Namie Amuro debuted in 1992 from Okinawa Actor’s School in the euro beat group Super Monkeys with the song “Koi no Cute Beat/Mister U.S.A”.
In 1996, Namie moved to Avex Trax with the debut single, Body Feels EXIT, which sold over 3.3 million copies. She soon became a fashion leader in Japan, due to her success and image, with followers of her style being labelled as ‘Amura’s’ (a pun on her name).
In 1997, Namie released the single and ballad, “CAN YOU CELEBRATE?” and this went on to become Namie’s biggest selling single as well as the top single of 1997. During 1997, Namie announced that she was marrying label-mate SAM, a member of an Avex dance group TRF. She also announced she was pregnant and went on to have a baby boy, Haruto, in 1998. In December 1998, Namie Amuro released the single “I HAVE NEVER SEEN” which was then used as the TV drama Yonige-ya Honpo’s theme song and reached no. 1 in the charts. However tragedy struck on March 17th 1999 when her mother was brutally murdered by her step-uncle. This event dampened the effect of her second single after marriage and pregnancy, a ballad named “RESPECT the POWER OF LOVE” which was released on the same day of her mother’s murder.
Namie again took a break from the industry to recover from this tragedy and later left a message to her fans in 2000 saying that ‘she had only been discouraged from retirements by the kind words of her fans’. Amuro then returned with the singles, “Toi Et Moi” (Pokémon 2,000’s ending theme song) and “SOMETHING BOUT THE KISS”. “SOMETHING BOUT THE KISS” became Namie’s first real step towards an R&B oriented career with the song being the first of hers to be produced by American producer Dallas Austin.
Despite Amuro’s sales declining since 1997, she had a hit single with “NEVER END” in 2000, which sold over 640,000 copies. Namie released her 1st song, “Say the Word” in 2001, which featured direct input from her through the lyrics she wrote herself. A collaborative R&B project, Suite Chic, was the next project Amuro worked on, as a vocalist. Amuro’s second best-of collection, LOVE ENHANCED single collection, was released shortly after her special single, “I WILL”, written solely for the fans. In July 2001 it was revealed that Namie had divorced her son and lost the parental rights to her son but gained these rights back in late 2005.
There were only 2 activities from Namie Amuro during 2002, film Inochi’s theme song, “Wishing on the Same Star” and her debut Suite Chic release, “GOOD LIFE/Just Say So”. The “GOOD LIFE/Just Say So” single, unfortunately, did not chart anywhere near where she normally did during the last 8 years of her career, the song peaked at no. 35.
Namie Amuro has approximately sold 35 million copies in Japan and is the only artist to sign under the Avex Trax established sub-label Dimension Point. She is a very accomplished artist and has a wide range of songs for people to listen to and enjoy. So please continue to support Namie Amuro and her music!
Kirsty H. – June 2014