EXILE made their debut in 2001, although they had activities from 1999 to 2001 prior to their official debut. As one of Japan’s top groups, they have sold over 20 million copies in Japan alone.
Signed to Rhythm Zone, a sub-label of Avex Trax, and managed by LDH, the 19 member boy have risen to the top since their debut, and the originate from J Soul Brothers, the name they promoted as prior to 2001. After a member left J Soul Brothers, HIRO, MATSU, USA and MAKIDAI joined together with ATSUSHI and SHUN to continue on as EXILE. HIRO was also previously the leader of ZOO, and the disbandment of that group lead him to create J Soul Brothers and EXILE. He left the group in 2013, after being the leader for 11 years.
At debut, ATSUSHI and SHUN were named as the lead vocalists, and in 2003, the group remade Zoo’s ‘Choo Choo Train’, which went on to become the lead single from EXILE‘s 3rd album, and sold millions of copies. A year later, in 2004, EXILE scored their 1st number one single with ‘Real World’, and this was followed up in 2005 with their collaboration single with rock band Glay.
With a stream of number one singles, in 2006, SHUN left the group to pursue a solo career. He was replaced by Takahiro, and in 2008, the groups highest selling album, ‘Exile Love’, was released. In 2007, Hiro revived his original group, J Soul Brothers, and formed a second generations. However, in 2009, it was announced that the second generation of J Soul Brothers and EXILE would merge to form a 14 member group.
More recently, in April 2014, LDH announced that EXILE would once again be increasing their numbers to 19. EXILE wecomed Iwata Takanori (Also a member of J Soul Brothers’ 3rd generation), Sekiguchi Mandy and Shirahama Alan (Both also members of Generations), as well as two new LDH trainees, Sato Taiki and Yamamoto Sekai.
With such a long history in the Japanese music industry, EXILE have proved themselves to be one of the best and they clearly aim on continuing to be at the top of their game.
Sophie – September 2014