Masafumi “Masa” Fukuda, an American songwriter, music arranger, and choir director, is the director and founder of One Voice Children’s Choir. He was born in Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan.
He was a music prodigy from an early age, having composed his first piano song, “Lonely Winter,” at the age of four. Attracted to the record player and piano in his family home, Fukuda said, “Ever since I can remember, I was attracted to anything that makes [a] sound.” At eight years of age, he enrolled in the Yamaha Music School, which The Salt Lake Tribune called a “challenging and exclusive” school that provided him a “college-level education” in musical composition and taught him how to collaborate with musical ensembles. He learned “theory, composition, arrangement, keyboard, ensemble, sight-reading, productions and recording.” By the age of 12, he was more than certain that he wanted to be a music producer.
In 1992, as a sophomore in high school, he participated in a student exchange program at the Meridian school, a private school in Provo, Utah. There he met Brigham Young University (BYU) professors whose strong teaching skills impressed him and encouraged him to attend BYU. He graduated from Meridian High School in 1995, and before attending BYU, he served a two-year full-time mission in Hiroshima, Japan, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While a student at BYU, he won a contest for nearby composers to write music for sale as soundtracks during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Back in 2001, he and Gael Shults asked 1,621 students from 69 elementary schools in the Alpine School District, Nebo School District, and Provo School District, to help create “Light Up the Land,” a commemorative CD of the Olympics. He sent the song to the organizers, and his song was selected among other songs for the Olympic CD and received two Pearl Awards.
Some of those students performed as the 2002 Winter Olympic Children’s Choir and Fukuda volunteered to train them. Some of the students, who were also performers in the “Children of Light” production for the opening and closing ceremonies, were volunteered to help train. After the Olympics, 25 students wanted to continue singing together. By September 2003, the group grew to 130 members. He and Shults served as the choir’s co-directors. At that time the group was called Studio A Children’s Choir. To keep working with the children, Fukuda obtained help from supportive parents to establish the choir as a non-profit organization with an advisory board, and in the summer of 2005, the group was named One Voice Children’s Choir.
Fukuda graduated from Brigham Young University in 2002. For a few years after he received a music degree, he served as an arranger of scripture videos for corporations. Also in 2002, he collaborated with songwriter Jeannine Lasky and together they wrote songs for The Power Within, an album that featured themes of “love, courage, hope, faith and living together in peace.” More than 1,600 children from Utah performed the songs with Paul Engemann, Alex Boyé, and other singers. Per Wikipedia, “Fukuda was inspired to work on the project after listening to the band Alabama’s song “Angels Among Us.” He later told Deseret News that he wished that there were “more songs that are uplifting yet not necessarily religious.” In 2005, a song that he co-wrote with Jeannine Lasky, “His Endless Love,” received a Pearl Award in the Holiday Recording category.
Masa Fukuda currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2015, he married Catherine Alyssa Eatman Fukuda. Has produced or arranged for David Archuleta of the American Idol (Season 7), Justin Williams (Season 8), Jarrett Burns (X-Factor, 2011), and Alejandro Melecio (Latin Idol, 2012.). He is also the winner of the John Lennon Music Award, presented by Yoko Ono and George Martin of the Beatles.
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