"There's a whole bigger world out there than what we are doing," says jazz pianist and vocalist Emi Meyer. "Studying roots music and ethnomusicology always kept me open-minded."

Born in Kyoto, but raised in Seattle, 23-year-old Meyer is exploring new musical genres for her sophomore album, "Passport." She has teamed up with Japanese rapper and producer Shingo Annen, known to his fans as Shing02, for a journey that encompasses bossa nova, reggae and hip-hop. Annen describes the amalgamation as "an organic fusion of culture and styles."

"It's more about the person who is playing," says Meyer of their collaboration. "It'd be easy to hire a bassist, but we are all personally connected with the people involved, and by extension we respect the instrument they are playing. When we recorded in Brazil, (the fact that) they don't really understand the lyrics opened the door to even more expression."