Toshi Otani was born and raised on Japan's most northern island of Hokkaido. When he was 12 years old, he taught himself to play by listening to the radio and records. His first experience playing the blues was at the age of 19, as a bass player. In 2005, he moved to New York and joined a band called East Village Pharmacy and recorded an album. He spent many years in Tokyo's lively Chicago-style blues scene before relocating to the Niagara region in 2013 and then to Hamilton 2019.