Namie Amuro – Japanese Singer
Namie Amuro is one of the most recognizable names and faces in Japan. She is an R&B singer, former actress, and fashion icon who became well known at the age of 14 with the girl group Super Monkey’s. When she was at the height of her popularity she was known as the “Teen Queen”. She also gained the title of “Queen of Japanese Pop Music”. The group Super Monkey’s was not very prominent together, but their last year together was what gained them notoriety with the single “Try Me”.
Her single “Can You Celebrate?” became the highest selling single my a solo female artist in 1997. She had another single reach number one on the charts in 1998, titled “I Have Never Seen”. She joined another group shortly after known as the Suite Chic group.
Namie Amuro has released 11 solo albums: Dance Tracks Vol. 1 (1995), Sweet 19 Blues (1996), Concentration 20 (1997), Genius 2000 (2000), Break the Rules (2000), Style (2003), Queen of Hip-Pop (2005), Play (2007), Past Future (2009), Uncontrolled (2012), and Feel (2013). She has garnered a lot attention for her voice, presence, and being able to adapt to a variety of styles that are not only entertaining, but stick with people for a very long time.
In 1998 she had a son. On March 17, 1999 she found out her mother was murdered the same day as the release of “Respect the power of Love”. She cancelled the promotional aspects for a time to fly back to Okinawa to identify her mother’s body. Throughout her career she has maintained a strong influence and oresence in Japan despite the social stigmas she is associated with. She is a single, divorced, working mother, which in Japan can be very bad for public image. However, her fans and those who listen to her music are actually very understanding because her music is diverse, and she has evolved as an artist.
At the beginning of her career her music was mainly dance music. She focused on this because of her early producers and the fact that the music is very catchy, sold quickly, and is what people wanted. However, her evolution as an artist has come to involve using R&B and hip-hop more in her work. This has allowed her to stay relevant and in many ways help change the face of Japanese music. She sold well over 30 million albums in her career and continues to do well despite a time when her music declined in both sales and popularity.
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