Namie Amuro

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Namie Amuro
Namie Amuro MAA.JPG
Namie Amuro in MTV Asia Aid 2005
Native name 安室奈美恵
Born (1977-09-20) September 20, 1977 (age 38)
Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Occupation
Spouse(s) Masaharu "Sam" Maruyama (m. 1997–2000 d. 2002)
Children Haruto (b. 1998)
Website namieamuro.jp
Musical career
Genres
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1992–present
Labels
Associated acts

Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵 Amuro Namie?, born September 20, 1977) is a Japanese singer, dancer, fashion model, actress and businesswoman. She achieved popularity by a series of successful singles and albums, both exploring different genres and working with producers and musicians outside of Japan, one of the first Japanese artists to do so at the time. Due to her longevity and resilience in the industry, she has been often referred by critics and music publications as the "Teen Queen" of Japan, "Queen of J-Pop", and the "Japanese Madonna or Janet Jackson".

Born in Naha, Okinawa, Amuro debuted in music as an idol girl with the band Super Monkey's at age 14. Although majority of their releases were unsuccessful in Japan, Amuro's venturing in modelling fashion and acting helped the group gain attention on their single "Try Me (Watashi o Shinjite)". Retitling themselves as "Namie Amuro with Super Monkey’s" to achieve further success, they released a studio album and a compilation. She signed with Avex Trax in 1995 to released her debut single “"Body Feels Exit", the lead single from her best-selling album Sweet 19 Blues (1996). She achieved large success with her single "Can You Celebrate?", which is still the best-selling single from a female artist in Japan. Transitioning into westernised R&B music, she released her third album Genius 2000 (2000).

As she was beginning to mould her well-known signature R&B sound, sales started to decline by the release of her fifth album Style (2003). But in 2007, Play, her eight studio album, was a period of her resurgence with sales. She then moved from R&B, onto electronic dance music with her tenth album Uncontrolled (2012), and has since recorded primarily in English language, including her most recent album Genic (2015). Though Amuro has been credited as a record producer and songwriter in some of her releases, she has remained solely as a recording artist, with many of her singles hitting number one including "Chase the Chance", "A Walk in the Park", "Dreaming I Was Dreaming", "I Have Never Seen", "Wild", and an extended play single 60s 70s 80s. Alongside this, her compilation albums 181920 (1998) and Best Fiction (2008) are two of the best-selling greatest hits albums in Japan.

Having sold more than 30 million records in Japan, Namie Amuro is recognized as the 12th best-selling artist, the fourth best-selling solo artist, and third best-selling female artist in that region according to The Richest. She has been recognized at several award ceremonies, including being a recipient at the World Music Awards, Japan Record Awards, Japan Gold Disc Awards, amongst many others. Recording to calculated results by the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), she has a total of 43 million certified units. Her album Sweet 19 Blues was the best-selling album of Japan, until it was released by several more entries during most recent years.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Namie Amuro was born to Emiko Taira (c 1951 – March 17, 1999), and an undisclosed Japanese father, in Naha, Okinawa on September 20, 1977.[1] Through her maternal line, Amuro is one-quarter Italian.[2] She is one of three children by Taira and her father. Taira had divorced when Amuro was four years old, and raised her three children solely in Okinawa.[3] Taira worked as a nursery school employee and bar hostess to support her three children.[4] Although she had no ambition to become a singer, she was discovered at age 12, while visiting a friend. Amuro was scouted by Masayuki Makino, the owner of Okinawa Actors School, a performing arts school, and eventually enrolled there.[4] Two years later, Makino placed her in an idol group called Super Monkey's, with five other girls: Anna Makino, Hisako Arakaki, Nanako Takushi, and Minako Ameku. A year after their September 1992 debut with Toshiba-EMI, the group relocated to Tokyo, despite Amuro's mother's disapproval.[3]

Super Monkey's did not gain much success and the group changed band member's constantly. They changed their name to "Namie Amuro with Super Monkey's" in 1994 to reflect Amuro's rising popularity as an upcoming actress and fashion model.[5] Aside from group's musical activities, Amuro had bit parts in Japanese television series and small films. The Super Monkey's experienced a large amount of success with their single "Try Me (Watashi o Shinjite)", produced by Italian eurobeat producer Dave Rodgers, and Japanese businessman Max Matsuura.[6][7] Released on January 25, 1995, the song reached number eight on the Oricon Singles Chart, and stayed in the top 200 chart for 25 weeks.[8] Despite the beginning success as a group, the other four members of the Super Monkey's formed their own sub-group, MAX, under the Japanese record label Avex Trax.[9] As a result, Amuro released two more solo singles under Toshiba-EMI before moving to Avex Trax herself.[10]

1995–97: Career breakthrough, marriage and motherhood[edit]

Japanese musician Tetsuya Komuro (pictured) produced Namie Amuro's first five studio albums.

After signing with Avex Trax in 1995, the corresponding record company Avex Group enlisted Japanese musician Tetsuya Komuro to work with Amuro on her then-upcoming album. Amuro made her solo debut with Avex, releasing the single "Body Feels Exit" on October 25, 1995.[11][12] It became a huge success in Japan, peaking at number three on the Oricon Singles Chart and sold over 881,000 units in that region.[13][14] Amuro's second single with Komuro, "Chase the Chance", became her first number single on the Oricon Singles Chart, and became her first single to sell over one million units there.[15][16] For Amuro's success with those singles, she won the Golden Arrow Award in 1995.[17] After a brief hiatus, Amuro released two more singles in 1996: "Don't Wanna Cry" and "You're My Sunshine". Both singles were successful in Japan, bringing her second and third consecutive number one singles, and both sold over one million units there.[18][19] Amuro achieved huge success after the release of her first solo studio album, Sweet 19 Blues (1996). Released on July 22, it reached number one on the Oricon Albums Chart in Japan, and has sold over 3.6 million units.[20][21] She released the album's final single, the title track, on August 21, 1996; it achieved success by peaking at number two on the Oricon Singles Chart, and shifted over 400,000 units in Japan.[22]

On November 27, 1996, she started work on her second solo studio album with Komuro, and released its lead single "A Walk in the Park".[23] It gave Amuro her fourth number one single on the Oricon Singles Chart, and her fourth single to sell over one million units there.[24] At the end of 1996, she was awarded the Grand Prix Award for her song "Don't Wanna Cry", the highest honor at the Japan Record Awards, making her the youngest artist to have won the award.[25] On February 19, 1997, she released her single "Can You Celebrate?", which became her fifth number one single.[26] The single became a huge success in Japan, eventually selling 2.29 million units there, making it the best-selling single by a solo female artist in Japan.[27][28][29] After release her sixth consecutive numer one single "How to Be a Girl" in May 1997, she released her second album Concentration 20 in July of that year.[30][31] It became her third number one album in Japan, and sold over 1.9 million units there.[32] For additional promotion, she embarked her Concentration 20 Dome Tour in Japan, which achieved commercial success.[33] By early August 1997, the sales of Amuro's records reached 20 million.[10]

During a press conference on October 22 of that year, Amuro confirmed her marriage to Japanese musician and TRF band member Masaharu "Sam" Maruyama. During the conference, she announced that she was three months pregnant with their first child.[34][35] At the end of the year, she won the Grand Prix Award at the Japan Record Awards again for "Can You Celebrate?"[36] and made her final appearance on the annual Japanese television music show Kōhaku Uta Gassen before beginning her one-year hiatus from the music industry.[37]

1998–2001: Music comeback, personal struggles, Genius 2000, and Break the Rules[edit]

On May 19, 1998, Amuro gave birth to her son, Haruto.[38] She returned to the music industry with the release of her single, "I Have Never Seen" (1998). It became her eighth number one single on Oricon, and sold over 650,000 units in Japan.[39][40] She made her first televised appearance on Kōhaku Uta Gassen days later, performing a tearful rendition of her single "Can You Celebrate?".[41] Working on her third studio album with Komuro and American producer Dallas Austin,[42] she released its second single "Respect the Power of Love" on March 17, 1999.[43] On the same day, news publication's in Amuro's hometown, Okinawa, reported that her mother, Emiko Taira, had been murdered. According to staff editors at The Japan Times, Taira and her second husband at the time had been hit by a vehicle, owned by Taira's ex-husband's brother Kenji Taira. She was furthered attacked by Taira, wielding a hatchet like object. Whilst her second husband survived with moderate injuries, Taira was taken to hospital, and pronounced dead after noon on March 17. Kenji Taira was then found dead in his car, after consuming insecticide.[1] Upon hearing the news, Amuro postponed all promotional activities and flew back to Okinawa in order to identify her mother's body.[3] A week later, the single debuted at the number two on the Oricon Singles Chart, beaten by the single "Dango 3 Kyodai".[44] A third single, "Toi et Moi", was used for the Japanese animation movie Pokémon: The Movie 2000.[45] Both singles proved to be success, selling over 400,000 and 200,000 units in that region, respectively.[46][47]

Amuro made her first single debut with Austin on "Something 'Bout the Kiss", released on September 1, 1999.[48] It became a success in Japan, reaching number three on the Oricon Singles Chart and sold over 390,000 units there.[49][50] In January 2000, Amuro released her fourth studio album Genius 2000; it reached number one on the Oricon Albums Chart, and shifted over 800,000 units there.[51] That same month, Amuro confirmed her separation from husband Masaharu.[34] For the first half of 2000, Amuro embarked on her Genius 2000 concert tour throughout Japan.[52] She then released the single "Never End", in July, confirming work on her fifth studio album with Komuro and Austin. The single was used as part of the G8 Summit taking place in Okinawa, Japan that year.[53] It was commissioned by late Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who asked Tetsuya Komuro to write a song conveying "a vision of harmony and interaction in the world in the 21st century".[54] Obuchi later asked Amuro to perform the single at the summit.[55]

Amuro's fifth studio album Break the Rules was released on December 20, 2000, and is her final full-length produced album with Komuro.[56] It became her first studio album to miss the top spot, peaking at number two on the Oricon Albums Chart. Amuro's sales started to decline from this release, as the album only shifted 335,000 units in Japan.[57][58] To promote the studio album, Amuro toured Japan in March 2001, and finished in May that same year.[59][60] In August, she released the single "Say the Word"; it was her first single that she contributed to songwriting.[61] This was her last solo single to be produced by Komuro, until years later, and was released in part of her upcoming greatest hits album.[62] However, in December she worked with Komuro for the last time on "Lovin' It", a single released as part of Avex's Song+Nation charity project. The single featured Japanese rapper Verbal from the music group M-Flo.[63]

2002–06: Decline in sales, Style, Queen of Hip-Hop and expansion into Asia[edit]

On March 13, 2002, she released her second greatest hits album Love Enhanced Single Collection.[64] The singles featured on the compilation were re-arranged from the original versions.[65] The album was successful, peaking at number three on the Oricon Albums Chart and sold over 300,00 units in Japan.[66] In July 2002, Amuro was divorced from Maruyama, having cited irreconcilable differences According to reports, her separation was based on personal issues with Maruyama's family.[67] She started work on her sixth studio album, and third collaboration with Austin, releasing the Diane Warren–written "Wishing on the Same Star" on September 11, 2002.[68] The single saw a large slip in Amuro's sales, only shifting 95,000 units by the end of the year.[69] In December 2002, Amuro was part of the Japanese musical project Suite Chic, collaborating with several Japanese artists including Verbal, Zeebra, Dabo and DJ Muro.[70] The project released two singles, one studio album, and one remix album before their split in 2003.[71][72][73]

Amuro returned to solo activities in mid 2003, releasing the single's "Shine More", "Put 'Em Up", and the double A-side singles: "So Crazy" and "Come". The single's saw an exploration of westernised musical styles with American producers, including R&B producers Full Force and the work of Austin.[74] "Come" was used for the Japanese anime InuYasha,[75] and is a re-arranged song that was originally recorded by Australian recording artist and TV personality Sophie Monk.[76] At the end of the year, she released her sixth studio album and first album in three years, Style.[77] The album became her lowest chart album on the Oricon Albums Chart, peaking at number four. It is also her lowest selling studio album, shifting only 222,000 units in that region.[78] To promote the studio album, Amuro embarked on her So Crazy Tour Featuring Best Singles on November 29.[79] The tour concluded on April 11, 2004.[80] She extended the concert tour, marked as a promotional appearance, in Taiwan,[81] and South Korea.[82] Shortly after the tour, she released the single "All for You" on July 22, 2004, confirming work on her seventh studio album.[83] This was followed by the double A-side single "Girl Talk" and "Girl Talk/The Speed Star", released on October 14, 2004.[84] It was successful in Japan, peaking at number two, and sold over 107,000 units in that region; it became her first top three single in two years.[85] Amuro chose not to appear on Kōhaku Uta Gassen, though she had been invited to perform at the event.[86] She had previously attended the event nine years in a row.[87]

Amuro performing "Girl Talk" in MTV Asia Aid 2005

On April 6, 2005, she released the single "Want Me, Want Me".[88] The song was a success in Japan, reaching number two on the Oricon Singles Chart, and sold over 103,000 units in that region.[89][90] In May, following a three year split from Maruyama, Japanese publications reported that she would take back full custody of their child, Haruto.[91] In August, she was granted full custody of Haruto with visitation rights by Maruyama.[92] On May 29, she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan for the fourth consecutive year in a row. She received two awards, "Best R&B Video" and "Most Impressive Performing Asian Artist", making her the first artist to receive awards four years in a row.[93] She took home the "Inspiration Award" in 2002, "Best Collaboration" in 2003, "Best R&B Video" for 2004, and 2005 as well as "Most Impressive Performing Asian Artist" in the latter year.[94] Amuro released her seventh studio album Queen of Hip-Pop July 13, 2005.[95] The album was a success, reaching number two on the Oricon Albums Chart, and sold over 455,000 units in Japan.[96] In collaboration with MGM Studios, Amuro was granted use of the The Pink Panther character in the album; a female panther counterpart was created for the album as well.[97]

In September 2005, Amuro embarked on her Space of Hip-Hop concert tour in Japan.[98] Shortly after the commencement of the tour, she announced that she would contribute to the Japanese theatrical release of the film Sin City (2005). After viewing the movie, Amuro made an offer to the Japanese distribution company to sing its theme song; the company, feeling that her image fit the movie, accepted her offer.[99][100] The theme song, "Violet Sauce", was later released as part of a double A-side single, "White Light/Violet Sauce", on November 16, 2005.[101] It achieved moderate success in Japan, reaching number seven on the Oricon Singles Chart, and sold over 72,000 units there.[102][103] The movie's director, Robert Rodriguez, was impressed by the song and asked to be a part of it; he can be heard saying "Welcome to Sin City" towards the end of the song.[104] Shortly after the single, she released Filmography 2001–2005' (2006), a compilation of twelve of her music videos between the years 2001 to 2005.[105] Amuro collaborated with Japanese recording artists Zeebra, Ai, and Mummy-D on Zeebra's album, The New Beginning, released on February 15, 2006, in a song called "Do What U Gotta Do".[106] On May 17, she released the double A-side single "Can't Sleep, Can't Eat, I'm Sick/Ningyo", which peaked at number two on the Oricon Singles Chart and shifted over 80,000 units in Japan.[107][108] In August 2006, she began her Live Style tour in 2006. On September 17, she performed to an audience of 12,000 at Yoyogi National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.[109]

2007–09: Resurgence of sales, Play, Best Fiction, and Past<Future[edit]

Amuro released the third single from her upcoming eight studio album, "Baby Don't Cry" on January 24, 2007; it was used as the theme song for the Japanese television series Himitsu no Hanazono.[110] It was successful in Japan, reaching number three on the Oricon Singles Chart, and sold over 144,000 units in that region, her highest selling single since "Say the Word".[111][112] Based on ringtone sales, it became her first single to shift over one million units since "How to Be a Girl".[113] Alongside this, she achieved the distinction in having a top ten single each year for 13 consecutive years, breaking the solo female artist's record in Japan by Kyōko Koizumi and Shizuka Kudō.[114] At the end of 2007, it ranked at number seven on the RIAJ yearly ringtone sales charts.[115] She then released the fourth and final single, "Funky Town", on April 4, 2007.[116] It achieved moderate success on the Oricon Singles Chart, peaking at number seven, and shifted over 54,000 units.[117][118] She was also featured on Japanese group, M-Flo's album, Cosmicolor, in a song titled "Luvotomy".[119] Her eighth studio album, Play, was released on June 27, 2007.[120] Play charted atop of the Oricon Albums Chart, becoming her first number-one album in more than 7 years.[121] From August 18, 2007, to February 27, 2008, she embarked her concert tour in Japan, titled the Play Tour 2007.[122] Originally consisting of 53 performances, it increased by 12 performances to 65 performances, making this her longest spanning tour.[123][124]

After the release of Play in 2007, Amuro's promotional campaigns started to rise; Amuro is picture promoted her single "Wild" on the side of a Coca-Cola vending machine.

In early 2008, Amuro confirmed that she would promote Japanese hair company Vidal Sassoon through their new marketing campaign Fashion x Music x VS, with a new single.[125] The single, though marketed as an extended play, was titled 60s 70s 80s, and consisted of three songs: "New Look", "Rock Steady", and "What a Feeling".[126] It became a huge success in Japan, reaching number one on the Oricon Singles Chart, and sold over 293,000 units in that region, her highest selling single since "Baby Don't Cry".[127][128] It became her first number single since "I Have Never Seen".[129] On March 25, 2008, Amuro was awarded "Best Female Video" for "Hide and Seek" (taken from Play) at the 2008 Space Shower Music Video Awards.[130] "Hide & Seek" also won the award for "Best R&B Video" at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, which was held at the Saitama Super Arena on May 31.[131] In May 2008, Amuro recorded a collaboration with Japanese musician Double in a song called "Black Diamond".[132] Despite lacklustre success on the Oricon Singles Chart, it sold over 500,000 ringtone units.[133] On July 26, Amuro participated at the 2008 A-nation music concert; an estimated 25,000 people attended her performance.[134] This was the first time she was invited to perform in seven years.[135]

On July 30, she released her third greatest hits album, Best Fiction.[136] Featuring tracks between 2003 and 2008, Best Fiction sold 681,000 copies in the first week and debuted at number one on the Oricon Albums Chart.[137] Within its third week, Best Fiction sold over one million units, making her the first artist to have one million certified album in three consecutive decades.[138][139] Best Fiction eventually spent six consecutive weeks at the number-one position, becoming the first album to do so in more than 14 years since the Dreams Come True's 1993 album Magic.[140] By the end of 2008, Best Fiction became the second best-selling album behind Exile's Exile Love.[141] In addition, it became the second best selling digital-format album by a Japanese artist behind Hikaru Utada's Heart Station.[142] Best Fiction was awarded the Album of the Year award at the 50th Japan Record Awards.[143] To promote the album, she embarked her Best Fiction 2008-2009 concert tour, starting at the Makuhari Messe.[144][145] Amuro was invited again to the 59th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen, but she declined.[146]

On January 20, 2009, Amuro begun working on her ninth studio album, and featured a new track entitled "Dr." through a Vidal Sassoon commercial.[147] She then released the album's lead double a-side singles, "Wild/Dr.," on March 18, 2009.[148] The song was a success, peaking at number one on the Oricon Singles Chart, and sold over 119,000 units in that region.[149][150] As a result, she also broke her own record of having all of her singles debut in the top 10 (on the Oricon Daily Singles Chart) for the last 15 years.[151] Amuro collaborated with Japanese music group Ravex on a song for their album Trax (2008), entitled "Rock U". On October 1, Vidal Sassoon released new commercials featuring Amuro, and two tracks from her ninth studio album, "My Love" and "Copy That."[152] On December 16, she released her ninth studio album, Past<Future.[153][154] The album was a success on the Oricon Albums Chart, reaching number one, and sold over 576,000 units in that region, slightly higher than the sales of Play.[155][156] In April 2010, Amuro embarked on her Past<Future concert tour, travelling throughout 26 cities in Japan, and lasted for nine months.[157]

2010–11: Checkmate! and Live Style 2011[edit]

On May 18, 2010, Amuro attended the World Music Awards on Monaco, receiving an award for "Best Artist From Asia", making her the First Asian Female Artist and second Japanese artist after Chage and Aska to do so, and performed her hit song from her album Play, "Hide and Seek".

Afterwards, it was announced that a new single was going to be released soon, and on July 28 her 34th single "Break It/Get Myself Back" was released (during her Past<Future tour summer hiatus). "Break It" was used in a Coca-Cola Zero commercial and the song reached number "3" on Oricon's weekly chart. The single has been certified Gold for shipment of 100,000 copies, as well as "Get Myself Back" being certified as a gold download to cellphones according to RIAJ.

The live DVD "Namie Amuro: Past < Future Tour 2010″ was released on December 15th and sold 95,000 copies within the first week, ranking first in the Music DVD category of the DVD Oricon rankings for the week of December 27. It became her second consecutive number one DVD, after "Namie Amuro:_ Best Fiction Tour 2008-2009″. The Blu-ray version sold 18,000 more copies.[158] The year 2010 ended on yet another success with "Past < Future" charting at 6th in the Oricon yearly album rankings, her highest position with a studio album since 1996's Sweet 19 Blues (2nd best selling album of that same year).

Namie Amuro released her second collaboration album (the first under her own name) on April 27, 2011. Titled Checkmate!, the album features nine collaboration songs released from 2003 to 2011, including Do What U Gotta Do, Luvotomy, BLACK DIAMOND, ROCK U, and her 2010 collaboration single with AI, FAKE, along with four new songs: "Wonder Woman" featuring AI and Anna Tsuchiya, "Make It Happen" with After School, "Unusual" with ex-News member Tomohisa Yamashita and "#1" featuring Chemistry's Kawabata Kaname.[159] The original release date was scheduled for March 23, 2011, but was delayed due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and its related nuclear accidents.

Meanwhile, Namie recorded the new theme song for One Piece, titled "Fight Together". A 2:30 minute long edit of the song started airing on April 10 as the opening theme of the long running Japanese anime. "Fight Together" was released as a download to cellular phones and got the number 1 position for one week. The first six months of 2011 were indeed another achievement for Namie, as according to Oricon her album Checkmate! was the third best selling album in Oricon's 2011 Half Year Ranking Charts for Album,[160] while her DVD Past<Future Tour 2010 was also the 3rd Best selling DVD in Oricon's 2011 Half Year Ranking in Music DVD.[161] she was also Japan's Best Selling Solo Artist (Male or Female) for 2011 according to Oricon's 2011 Half Year Sales of Artist (which includes all of Albums, Singles and DVDs) with an estimate sales of 2.7 Billion Yen.[162] according to "Amazon.co.jp", her Album Checkmate! top their Half Year Ranking in Music.[163] And at the end of July, she started an arena tour entitled "Live Style 2011" to commemorate her 20th anniversary in the Japanese music industry.

In early July, her official website announced her 35th single entitled "Naked/Fight Together/Tempest". "Naked" was used in her commercial campaign for KOSE ESPRIQUE, while "Tempest" is going to be used in a NHK drama series with the same title. The single landed on the Top 2 of Oricon Weekly Charts, extending her record as the only female Japanese artist to have a top 10 single each year for 17 consecutive years. Since the release of the single, it has sold more than 100,000 copies.

During her "Live Style 2011" tour, two new songs were added to the set list. The songs were "Higher" and "arigatou <thank the world for LOVE... gift song for 2011>". "Higher" was going to be used as song for her new commercial for Coke Zero, but never aired on TV and "arigatou" was used as the song for her new Kose Esprique Campaign in an a capella version. Namie released her 2nd single and last for 2011 after "Naked/Fight Together/Tempest" on July 27. Her 36th single entitled "Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!/Love Story" went sale on December 7, 2011. Her official website announced her new live DVD / Blu-ray entitled "Namie Amuro: Live Style 2011" and its release date is on December 21, 2011. On November 30 the covers for her DVD / Blu-ray were revealed. Also they announced on November 16, the official Namie Amuro YouTube Channel and since then, the site has gained a lot of attention from her fans all over the world.

Namie Amuro’s single "Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!/Love Story", which both are the theme song for the drama series Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu, became the first Double A-Side single to occupy the 1st and 2nd position in the Weekly Ranking of Recochoku since the day of release. Besides that, "Love story" got the first position and "Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!" got the 5th position for its monthly chart. On November 27, Namie filmed her TV version of "Love Story" for the drama series "Watashi ga Renai Dekinai Riyuu". On December 7, along with the release of her single, Namie launched her official Facebook page. The page includes a free download of the song "Arigatou: Thank the World for Love... Gift Song for 2011" which was originally featured on the single "Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!/Love Story". On December 12, MTV Japan and Space Shower TV aired the Live performances of "Make It Happen" and "Unusual" which was included in her "Namie Amuro: Live Style 2011" DVD.

2012: Uncontrolled and 20th Anniversary[edit]

On January 21 she recorded a new song titled Go Round.[164] the song was included in her 37th single "Go Round/Yeah-Oh!, which was released on March 21. Her song "Love Story" received many forms of recognition: LISMO, an online music player provided by the cell phone company au, selected "Love Story" as the winner of LISMO Award; the karaoke company Daiichi Kosho announced that the song is the most popular Valentine's Day song for a female artist, along with Exile's "Lovers Again",[165] while Recochoku announced that "Love Story" became the best selling digital song for the year 2012 in 4 different categories. the song also won at the 27th Japan Gold Disc Awards as "Song of the Year by Download".

In April 2012, it was announced that Namie Amuro would release a new album, Uncontrolled, on the 27th of June, 2012.[166] The album includes A-sides of released singles during 2010 up to 2012 as well as four new songs.[166] Along with the album, 2012 coincides with her 20th year of her career. The new album Uncontrolled features four new songs, all with MVs included in the CD/DVD version of her album. On 27 May the covers for the album were revealed and her Facebook also showed a painting, collaborated with “Annular Eclipse”, of her cover image located on Alta Shinjuku, Tokyo. It was up for viewing until 1 June. On 29 May, her official YouTube page released a commercial preview of MV for "In The Spotlight(TOKYO)", the lead track for her upcoming album.

On 27 June 2012, Namie released her album Uncontrolled. The album sold 292,000 copies on its first week of release, making the highest 1st week sales for a Japanese solo artist,[167] until it was beaten by Keisuke Kuwata's compilation album,[168] the album stayed on the top of the chart for 3 consecutive weeks, making her 1st studio album in her career as a solo artist,[169] the album also became her 10th overall #1 album, while it became the 11th best selling album in Japan for 2012, with 517,000 copies sold.

On 16 September 2012, a concert in Namie's hometown Okinawa was planned to coincide with her 20th Anniversary as a singer, with it being her 1st concert to feature guests with whom she collaborated over the past 20 years. The expected attendance for the concert was 27,000. However, due to a typhoon warning in Okinawa the concert was cancelled. It was not rescheduled because the date was supposed to be a special day.

On 31 October, Amuro released the digital single "Damage", which was the theme song for the film Fly with the Gold. The music video was released 2 December.[170]

On 24 November, Namie started her "Namie Amuro 5 Major Domes Tour 2012 ~20th Anniversary Best~" this being her first dome tour in 15 years. The tour became the most attended dome tour for a female solo artist, with an attendance of 340,000.

2013–14: Feel and Ballada[edit]

On 6 March 2013, Amuro released her 38th single, "Big Boys Cry/Beautiful", songs that were previously featured in her KOSE CM. This is her first single since White Light/Violet Sauce that does not come in a CD+DVD version and at the same time it is currently listed at Oricon as being Amuro's worst-selling single.

Amuro released her eleventh studio album entitled Feel on July 10, 2013, through Dimension Point, a new label under Avex Trax. This is the first full-length studio album Amuro has released since "Uncontrolled" almost a year before. The album included "Big Boys Cry" from her thirty-eighth single "Big Boys Cry/Beautiful", however, the B-side of the single, "Beautiful" was not included in this album. "Contrail" was released as Amuro's sixth digital single on May 19, 2013 through Recochoku, "Contrail" is also included in the album, Feel. The album has 7 songs which were sung entirely in English and have a total of 6 music videos. Feel successfully became her 6th consecutive number one album on the Oricon's weekly albums charts, with 247,000 copies. On the first day of release, the album sold 111,458 copies, surpassing "Uncontrolled" in terms of first day sales, and also became the highest first day sales for solo female artists in 2013. In support of the album, on August 16, 2013, Amuro started her "namie amuro FEEL tour 2013" which ended in December 23, 2013.

Also in 2013 Amuro was featured on a remake of TLC's 1995 #1 hit song 'Waterfalls'. She re-recorded the rap part in homage to the late Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes. However, the remake was met with controversy & backlash from American fans. The song was only released in Japan.

On June 4, 2014, Amuro released Ballada, her first greatest hits album to feature only ballad tracks. The album includes 15 of Amuro's popular ballads, which were elected by fans through a vote held on Amuro's official website. It also features a ballad version of "Contrail" as a bonus track. To commemorate the release of Ballada, Amuro re-recorded two of her biggest hits from the 90s, "Sweet 19 Blues" and "Can You Celebrate?". She also created new music videos for "Sweet 19 Blues", "Can You Celebrate?", "HimAWArI" and "Four Seasons". A total of 17 music videos are included in the DVD and Blu-ray editions. In support of the album, Amuro held a nationwide tour titled "namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2014". The tour began on August 22, 2014, and concluded on December 18, 2014, with a total of 36 shows.

On November 12, Amuro released a new single titled "Brighter Day".The single included "SWEET KISSES" the theme song for the KOSE COSMEPORT "OLSE D' OR" TV commercial and "Still Lovin' You", the theme song for the KOSE ESPRIQUE TV commercial.

In November 2014, Amuro collaborated with Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai for a song on Tsai's 13th studio album Play. The song, entitled "I'm Not Yours" was highly anticipated and well received by Namie and Jolin fans alike. In February 2015, an also highly anticipated music video for 'I'm Not Yours' was released with both singers featuring in the music video.

2015–present: Genic and non-single releases[edit]

On April 8, 2015, Amuro announced that she would be releasing her eleventh solo/twelfth recorded studio album Genic on June 10. The album is her first one independent from the management company Vision Factory, from which she separated in mid-January after 22 years. The album has a total of 14 new songs and 5 music videos, with the album style being a complete departure from Feel.

To promote the album Genic, Amuro went on the 'Namie Amuro Livegenic 2015-2016' Tour, which started in September and ended in February.

On November 3, amidst a week-long rumour, Amuro announced her 41st solo single "Red Carpet". The single consists of an A-side, "Red Carpet", and a B-side, "Black Make-Up". The single was released on December 2, 2015.

May 18, 2016, saw Amuro's 42nd single release "Mint" with B-side "Chit Chat" and instrumentals of both songs.

A new song "Hero" has been announced to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics on behalf of Japan. Its release date is TBD.

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Concerts and tours[edit]

  • August 31, 1996 - September 1, 1996: Summer Presents '96 Amuro Namie with Super Monkey's (sic)
  • March 23, 1997 - May 18, 1997: Namie Amuro tour 1997 a walk in the park
  • July 26, 1997 - August 13, 1997: Mistio presents Namie Amuro Summer Stage '97 Concentration 20
  • March 20, 2000 - May 7, 2000: Namie Amuro Tour "Genius 2000"
  • March 18, 2001 - May 27, 2001: Namie Amuro tour 2001 Break the Rules
  • October 17, 2001 - November 10, 2001: Namie Amuro tour "AmR" '01
  • November 29, 2003 - April 11, 2004: Namie Amuro So Crazy Tour Featuring Best Singles 2003–2004
  • August 27, 2004 - September 20, 2004: Namie Amuro tour "fan space '04"
  • September 1, 2005 - December 24, 2005: Space of Hip-Pop: Namie Amuro Tour 2005
  • August 13, 2006 - November 23, 2006: Namie Amuro Best Tour "Live Style 2006"
  • August 18, 2007 - April 13, 2008: Namie Amuro "Play" Tour 2007–2008
  • October 25, 2008 - May 31, 2009: Namie Amuro Best Fiction tour 2008–2009
  • April 3, 2010 - December 15, 2010: Namie Amuro Past<Future tour 2010
  • July 30, 2011 - December 27, 2011: Namie Amuro Live Style 2011
  • November 24, 2012 - December 21, 2012: Namie Amuro Five Major Dome Tour 2012 ~20th Anniversary Best~
  • February 23–24, March 16 & April 26, 2013 : Namie Amuro ASIA Tour 2013
  • August 16, 2013 - December 23, 2013: Feel Tour 2013
  • August 22, 2014 - December 23, 2014: LIVE STYLE 2014
  • September 5, 2015 - February 10, 2016: Namie Amuro Livegenic 2015–2016

Filmography[edit]

List of television and films credits
Year Title Role Notes
1992 Hirake! Ponkikki Rabbit
1993 Ichigo hakusho
1994 Toki o Kakeru Shōjo Miyoko Yoshiyama
1995 Watashi, Mikata Desu
1995 Station
1995 Shounan Liverpool Gakuin
1996 That's Cunning! Shijo Saidai no Sakusen? Morishita Yumi Film debut
1996 Gakko II Cameo
2000 Yonigeya Honpo
2011 The Reason I Can't Find My Love Herself Cameo
Episode 9

Theme songs[edit]

Anime theme songs[edit]

  • "Toi et Moi" - ending theme for Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)
  • "Come" - 7th ending theme song for InuYasha (2003)
  • "Four Seasons" - theme song for InuYasha 3rd movie (2003)
  • "Fight Together" - 14th opening for One Piece (2011)
  • "Black Make Up" - theme song for One Piece: Adventure of Nebulandia (2015)

Drama theme songs[edit]

  • "Chase The Chance" — theme song for The Chef (NTV, 1995)
  • "Can You Celebrate?" — theme song for Virgin Road (Fuji TV, 1997)
  • "I Have Never Seen" — theme song for Yonigeya Honpo (NTV, 1999)
  • "All for You" — theme song for Kimi ga omoi de ni Naru Mae ni (Fuji TV, 2004)
  • "Baby Don't Cry" — theme song for Himitsu no Hanazono (KTV, 2007)
  • "Sexy Girl" — theme song for Otome no Punch (NHK, 2008)
  • "The Meaning of us" — theme song for "Onnatachi wa Nido Asobu" (BeeTV, 2010)
  • "Tempest" — theme song for "Tempest" (NHK, 2011)
  • "Sit! Stay! Wait! Down!" & "Love Story" - theme song for "The reason I can't find love" (Fuji TV, 2011)
  • "Contrail" - theme song for "Soratobu Kouhou Shitsu" (TBS, 2013)
  • "Brighter Day" - theme song for "First Class 2" (Fuji TV, 2014)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Emiko Taira (1998). 約束―わが娘・安室奈美恵へ (Promise―To my daughter Namie Amuro). Japan: Fusosha. ISBN 978-4-594-02483-3. 

External links[edit]