Ayumi Hamasaki Biography
Review The Artist (10)
Date of birth: October 2cnd, 1978, Fukuoka, Japan
Height: 5' 1"
Despite her child-like persona, you can't help but sense Hamasaki was never truly a child. Born in Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu, she was just a toddler when her father walked out. "I don't even know if he's dead or alive," she says. Raised by a single mother and a grandmother, she began modeling locally at seven, in part to earn money for the family. It was an unusual and lonely childhood in this country of steadfastly nuclear families, but Hamasaki says she wasn't aware of what she was missing. "I thought mommy's life was strange, not mine," she says. "I didn't understand my loneliness until I moved to Tokyo." Hamasaki made that move at 14 to pursue an acting and modeling career. Old magazine spreads feature the sweetly smiling young starlet clad in bathing suits or prim outfits that would never make it to her own wardrobe. After bit parts in five low-budget movies and a handful of TV dramas, she tired of acting and, with her tiny frame, did not have a future in modeling. Canned by her talent agency and dropping out of school in the 10th grade, Hamasaki frittered away her days shopping at trendy shibuya boutiques and her nights dancing at the massive Velfarre nightclub in Roppongi.
Then a friend who worked at the club, owned by the record label Avex, invited her out for a night of karaoke that forever changed her life. The friend had also invited Masato ("Max") Matsuura, who introduced himself to Hamasaki as a producer. "I'd never heard of Avex," Hamasaki recalls, laughing. "When he asked if I wanted to pursue a singing career, I said, 'No way.' He was this older guy, and I thought the whole thing sounded fishy." Over the following year, though, Matsuura persisted. Finally she relented to his request that she at last attend vocal training, only because "I had nothing better to do." But the classes were dull and the teachers harsh. "I felt like I'd gone back to school," she says. "If there are rules and regulations, I can't help it, I want to break them."
Finally she confessed to Matsuura that she'd skipped most of the classes. But instead of writing her off, he proposed sending her to New York for some real training. "I thought he was kidding," she says. "I mean, I was 17." Reluctantly she went, staying in a midtown hotel for three months, taking singing classes a few blocks away. "New York was a relief-not all hierarchical and rule-bound," she says. When Hamasaki returned to Japan, Matsuura proposed another challenge. Because she has trouble voicing her thoughts, Hamasaki had over that year corresponded with Matsuura through letters, which must have echoed of simple yet poignant lyrics. "He read them and said, 'Why don't you try writing songs?'" The idea that she could express herself in song imbued her with a new sense of direction. "No one had ever asked anything of me before, or expected anything of me," she says of Matsuura, whom Hamasaki and everyone at Avex calls by his title, senmu, or managing director. "Part of me was flattered; part of me was terrified but didn't want to admit I couldn't do it. Plenty of people had patted my head and said, 'Aren't you cute.' Senmu gets mad, but when he praises me, I know I've won it. He's the one who found me and drew me out." He stuck by her, too, when superstardom didn't occur overnight. Her first two singles in 1998 stopped at No. 20 on the charts; her next four barely broke the Top 10. Then Love~destiny~ busted into the No. 1 slot in April 1999, and every one of her singles have hit the top ever three since. The responsibilities that came with her ascension as a recording star were a fair trade-off for the joyous release of writing. "The 'Hi, this is Ayu' person on TV," she says, slipping for a moment into her alter ego's nasal, anime-character voice, "is the person I know they want to see. I understand it's my role to realize people's dreams. I'm O.K. with that so long as my songs are my own. No one can take my song away from me."
She is complicit in the brutal arithmetic of fame: trading the freedom she cherished for the right to tell her story through songs. Indeed, she has transcended mere songstress status and become something even more venerated in our consumer driven society. "It's necessary that I am viewed as a product," she says. "I am a product."
Grew up in a single parent home with mother and grandmother.
Was the highest earning entertainer in Japan (2002).
Started modeling since age 7.
Was the first artist to have 4 singles on the Japan top 10 charts simultaneously.
Won MTV Asia's Best Female Artist Award (2002).
Spokesmodel of AUBE cosmetics.
Spokesmodel of HONDA.
Spokesmodel of KOSE cosmetics.
Spokesmodel of Lycos Japan.
Spokesmodel of MORIGANA (food company).
Spokesmodel of Takano Yuri Beauty Clinic.
Spokesmodel of TU-KA handsets.
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Ayumi is the "Party Queen" | Reviewer: Lionel Belanger | 10/15/12
Ayumi Hamasaki is often billed as a singer but is in fact much much more.
She is a performance artist who writes all her own songs with a haiku like clarity and then performs them in concerts by utilizing song, acrobatic dance, mime, costumes which underscore the theme of the song as well as highly innovative sets which have included in the past things like full scale animated airships, cherry pickers, plexiglass domes and many other things really too numerous to mention here.
Her song styling is one that makes each production number or song a very personalized performance for the listener or viewer. She has favorites which delight the audience as well as encourage audience participation. You have not seen a spectacle as awe-inspiring as 65,000 fans waving light sticks and lighted fans IN UNISON toward the stage.
So I am a long time fan but what is special about THIS collection
First of all it contains her latest concert as well as some nice new songs.
Secondly it contains two other concerts which give a great overview of her body of performances.
Last but not least it is a "first pressing" which contains momentos of the concert which are always included in first pressings and are not generally available.
I have been to other concerts from the rolling stones at Altamont California to the Niebulungen ring at the Bayreuth Wagnerfest. I have seen Las Vegas shows. I am left breathless by the production quality of her concerts.
... | Reviewer: Kumai | 12/26/08
Ms. Ayumi Hamasaki is a very talented individual. Her songs reach out to the majority of people willing to listen. Not only does she express herself in her songs but she sings what others dream of saying. She is a very insperational musican. She is also very lovely should she be a model. All I have to say is that I hope she follows her dreams whereever they may lead her and that I hope she has no regrets. I wish her the best of luck in whatever she does and I hope she can be herself and not what others want/hope her to be.
Be true to yourself and live your life your own way Ms. Ayumi Hamasaki!
ANAAAA | Reviewer: anaa gabrielah | 3/2/08
i am you one fan... there has been as espectacle
definitely one of the
every challenge in your life is an opportunity
i admire you ... i am very proud
whenewe your FANS
I LOVE YOU MUCH
Don't leave the music career!! | Reviewer: Kazuya | 12/22/07
Well, I dont really want Ayu to leave her music career.... she's great and i think all fans of Ayu would agree that they want her to stay. Still, if her decision is to leave the music industry i think i will support her decision. I really hope she will release more great songs before she goes, though.
Fav. Artist | Reviewer: John | 10/31/07
Ayumi is my favorite artist of all times. She takes music and does something to it.. Dunno what. But she does a damm good job and shes mega hot at the same time. :D
Ayu 4eva. . | Reviewer: Linda | 9/27/07
when ayu juz debut, i like her very much at dat time i'm juz 8 years 0ld. i alwayz hear ayu's s0ng but if she d0n't sing anym0re, i'll sup0rt wat she d0ing, as a m0del 0r as a actress. . Ayu. . u alwayz iz my BEST id0l. .
Ayu | Reviewer: Andrew | 9/11/07
I love Ayumi, she is like the pop queen of Asia. I a long jorney for Ayumi. I knew Ayumi will leave her musical career, but evens if she do't sing no more. Her musics and songs still lives on forever!
Ayumi Forever | Reviewer: Kris | 7/5/07
I really love the music made by Ayu, she is different from the other Japanese singers. Although her image changed, I think/hope she is still the same girl she used to be. I hope she won't change into Koda Kumi or somebody simular.
Seems so long ago | Reviewer: Maiya | 7/2/07
Ayumi has been my favourite singer for years; her voice my not be that good, but her songs just makes you go "Hey, i like this song, it's dark, but it just makes you wanna sing".
Not Ayumi Hamasaki | Reviewer: Jessica | 6/12/07
Ayumi Hamasaki is preparing to leave her musical life. She wants to keep up the modleing career though. Ayumi is finishing up her latest album then is off to hit the road.
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