DAHLIA in full bloom

Okinawan-American singer DAHLIA hits the big time thanks to Japanese rock icon YOSHIKI and EXPO 2005.

It's been a busy year for 20-year-old American singer DAHLIA, and it's going to get a lot busier. Since being chosen last year to sing the theme song for EXPO 2005 in Aichi, DAHLIA has shuttled back and forth between Los Angeles and Japan, to promote the exposition and the song, "I'll Be Your Love," written and produced by YOSHIKI, the former leader or member for the iconic rock group X-Japan.

Making her second trip to Japan this year, DAHLIA was on hand in September to launch the start of advance ticket sales for the Expo which runs from March 25-Sept 25, 2005, in the eastern hills of Nagoya. The theme of the Expo is nature's wisdom, which DAHLIA says is close to her heart.

"I was born in Hawaii. Everyone knows it is such a beautiful place, so the environment is important to us," she says. "I grew up with a lot of respect for nature and it is a big concern of mine for the future because I want the resources to be there for my children and my children's children. There may not be anything left if we are not careful about our actions and the consequences."

DAHLIA -- who adopted her stage name at YOSHIKI's recommendation - is based in Los Angeles, but still spends a lot of time in Hawaii. She still retains a link to Okinawa through her grandmother. "She didn't speak much English and practically raised me because both my parents were working," she says. "She taught me a lot about Okinawa and Japanese culture."

DAHLIA speaks a little Japanese, having studied it in high school, and sings some of the lyrics to the Expo song in Japanese. "Right now, YOSHIKI and I are putting together an album with a mix of Japanese and English. I don't have a problem singing Japanese. Hopefully, one day I'll be fluent."

Slim and stylish, DAHLIA is ever mindful of her figure. "I love cakes, but I can't eat them much these days," she with a laugh. She used to do some modeling work, but in recent years has opted to concentrate on her singing career. "I was classically trained as a vocalist when I was younger. I grew up with music. Both my parents were singers, and my brother is a jazz musician, so music has been an outlet for me for a long while. I'm trying to write my own music."

Being asked by the LA-based YOSHIKI, who "discovered" her, to sing the Expo theme song, was a thrill for DAHLIA. "He thought it would be a good opportunity for me to do something really important. I was exhilarated to be offered the chance. I was just starting my career, so he could have chosen someone really well known," says DAHLIA.

And what is YOSHIKI like to work with? "He is very complex as all of us are. I work well with him. He's so precise and meticulous, which is what makes his music so beautiful. He's a bit of a perfectionist. That's a great thing in our business because you want to make sure the product is perfect. As a person, he's really funny."

While YOSHIKI is very well known, it is hard to find out much about DAHLIA. "I know, I know," she acknowledges, "I need to have a home page on the Internet, but unfortunately I don't know much about that sort of thing."

Still, it's a sure bet the world will be soon be seeing a lot more of DAHLIA. "I am totally open to direction at this stage of my life. I am interested in acting and took classes last summer," she says. "In a way, when I am singing, I feel that I am acting. Even if I am feeling bad, I have to perform a certain song that might be about some other emotion. That's acting, isn't it?"

The CD of the expo theme song are now on sale in Japan