Ayumi Hamasaki (born Ayumi Hamasaki ( Â born October 2, 1978)) is a Japanese singer-songwriter, record producer, model, lyricist, and actress. Also called “Ayu” by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the “Empress of Pop” because of her popularity and widespread influence in Japan and throughout Asia. Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for . The album debuted atop the Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan.
Hamasaki’s constantly changing image and tight control over her artistry has helped her popularity extend across Asia; music and fashion trends she has started have spread to countries such as China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. She has appeared in or lent her songs to many advertisements and television commercials. Though she originally supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, she later reconsidered and eventually opposed her status as an Avex “product”.
Since her 1998 debut with the single “Poker Face”, Â Hamasaki has sold over 50 million records in Japan, making her the best selling solo singer in Japanese history and ranking her among the best-selling singers in the country. As a female singer, Hamasaki holds several domestic records for her singles, such as the most number-one hits overall by a female artist, the most consecutive number-one hits by a solo artist, Ã‚Â the highest sales, and the most million-sellers. Ã‚Â Since 1999, Hamasaki has had at least one single each year top the charts.
In light of the September 11 attacks, Hamasaki updated the cover ofÂ I Am…(2002) to represent peace. (Note theÃ‚Â dove.)
Hamasaki is the first female singer to have eight studio albums since her debut to top the Oricon and the first artist to have a number-one album for 13 consecutive years since her debut
- 1995:Â Nothing from NothingÂ (mini-album)
- 1999:Â A Song for
- 1999:Â Loveppears
- 2000:Â Duty
- 2002:Â I Am…
- 2002:Â Rainbow
- 2003:Â Memorial AddressÂ (mini-album)
- 2004:Â My Story
- 2006:Â (Miss)understood
- 2006:Â Secret
- 2008:Â Guilty
- 2009:Â Next Level
- 2010:Â Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus
- 2010:Â Love Songs
- 2011:Â FiveÂ (mini album)