Namie Amuro Biography
Last updated: 12/08/2011 11:00:00 AM
Namie Amuro (September 20, 1977) is a Japanese pop singer and Japanese idol originally from Okinawa Prefecture, born to a Japanese father and an Italian-Japanese mother. Debuting in 1992 in a girl group named SUPER MONKEYS, she would struggle to reach the top until the release of "TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinijite~" in early 1995 catapulted her into superstardom. Leaving the group the same year and joining forces with top producer Tetsuya Komuro, Namie would go on to become a cultural phenomenon. Now after performing for well over a decade, she continues to be one of Japan's biggest pop acts.
At the age of 15, Amuro along with a group of classmates, formed the pop group known as the Super Monkeys. Although moderately successful in their home prefecture, a move to Tokyo (presumably at the behest of their record label, Toshiba EMI) garnered more exposure for the Super Monkeys, and Namie in particular, so much that the group were known as 'Namie Amuro with Supermonkeys'.
Namie soon embarked on a solo career, in the process moving from Toshiba EMI to the avex trax label (also home of popular Japanese acts such as BoA, Do As Infinity, and Every Little Thing). The remaining Supermonkeys regrouped, renamed themselves MAX, and became a successful group in their own right.
Amuro exploded onto the Japanese music scene with Body Feels EXIT, with the aid of somewhat legendary Japanese producer Tetsuya Komuro. From then, every single Tetsuya Komuro produced for Amuro became a major hit ranking high on the charts. During her most successful time during the 90s, she won the hearts of the teenage girls, inspiring them with her style. The girls had brown-reddish hair or highlights, very thin eye brows and other assorted make-ups, their clothes were made up of short skirts and knee-high boots, which was the symbol of Amuro and were called "Amuraas".
In 1996 she became the youngest artist in history to be awarded the Japan Record Awards Committee's Best Artist Prize with sales totals for CDs climbing over a total of 10 million copies in a single year. She also won the same award in 1997 and also the best single award for Can You Celebrate at the 39th Japan Record Awards.
In late 1997, she held a press conference announcing her marriage to TRF member, Masaharu Maruyama (SAM) and her pregnancy. She would end the year by making her last performance on the annual Kouhaku Uta Gassen special. On May 19th, 1998, she gave birth to her only child, Haruto. On December 23rd of the same year, she released her comeback single "I HAVE NEVER SEEN" which debuted at #1.
In 1999, she started working with American producer, Dallas Austin. Her work with the producer brought a harder R&B style to her music. However, 1999 was a painful year for Namie; her mother was brutally murdered by her mother's brother-in-law. In July of 2000, she released the single "NEVER END" which she performed in front of several world leaders including then president Bill Clinton at the G8 Summit. In 2001, Namie and her producer, Testuya Komuro ended their working relationship. She released "Say the word" on August 8th the same year, which she for the first time, wrote the lyrics for. At the end of that year she collaborated with rapper VERBAL of m-flo on the song "lovin'it." The song was released to help the victims of the 9/11 attacks in the US.
In 2002, Namie fully immersed herself into the Japanese R&B scene releasing music under the psuedonym, SUITE CHIC. Under the SUITE CHIC project she collaborated with several of Japan's popular hip hop and R&B artists. They released two singles, an original album and one remix album before ending the project in 2003.
Namie returned to solo activites on her own in 2003 with the single "shine more." The subsequent singles "Put 'Em Up" and "SO CRAZY" were produced by American R&B producers Dallas Austin and Full Force respectively. At the end of the year, she released her first original album in three years "STYLE."
From November 29th, 2003 to May 15th, 2004 she performed throughout Asia on the "Namie Amuro SO CRAZY" tour featuring BEST singles 2003-2004, where she wrapped it up with 3 concerts in Seoul, South Korea. She was the first major Jpop artist to hold a concert in the country. Currently, she's on the "Namie Amuro Fanclub" tour. Her single GIRL TALK / the SPEED STAR, was released on October 14, 2004.