Aug 9, 2005

Namie Amuro (安室奈美恵)

Namie Amuro is the undisputed idol of Japanese music. There have been worthy challengers like Ayumi Hamasaki and Utada Hikaru. But none have been able to come close to the style influence and iconic sex symbol, and selling power of my favourite 3/4 Japanese, 1/4 Italian, baby-faced diva!

Namie and school friends formed the pop group, Super Monkeys, at the tender age of 15 and achieved moderate success. She soon embarked on a solo career, exploding 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 other assorted make-ups, their clothes were made up of short skirts and knee-high boots, which was the symbol of Amuro and were called 'Amuras'.

Namie took time off in late 1997 to concentrate on family life. Giving birth to her only child, Haruto. Her sex appeal never wavered even after giving birth,but there were fears that we would see the last of Namie. However, fate was kind. In 1999, Namie started working with American producer Dallas Austin and 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 now 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.

Over her career, she has broken record after record in sales, concerts, awards. Some of my favourite Namie songs are 'Body Feels EXIT', 'How To Be A Girl', 'Dreaming I Was Dreaming' , 'Can You Celebrate'. My current favourite has to be the hynoptic, make you dance song, 'Come'. 'Come' is one of the ending song to the hit anime series 'Inuyasha', and showcases the true power of Namie's vocals laced over a catchy ambient techno beat.

Namie has worked with various producers, most notably Tetsuya Komuro and American producer Dallas Austin. She has also collaborated with JPop heavyweights like Ayumi Hamasaki, Koda Kumi, BoA as solo arist and also under the psuedonym, SUITE CHIC project.

Namie's star power is evident at the crazed sold out concerts everywhere she goes. Whether it is Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore or in Japan. She is Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey combined on the stage. Namie has always cited Janet Jackson as her idol, and the similarities show in their stage performance. As of this writing, Namie is reclaiming her throne with a successful album 'Queen of Hip-Pop' debuting at #2 and charting with her highest debut sales peak in 3 years. She has nine #1 singles, five of which have sold over 1,000,000 copies.

The pop icon image aside, Namie is absoutely an endearing example of the human condition. Following the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia, Namie participated as the only Japanese representative at MTV Asia Aid. She would secretly donate approxiamtely 90,000USD to UNICEF for children who were affected by the disaster.

She also scores babe bonus points for sporting the prettiest tattoos. 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." Namie also sports a silver belly button ring!

Babe Factor: 9.25/10

Wikipedia: Namie Amuro
Official Website: Namie Amuro

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