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Amuro Namie Amuro Namie (安室奈美恵) is a Japanese "Hip-Pop" (Hip-Hop / Pop) artist from Okinawa. She debuted in a eurobeat group called the S...
Amuro Namie

Amuro Namie (安室奈美恵) is a Japanese "Hip-Pop" (Hip-Hop / Pop) artist from Okinawa. She debuted in a eurobeat group called the SUPER MONKEYS comprised of her and her classmates from the Okinawa Actors' School in 1992 with the single Koi no Cute Beat / Mister U.S.A.. Amuro became the leader of the group, and found success after their cover of TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinjite~, which peaked at #8. In 1996 Amuro switched to avex and debuted with the single Body Feels EXIT, with her first avex album selling over 3.3 million copies. Her biggest single, the ballad CAN YOU CELEBRATE?, was the top single of 1997. After marriage and personal tragedy, Amuro continued to adopt a more R&B/hip-hop based style of music. She has sold over 27,322,155 copies in Japan alone.

Profile

~ Family: Parents divorced, mother deceased, 2 sisters and 1 brother
~ Measurements: B75 W58 H84
~ Ethnicity: 75% Japanese, 25% Italian
~ Tattoos: Two on her left arm, two on her right wrist

Information

Early Life - SUPER MONKEYS

Amuro Namie comes from the island of Okinawa, below Japan. Her mother is half-Italian and she has three siblings. When Amuro was four her mother divorced her husband and brought up three children as a solo mother. Amuro was influenced by Janet Jackson when she was young and wanted to dance and sing. To fufill this dream Amuro tried to enter the prestigeous Okinawa Actors' School. However, she did not have enough money at the time to enter the school, so she made a request to the principal of the school, Makino Masayuki, who granted her a scholarship to attend. Amuro faced a commute time of one and a half hours to get to school.

Amuro was made a part of an idol group alongside several of her classmates from the school and formed the group the SUPER MONKEYS. The group debuted in February 1992 under Toshiba EMI with the single Koi no Cute Beat / Mister U.S.A.. One member, Makino Anna, was even the principal's daughter. After Makino left, Amuro became the leader of the group; slowly growing in prominence. This is most illustrated by the group changing their name to Amuro Namie with SUPER MONKEYS. The group did not see real success until their cover of TRY ME ~Watashi wo Shinjite~, which peaked at #8. By the release of Taiyou no SEASON, the other members' roles were so small that Amuro was soley credited with the song and the other members acted as back-up singers for her.

Avex - Marriage

In 1995 Amuro and her bandmates switched labels from Toshiba EMI to Avex after meeting with Komuro Tetsuya and Max Matsuura. However, the SUPER MONKEYS were dissolved in favour of two acts: Amuro now has a solo project and the other members form a new group called MAX. Amuro debuted with the single Body Feels EXIT, followed two months later with her first #1 single, Chase the Chance.

Her further singles Don't wanna cry and You're my sunshine (both #1 singles) solidified her success, cumulating in her debut album under Avex, SWEET 19 BLUES, not only reaching #1 but going on to sell over 3.3 million copies. Due to Amuro's success and image, she soon became a fashion leader in Japan. Followers of her style were labelled as 'Amura' (a pun on her name). The stereotypical 'Amura' had long hair dyed brown, wore short mini-skirts, had thin eyebrows and wore "atsuzoko" thick-soled boots.

Amuro found the greatest success in her career in 1997 with the single CAN YOU CELEBRATE?. This ballad single was used as the drama Virgin Road's theme song, and became the #1 single of 1997 due to its massive popularity. Amuro's success during this pine period also resulted in a massive increase in interest for Okinawan artists.

On 1997.10.22, Amuro shocked fans and members of the press with the announcement that she had married label-mate SAM, a member of the Avex dance group TRF. Furthermore, she announced that she was three months pregnant and went on a one year hiatus to concentrate on her son. In the meantime two Amuro products were released: a re-issue of her CAN YOU CELEBRATE? single featuring a 'wedding' arrangement (which reached #1 again) and also her first best-of collection 181920. On 1998.05.19 her son, Haruto (温大), was born.

Return to Industry - Tragedy

Amuro returned to the music scene in December 1998 with the single I HAVE NEVER SEEN, used as the drama Yonige-ya Honpo's theme song, which reached #1 on the charts. Three months later, Amuro released a second single, a ballad RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE, on 1999.03.17. However, tragedy struck when on the day of the single's release her mother Taira Emiko (平良恵美子) was brutally murdered by Amuro's step-uncle Taira Kenji. According to press statements, Emiko was walking with her husband (second marriage - not Amuro'a father) when Taira Kenji repeatedly ran over the couple and also assaulted them with an axe. While Amuro's step-father survived the ordeal, Taira Kenji later committed suicide after the event.

After taking another break from the industry (Amuro later left a message to her fans in January 2000 stating that she had been seriously thinking of retiring, however was convinced not to by the kind words from her fans), Amuro returned with the singles toi et moi (Pokémon: The Movie 2000's ending theme song) and SOMETHING 'BOUT THE KISS. SOMETHING 'BOUT THE KISS was Amuro's first real step towards an R&B oriented career: the song was the first of hers to be produced by US producer Dallas Austin.

Amuro's sales had declined significantly since her peak in 1997, however she had a hit single in 2000 with NEVER END, which sold over 640,000 copies. In 2001, Amuro released her first song that featured direct input from herself: her song say the word was the first song to feature lyrics by Amuro herself.

SUITE CHIC - Onwards

In late 2001 Amuro started working as part of a collaborative R&B project called SUITE CHIC in which she was the vocalist. After releasing a special single written for her fans, I WILL, Amuro's second best-of collection LOVE ENHANCED♥ single collection was released.

On July 10, news came that Amuro had divorced her husband who had received parental rights over their son. However, later in 2005 Amuro received these rights back from him.

2002 saw two more activities from Amuro: the release of Wishing On The Same Star (film Inochi's theme song and written by hit-producer Diane Warren) and her debut SUITE CHIC release, GOOD LIFE / Just Say So. This single did not chart anywhere near where Amuro had charted for the last eight years (only peaking at #35)
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