Namie Amuro is a Japanese singer, dancer, and former child actor/singer, who, at the height of her popularity, was referred to as the "Teen Queen [of Japan]" and the "Queen of Japanese pop music". Born in Naha, Okinawa, Amuro debuted at the age of fourteen as an idol in the girl group Super Monkey's. Though mostly unsuccessful, the group gained popularity during their final year together with the single "Try Me: Watashi o Shinjite" (1995). Amuro left Toshiba-EMI after releasing two more solo singles; she continued her music career as a solo singer with the then-small independent label Avex Trax. Under the guidance of producer Tetsuya Komuro, Amuro quickly became a commercial success, producing several million-selling records and starting several fashion trends. Her single "Can You Celebrate?" (1997) became Japan's best selling single by a solo female artist. However, in late 1997, Amuro put her career on hold to focus on her pregnancy and engagement.
She returned to music in 1998 with the number-one single, "I Have Never Seen", but faced slowly declining sales. She unofficially severed ties with Tetsuya Komuro in 2001, shortly after taking on the project Suite Chic that would transform her from a pop idol to a R&B artist. Since reinventing herself, Amuro has achieved newfound interest. Her latest studio album, Play (2007) debuted at top of the charts and was followed by "60s 70s 80s" (2008), her first number-one single in ten years.
Over a decade since her musical debut, Amuro has remained one of the longest surviving popular female acts in Japan. She is the only Japanese female artist to have achieved a Top 10 single each year for fourteen consecutive years. She also continues to successfully combat social stigma as a divorced, working, single mother. On July 30, 2008, Amuro released her first greatest hits album, Best Fiction, since transitioning to R&B music. It spent six consecutive weeks at the number-one position on the Japan's Oricon weekly charts, and was elected as "the best album of the year" at the 50th Japan Record Awards. Later this year, she is touring Japan in support of the album. Estimates predict that she could play to an audience as high as 400,000, potentially the largest audience of her career.
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