangements including “Hotel California” (The Eagles), “Thriller” (Michael Jackson), “Jojo” (Boz Scaggs), “I Wish” (Stevie Wonder), “I.G.Y.” (Donald Fagen), “September” (Earth, Wind & Fire), and one original composition, “Midnight in Bogota.”
Since 2019, receiving various offers from several booking agencies in Japan, China, Hong Kong, and Canada to perform solo or as a special guest. He’s been interviewed by Acoustic Guitar Magazine (Rittor Music), Acoustic Guitar Book (Shinko Music), and AKUSTIK GITARRE (a major guitar publication in Germany). Kent's most recent album is entitled Fingerstyle Solo Guitar Songs.
In October 2021, his 4th album "Fingerstyle Solo Guitar Songs" on Slice of Life Records and his first music/tab book "Kent Nishimura's Fingerstyle Solo Guitar Songs" which has the same 15 songs as the 4th album on Hal Leonard Corp., a US major music publication company at the same time.
Kent has been scheduled for his solo concert in Hong Kong at Tsuen Wan Town Hall (1420 seats) in December; 2022.
Some legendary musicians comment on Kent Nishimura:
( Tommy Emmanuel )
KENT is by far the best musician I have heard for many years.. please tell Kent I listened to him play and felt the joy HE feels when he plays his guitar...it is obvious that he loves to play.... and he plays with great feeling and SKILL! Hooray for Kent.. I am a fan now!!
( Andy McKee )
Kent sounds like a great young player! I think he'll be one of the best and will carry the Fingerstyle guitar torch well into the future!
( Alex de Grassi )
Kent is not only a technical prodigy, he is a natural musician with the expressive maturity of someone well beyond his years? very impressive!
( Peter Finger )
I'm very impressed by Kent Nishimura's album. What a great player at the age of 12! I can't wait to hear more and I'm exited to watch his further development.
( Stephen Bennett )
Kent does a very good job playing covers of tunes by Don Ross, Antoine Dufour and Tommy Emmanuel, etc. Particularly for a guitarist so young his playing was amazingly clean and confident on every track. The liner notes said there was no overdubbing on the cd and that is very impressive too.
( Michael Manring )
He really is an extraordinary talent and I think he has a bright future.