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Namie Amuro (安室 奈美恵, Amuro Namie or あむろ.なみえ, September 20, 1977 - ) is a Japanese pop singer and Japanese idol originally from Naha, Okinawa, born to a Japanese father and a half Japanese/half Italian mother. Debuting in 1992 in a girl group named SUPER MONKEYS, she struggled to reach the top until the release of "TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinijite~" in early 1995 which catapulted her into superstardom. Leaving the group the same year and joining forces with top producer Tetsuya Komuro, Namie went 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, Okinawa, 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 came to be known as 'Namie Amuro with Super Monkeys'.
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 Ayumi Hamasaki, 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 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 wore assorted make-up. They also wore short skirts and knee-high boots, which was the symbol of Amuro, and were called Amuras.
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 ended the year with her last performance on the annual Kouhaku Uta Gassen special. On May 19, 1998, she gave birth to her only child, Haruto. On December 23 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; during the promotion of the single RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE, her mother (who was remarried) was brutally murdered by her mother's mentally unstable 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, Tetsuya Komuro ended their working relationship after the release of her 4th original studio album, "break the rules." She released "Say the word" on August 8 the same year, which she for the first time, wrote the lyrics for. At the end of that year, as part of avex's SongNation project, which was Tetsuya Komuro's nonprofit charity project to raise money for the victims of 9/11, she collaborated with the rapper VERBAL of m-flo for the song "lovin' it," which was released as the last of the three collaboration singles (the others being "A song is born" (Ayumi Hamasaki and KEIKO of globe) and "Meaning of Peace" (Kumi Koda and BoA)).
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 activities 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 29, 2003 to May 15, 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 and Taipei, Taiwan. She was the first major Japanese artist to hold a concert in South Korea after the normalization of cultural relations. Shortly following the tour, she released the ballad "ALL FOR YOU." The song peaked at #6, but sold double the amount of her last single. In late August, she went on a private fan club tour focusing on the songs from her latest album which were not performed on her current public tour. She also unveiled two new songs on the tour "GIRL TALK" and "the SPEED STAR" which would be released the next month as a double a-side single. When it was released the song charted at #1 on the Oricon daily chart for three days. It was the first time any of her singles had placed #1 in 5 years. The song ultimately placed #2 for the week and repeated the sales success of her previous single.
At the end of the year, Namie shocked fans by choosing to not appear on Kouhaku Uta Gassen. Her decision to decline the offer also suprised critics, who actually felt she had at least earned her right to perform at the event that year. She had previously attended the coveted event nine years in a row. Following the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, Namie participated as the only Japanese representative at MTV Asia Aid. She secretly donated approximately 90,000 USD to UNICEF for children who were affected by the disaster. In January, Namie surprised fans again when a new song popped up in a Suzuki Chevrolet commercial. The new song entitled "Queen of Hip-Pop" was assumed to be her next single until in April, she released the song "WANT ME, WANT ME." An overtly sexual song, it received harsh criticism from Western listeners of Japanese music. However, the song was a well received hit at home debuting at #2 and charting with her highest debut sales peak in 3 years.
In May, Namie had both professional and personal gains. Following a three year split from her former husband SAM, she took back full custody of their child, Haruto. They had previously agreed that SAM would be the child's sole guardian. At the end of the month, she performed at the MTV Japan Video Music Awards for the fourth consecutive year in a row and this year, clinched two awards. She took home the award for "Best R&B Video" as well as a special award for most impressive performance in Asia. Between these two events, she announced the release of her sixth original studio album entitled, "Queen of Hip-Pop".
In collaboration with MGM Studios, Namie has licensed for the use of the Pink Panther character to be used in conjunction with the album. A female panther counterpart has been created in her image for the album as well. There seems to be no connection with the usage of the Pink Panther and the possible Japanese release of the American remake. Upon release, the album charted at #2. The album has since become her best selling album in 5 years, eclipsing the sales of her three previous albums. In September, Namie kicked off her 7th national public tour entitled, "Space of Hip-Pop."
Shortly after the start of her tour, it was announced that she would contribute to the Japanese theaterical release of the American motion picture adaptation of "Sin City (film)." After viewing the movie, Namie made an offer to the Japanese distribution company to sing the theme song to the movie. The company felt that her image fit the movie and accepted her offer. When director Robert Rodriguez heard Namie's contribution to "Sin City" he asked to be a part of it, amazed at how well it fit the movie. He can be heard saying "Welcome to Sin City" at the start of it. The song entitled, "Violet Sauce" is about love and violence and will mark the first time that she has ever recorded a single for a foreign film. Currently, Namie is popping up in homes across the nation in animated ads for Lucido-L hair wax products. "Violet Sauce" will be released commercially sometime in the fall.
- Koi no CUTE BEAT / Mr. USA 恋のキュート・ビート / ミスターU.S.A (SUPER MONKEY'S) (16 September 1992)
- DANCING JUNK ダンシング・ジャンク (SUPER MONKEY'S 4) (26 May 1993)
- Aishite MASUKATTO 愛してマスカット (5 November 1993)
- PARADISE TRAIN パラダイス・トライン (Namie Amuro with SUPER MONKEY'S (20 July 1994)
- TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinjite~ TRY ME ～私を信じて～ (Namie Amuro with SUPER MONKEY'S) (25 January 1995)
- Taiyou no SEASON 太陽のSEASON (19 April 1995)
- Stop the music (24 July 1995)
- Body Feels EXIT (25 October 1995)
- Chase the Chance (4 December 1995)
- Don't wanna cry (13 March 1996)
- You're my sunshine (5 June 1996)
- SWEET 19 BLUES (21 August 1996)
- a walk in the park (27 November 1996)
- CAN YOU CELEBRATE? (19 February 1997)
- How to be a Girl (21 May 1997)
- Dreaming I was dreaming (27 November 1997)
- CAN YOU CELEBRATE? (Maxi Single) (25 December 1997)
- I HAVE NEVER SEEN (23 December 1998)
- RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE (17 March 1999)
- toi et moi (7 July 1999)
- SOMETHING 'BOUT THE KISS (1 September 1999)
- LOVE 2000 (1 January 2000)
- NEVER END (12 July 2000)
- PLEASE SMILE AGAIN (4 October 2000)
- think of me / no more tears (24 January 2001)
- Say the word (8 August 2001)
- I WILL (14 February 2002)
- Wishing On The Same Star (11 September)
- shine more (5 March 2003)
- Put 'Em Up (16 July 2003)
- SO CRAZY (16 October 2003)
- ALARM (17 March 2004)
- ALL FOR YOU (22 July 2004)
- GIRL TALK / the SPEED STAR (14 October 2004)
- WANT ME, WANT ME (6 April 2005)
- White Light / Violet Sauce (16 November 2005)
- DANCE TRACKS VOL.1 (16 October 1995)
- SWEET 19 BLUES (22 July 1996)
- Concentration 20 (24 July 1997)
- GENIUS 2000 (26 January 2000)
- break the rules (20 December 2000)
- STYLE (10 December 2003)
- Queen of Hip-Pop (13 July 2005)
- ORIGINAL TRACKS VOL.1 (30 September 1996)
- 181920 (28 January 1998)
- LOVE ENHANCED ♥ single collection (13 March 2002)
- 181920&films (31 March 2004)
- 181920 (28 January 2004)
- LOVE ENHANCED ♥ single collection (28 January 2004)
- NAMIE AMURO WORLD (14 November 1996)
- AMURO NAMIE FIRST ANNIVERSARY LIVE in MARINE STADIUM (4 December 1996)
- Namie Amuro Concentration 20 in Tokyo Dome (3 December 1997)
- 181920 films (1 July 1998)
- NAMIE AMURO TOUR "GENIUS 2000" (18 August 2000)
- filmography (7 March 2001)
- 181920 films + filmography (13 March 2002)
- namie amuro tour 2001 break the rules (19 November 2003)
- namie amuro SO CRAZY tour featuring BEST singles 2003-2004 (23 September 2004)
- namie amuro tour 2001 break the rules [Limited Reissue] (8 December 2004)
- AMURO NAMIE FIRST ANNIVERSARY LIVE in MARINE STADIUM [Limited Reissue] (24 March 2005)
- Namie Amuro Concentration 20 in Tokyo Dome [Limited Reissue] (24 March 2005)
- NAMIE AMURO TOUR "GENIUS 2000" [Limited Reissue] (24 March 2005)
- filmography 2001-2005 (07 December 2005)
- Sister Rabbits / Issun Momo Kintarou (1 June 1995)
- TK Family / YOU ARE THE ONE (1 January 1997)
- NAMIE AMURO & VERBAL (of m-flo) / lovin' it (27 December 2001)
- SUITE CHIC / GOOD LIFE feat. FIRSTKLAS / Just Say So (18 December 2002)
- SUITE CHIC / "Uh Uh,,,,,," feat. AI / baby be mine (5 February 2003)
- SUITE CHIC / WHEN POP HITS THE FAN (26 February 2003)
- SUITE CHIC / WHEN POP HITS THE LAB (26 March 2003)
- ZEEBRA / TOKYO'S FINEST (18 September 2003)
- ("AFTER PARTY" feat. Amuro Namie)
- JHETT aka YAKKO for AQAURIUS / JHETT (29 March 2005)
- ("Do or Die" feat. Amuro Namie)
- Various Artist / DJ GROOVE (1 September 1995)
- SUITE CHIC / WHEN POP HITS THE PIX (26 March 2003)
- ZEEBRA / THE LIVE ANIMAL '03 ~TOKYO'S FINEST~ (19 January 2005)
Concerts & Tours
- 31 August 1996 - 1 September 1996: SUMMER PRESENTS '96 AMURO NAMIE with SUPER MONKEY'S
- 23 March 1997 - 18 May 1997: Namie Amuro tour 1997 a walk in the park
- 26 July 1997 - 13 August 1997: mistio presents namie amuro SUMMER STAGE '97 Cocentration 20
- 20 March 2000 - 7 May 2000: NAMIE AMURO TOUR GENIUS 2000
- 18 March 2001 - 27 May 2001: namie amuro tour 2001 break the rules
- 17 October 2001 - 10 November 2001: namie amuro tour "AmR" '01
- 29 November 2003 - 15 May 2004: Namie Amuro SO CRAZY tour featuring BEST singles 2003-2004
- 27 August 2004 - 20 September 2004: namie amuro tour "fan space '04"
- 1 September 2005 - 24 December 2005: Namie Amuro "Space of Hip-Pop" Tour 2005
- 1994 Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
- 1996 That's Cunning! Shijo Saidai no Sakusen
- 2000 Yonigeya Honpo (lit. trans Flight By Night) (I HAVE NEVER SEEN used as the shows themesong.)
- She has four tattoos. Two are located near her wrist on her left arm and the other two are located on her upper right arm. The two on the right arm are dedicated to family members. One tattoo reads her son's name while the other is a tribute to her slain mother.
- She got her first tattoo during a trip to Jamaica in 1996. It is a barcode near her left wrist which reads her birthdate "19770920." A picture of the now famous tattoo would become the cover to her only photobook released that year.
- She is believed to be 3/4 Japanese and 1/4 Italian, she does not actually know her racial background for sure.
- Her single "CAN YOU CELEBRATE?" is double-platinum and became the 14th highest selling single in Japanese music history.
- Since 1995, she has reached sales of approximately 27,000,000 domestically in singles and albums.
- She is currently the fifteenth biggest selling artist in Japanese music history according to a special by Music Station aired on 2005.04.01.
- She was the first solo Japanese female artist to perform a concert at Chiba Marine Stadium.
- She was the first solo female artist to perform at Japan's four Domes.
- She has a pet dog named Betty.
- She divorced her husband SAM in July of 2002 giving full custody of their child to him, but regained full custody of their child in 2005.
- She idolizes American pop singer Janet Reno.
- She has nine #1 singles, five of which have sold over 1,000,000 copies.
- Namie sports a silver belly button ring. In an interview given to the Mainichi Shimbum, Namie related that she had pierced her belly button in response to a comment from her son that his mother was 'old'.
- She is the first artist to take home awards four years in a row at the MTV Japan Video Music Awards. She took home the "Inspiration Award Japan" in 2002, Best Collaboration in 2003, "Best R&B Video" for 2004, and 2005 as well as "Most Impressive Asian Artist" in 2005.
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