Utada Hikaru, who has gone by Hikaru Utada and the mononym Utada, is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter and producer. Born in the United States to Japanese parents, record producer Utada Teruzane and enka singer Keiko Fuji, Utada began to write music and lyrics at an early age and traveled to Tokyo, as a result of her father's job. A recording contract with Toshiba-EMI was signed and, under the stage name "Cubic U", Utada released her English-language début album Precious in early 1998, but was a commercial failure. In the following year influenced by R&B and dance-pop, her Japanese-language début First Love was released and became an instant success. Backed by the massive success of singles "Automatic", "Time Will Tell" and "Movin' On Without You", the album sold two million copies in its first week in Japan, topped the Oricon charts for six non-consecutive weeks and went on to sell six million more throughout the rest of 1999. First Love became the country's best-selling album of all time.
Her following album Distance was released in early 2001 and spawned Utada's biggest hit singles —"Addicted to You", "Wait & See" and "Can You Keep a Secret?"—, which became million-sellers. The album was commercially successful and broke several sales records after three million copies were sold in its first week of availability in Japan becoming the country's fastest-selling album. In 2002, backed by chart-topping singles such as "Traveling", "Hikari" and "Sakura Drops", Deep River, which incorporates elements of pop folk, was released and went on to become one of Japan's top-selling records of all-time. Subsequent full-length releases —Exodus, Ultra Blue and Heart Station— achieved million-selling status certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. After a prolonged hiatus, Utada released acoustic-driven Fantôme and Hatsukoi, which reached number-one album on the Oricon charts. By the end of the 2000s, Utada was deemed "the most influential artist of the decade" in the Japanese music landscape by The Japan Times.
Utada's commercial success has made her one of Japan's top-selling recording artists of all time with over fifty-two million records sold since launching her career in the late 1990s. Twelve of her singles have reached number-one on the Oricon Singles Chart, while ten of her albums have become chart-toppers. Six of her full-length releases are among the country's highest-selling albums of all time. Additionally, Utada is best known by international audiences for writing and producing four theme-song contributions to Square Enix and Disney's collaborative video game series Kingdom Hearts: "Simple and Clean", "Sanctuary", "Don't Think Twice" and "Face My Fears". Utada was born in New York City as the only child of Teruzane, a Japanese record producer, his wife Junko, an enka singer, performing under the stage name Keiko Fuji. At the age of 10, Utada began to write music and lyrics, she did her recordings with her mother, releasing songs under a band named "U3" until 1996 when she started her first solo project, "I'll be Stronger", The "Cookin' with Moses Vocal" from this project was called the "Cookin' with Gas Vocal" on the promotional release.
"I'll Be Stronger" was released under the artist name Cubic U, a mathematical reference to her being the third Utada "power", was Hikaru's pseudonym before becoming a superstar in Japan. In 1997, she started her next project. Cubic U released her debut single "Close to You", a cover of The Carpenters' song, she released her debut album Precious the following year. Both the album and single failed to chart on the Oricon charts. Utada moved to Tokyo in the summer of 1998 and attended Seisen International School, the American School in Japan, while continuing to record on a new contract with Toshiba-EMI, her movement came from Japanese FM radio. She opted for becoming a singer-songwriter instead of attempting to become an idol. Leading up to the release of her Japanese debut album First Love, aged 16, Utada released two successful million-selling singles: "Automatic/Time Will Tell" and "Movin' On Without You". "Automatic/Time Will Tell" sold over two million copies. Backed by her singles, her debut album First Love went on to sell over 7 million units in Japan alone, becoming the highest selling album in Japan's recent history.
The album yielded the single "First Love". By the end of the year, Utada was rank number 5 on a Japanese radio station Tokio Hot 100 Airplay's Top 100 Artists of the 20th Century by the station and its listeners. After a two-year break, Utada released her follow-up album Distance, garnering a first-week sales of 3 million units sold. Backed by her singles – "Addicted to You", "Wait & See", "For You" / "Time Limit" and "Can You Keep a Secret?" – Distance became the best-selling album of the year, with 4.469 million copies sold in Japan alone. Additionally, "Addicted to You" became Utada's best-selling single, selling one-million in its first week which became the highest first week sales for a female solo artist and staying on top of the chart for two consecutive weeks. "Wait & See: Risk" and "Can You Keep a Secret?" were ranked at #6 and #10 on Oricon's list of 10 Best-Selling Singles from January 1, 1999 to April 24, 2006. Utada went on to release a single, dedicated to the female victim of a murder case in Ikeda, titled "Final Distance".
In 2001, Utada recorded the song "B
Kwon Bo-ah, known professionally as BoA, is a South Korean singer, record producer and actress active in South Korea and Japan. Dubbed as the "Queen of K-pop", BoA has been recognized as one of the most successful and influential Korean entertainers throughout her career. Born and raised in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, she was discovered by SM Entertainment talent agents when she accompanied her older brother to a talent search in 1998 and was trained for two years. Since her debut in August 2000, BoA has released nineteen studio albums, including nine in Korean, nine in Japanese, one in English. Additionally, she appeared as a judge on the reality competition show K-pop Star from 2011 to 2013, before landing a main role in the television drama Listen to Love. BoA's multilingual skills have contributed to her commercial success throughout East Asia. With the release of her debut Japanese studio album, Listen to My Heart, BoA became the first Korean pop star to break through in Japan following the fall of barriers that had restricted the import and export of entertainment between the countries since the end of World War II.
She is the only foreign artist to have three albums sell more than one million copies in Japan and is one of only two artists to have six consecutive number-one studio albums on the Oricon charts since her debut, the other being Ayumi Hamasaki. At age eleven, BoA accompanied her older brother to an SM Entertainment talent search. Though her brother was the one who auditioned as a break-dancer, SM talent scouts instead took notice of BoA and offered her a contract on the same night as the auditions, her parents opposed the notion of BoA's leaving school to enter the entertainment business but consented at her older brothers' persuasion. She has said. BoA underwent two years of training, at the age of thirteen released her debut album ID; the album was moderately successful. Meanwhile, her Korean record label, SM Entertainment, made arrangements with Japanese label Avex Trax to launch her music career in Japan, she was forced to quit school to prepare and in early 2001, BoA released her first mini-album, Don't Start Now.
After its release, she took a hiatus from the Korean music industry to focus on the Japanese market at which time she worked to solidify her skills in Japanese. BoA began her Japanese music career singing at the Avex-owned club Velfarre, her debut Japanese album, Listen to My Heart, was released on March 13, 2002. The album was a breakthrough in BoA's career, becoming an RIAJ-certified million-seller and debuted atop the Oricon, the first album by a Korean artist to do so, it was promoted with several singles: the Top 20 hit "ID. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, BoA recorded the charity single "The Meaning of Peace" with Kumi Koda as part of Avex's Song Nation project to raise funds for charity. From 2001 to 2007, BoA hosted Beat it a radio program on the Japan FM Network. After the release of Listen to My Heart, BoA released her second Korean studio album, No. 1, a month later. The album sold around 544,000 units and became the fourth-best-selling record of the year in South Korea. Jumping into the World and the Japanese single "Don't Start Now" were released a month on the same day.
At the end of the year, BoA released her second Korean mini-album Miracle. BoA's second Japanese studio album, became her best-selling album, with over 1,249,000 copies sold. Three singles preceded its release: "Valenti," which peaked at the number-two position on the Oricon chart, "Kiseki / No.1" and "Jewel Song / Beside You: Boku o Yobu Koe", both which peaked at the number-three position. In support of the album, BoA launched her first Japanese concert tour; that year, she released two Korean albums, Atlantis Princess and the mini-album Shine We Are!. The former was the fifth-best-selling South Korean record of the year with around 345,000 units sold, her third Japanese studio album, Love & Honesty was a musical "change in direction": it contained a rock-dance song and "harder" R&B. Though the album failed to match Valenti in sales, it topped the Oricon chart for two weeks and became RIAJ-certified triple-platinum. In support of the album, BoA held a tour, Live Concert Tour 2004: Love & Honesty, spanning nine performances and attracted 105,000 attendants..
In contrast with 1st Live Tour, which "emphasized exotic Asian design", the Love & Honesty tour had an "outer-space, sci-fi" theme. Her first compilation album, Best of Soul, sold over a million copies, making BoA the first non-Japanese Asian singer to have two million-selling albums in Japan. BoA reinvented her image for her fourth and fifth Korean albums, My Name and Girls on Top, shedding the "cute" and "youthful" style that had characterized previous years and adopted a more "sexy" and "sultry" look. Both albums saw a foray into the Chinese market and contained songs sung in Mandarin Chinese; the sales of BoA's Korean albums began to decline: My Name sold 191,000
Morning Musume'19 simply Morning Musume and colloquially referred to as Momusu, are a Japanese female idol group, holding the second highest overall single sales on the Oricon charts as of February 2012, with the Oricon record of most top ten singles with an amount of 64, they have sold over 21 million copies in Japan alone. Morning Musume was formed in 1997 by rock singer-songwriter turned record producer Tsunku, who composed the vast majority of the group's songs over the decade, they are the lead group of Hello! Project that specialises in upbeat, pop-oriented music coupled with dance performance; the group produced several splinter groups, collaborates with other Hello! Project acts, including Country Musume, Berryz Kobo, Melon Kinenbi, v-u-den; the group's name can be translated as "Morning Girls" or "Morning Daughters". The average age of the group members has remained more or less unchanged since its original formation because the group maintains a "school-like" system for their continuous line-up changes, with older members "graduating" and new younger, members selected from nationwide auditions admitted to the group annually.
* All colour values are approximate. Japanese producer Tsunku started the group in 1997 through an audition for a female rock vocalist for his band Sharan Q; the audition was held on the Japanese TV show Asayan. The winner was Michiyo Heike to become a soloist under what would become known as Hello! Project. Tsunku decided to form a girl group consisting of five of the runners-up: Natsumi Abe, Yuko Nakazawa, Kaori Iida, Asuka Fukuda, Aya Ishiguro, they were issued a challenge to sell 50,000 copies of their demo single, "Ai no Tane", with just five days of promotion events. They managed the feat in four promotion days in a grassroots manner, Tsunku began his mission to create the most famous all-girl group in Japan. In early 1998, the girls were ready with their first official single, "Morning Coffee"; the success of this single brought them three new members known as the second generation: Kei Yasuda, Mari Yaguchi, Sayaka Ichii, bringing the total member count to eight. The second single, "Summer Night Town", was the first single of the new lineup—a mature pop tune about unsuccessfully attempting to hide one's true feelings.
Their third single, "Daite Hold on Me!", continued in the same vein musically as Summer Night Town, managed to hit number one on the charts. Leader Nakazawa started her solo career. "First Time" was released in July 1998, featuring the singles "Ai no Tane", "Morning Coffee" and "Summer Night Town". That year, Tsunku formed Tanpopo, the first subgroup of Morning Musume, with Kaori Iida, Aya Ishiguro, Mari Yaguchi. Tanpopo touted more mature songs; when "Morning Coffee" was released, Morning Musume's label Zetima went under a different name, One Up Music. However, in April 1998, one month before the release of "Summer Night Town", One Up Music ended its distribution deal with Warner, was rebranded as Zetima. Distribution rights would be given to Sony Music Japan's sub label Epic Records for "Summer Night Town", "First Time" and all of Zetima's subsequent releases; the group released its fourth single "Memory Seishun no Hikari" in early 1999, reaching number two on Oricon, second to Glay's "Winter, Again" which had 1st week sales of 955,780 copies, verse Memory Seishun no Hikari's 195,720).
The song features rap passages by L The Headtoucha and intense vocal harmonization by the group's members. This was Asuka Fukuda's last single with Morning Musume, making her the shortest-lived member at 2 years. Asuka claimed that she was leaving in order to focus on her studies, only to drop out of school soon after. "Manatsu no Kōsen" was a summer tune. It went to number three on the charts, the sales dropped by half from Memory Seishun no Hikari. Morning Musume's chart position was visibly lagging at the time: their sixth single, "Furusato", only sealed the fact. Natsumi Abe was the only one who sang the melody on "Furusato"; this was their fifth single, the sales once again decreased by half. Second Morning was released in July 1999, contained the singles "Daite Hold on Me!", "Memory Seishun no Hikari", "Manatsu no Kōsen", "Furusato". "Daite Hold on Me!" and "Manatsu no Kōsen" were remixed. Eager to add new life to the group, Tsunku held auditions for the third generation of Morning Musume.
Two girls were expected to be admitted, but only Maki Goto was added. Goto was the youngest member of Morning Musume at the time; the group's seventh single, "Love Machine", sold 1,760,000 copies. The song touted an image of Japan as the future "envy of the world" and cheered the masses during a period of economic recession, it was Aya Ishiguro's last. Its wild success increased the popularity of the group. Soon Goto was paired with Sayaka Ichii to form the subgroup Petitmoni. Petitmoni's first single, "Chokotto Love", rivaled the success of "Love Machine", selling over 1,123,610 copies. 2000 first saw the release of "Koi no Dance Site", which hit number two and sold over a million—400,000 copies away from reaching Love Machine's success. The single
Takanori Nishikawa is a Japanese musician, songwriter, record producer and voice artist. He performs under the stage name T. M. Revolution, which stands for "Takanori Makes Revolution", stemming from the famous'80s pop electronic band TM Network. Despite most of his songs being written by Akio Inoue and composed/arranged by Daisuke Asakura, T. M. Revolution is considered Nishikawa's solo project. Nishikawa is known for contributions of ending and opening themes to many notable anime and game series. Nishikawa debuted as TMR with the release of his first single "Dokusai" in May 1996; that year, his third single "Heart of Sword" was used as the third ending song for the anime series Rurouni Kenshin, further expanding his fan base. He contributed six songs to the Mobile Suit Gundam SEED franchise – three for Gundam SEED and three for Gundam SEED Destiny. Nishikawa has guest starred as a minor character in each of those anime series that featured his songs. In 2010, his single "Save the One, Save the All" was used as the ending theme song for the movie Bleach: Hell Verse.
Nishikawa has had a long-standing affair with Capcom's Sengoku Basara series of video games and media franchise, with several of his songs being used for it, including Crosswise and Flags. T. M. Revolution is the first artist to be signed to Tofu Records, a record label promoting Japanese artists in North America. Tofu released three of his most recent studio albums: coordinate, Seventh Heaven, vertical infinity. Nishikawa made his North American live debut at Otakon, a large anime convention in 2003, he has performed at Pacific Media Expo in 2004 and at the New York Comic Con in 2008. Nishikawa revisited his 2003 US performance at the Asian culture convention Otakon by performing at Otakon's 20th Anniversary on August 10, 2013. Nishikawa was born to a government worker and a dentist in Hikone and moved to Yasu, Shiga, he attended Mikami Elementary School as a child. Nishikawa was close to his grandfather, whom he visited every day after school, since his parents were always working. Under the encouragement of his grandfather, Takanori studied kendo until age ten, when his grandfather died due to illness.
Nishikawa attended Yasu Junior High School and Yasu High School. While in junior high, Takanori began to consider a career in music, he left Shiga to pursue his dream. Takanori was married to Yumi Yoshimura of Puffy AmiYumi from 1999 to 2002, they divorced. Nishikawa joined the visual kei rock band Luis-Mary in 1990 as the vocalist, his band nickname Haine and his appearance at the time would become the inspiration for Nishikawa's character in Gundam SEED Destiny. Luis-Mary released three singles; the band broke up in 1993. In 1995, Daisuke Asakura signed on with Nishikawa under the FunHouse label, they released one single, Black or White?, under the name Daisuke Asakura expd. Takanori Nishikawa; this song was rerecorded in 1997 and rearranged in 2000 as TMR's twelfth single. The original “Black or White?” Song appears as the third track on TMR's first album Makes Revolution. Nishikawa participated in a mini three-band event in November 1995, his fan club, was established shortly afterwards, in December 1995.
In early 1996, Nishikawa made several radio appearances announcing the debut of his solo project. On March 22, 1996, the project was given the name T. M. Revolution, with Asakura named as TMR's producer. Dokusai - monopolize - was released on May 1996 under the Antinos Records label, it reached #28 on the Oricon charts. Nishikawa's performance on NHK's music variety show Pop Jam helped boost sales selling out all first press copies of the single, his second single, Hesoshukujo -Venus- was released two months followed by the release of TMR's first album Makes Revolution another month later. Heart of Sword: Yoake Mae was released in November 1996 and was used as the third ending song for Rurouni Kenshin, it replaced "The Fourth Avenue Cafe" as the fourth ending song, due to drug charges laid against a now former member of that band. "Heart of Sword: Yoake Mae" became a fan favourite that sold 360,000 copies and reached #16 on the Oricon charts. Nishikawa's second album, restoration LEVEL➝3 was released in February 1997, which reached #5 on the Oricon charts.
Nishikawa released three singles, Level 4, High Pressure, White Breath, in 1997. High Pressure became TMR's breakthrough single. White Breath sold over one million copies and became the first TMR single to reach #1 on the Oricon charts. Nishikawa performed White Breath on the 48th edition of Kōhaku Uta Gassen, an annual music show televised by NHK. Less than a month his third album triple joker was released and went on to sell two million copies. Aoi Hekireki, the first track from triple joker, was recut as a single in February 1998 and it was used in a Yamaha JOG commercial. Nishikawa's three albums were released in other parts of Asia, he visited Taiwan in April 1998 to promote triple joker. Hot Limit, released in June 1998, sold 900,0
Namie Amuro is a former Japanese recording artist, songwriter, model and entrepreneur, active between 1992 and 2018. A leading figure of the Japanese entertainment industry since the early 90s, Amuro is known for breaking the youthful idol stereotype of J-Pop, her experimentation across music styles, for her visual imagery in music videos and live performances. Due to her career longevity, professionalism, efforts behind-the-scenes in the music industry, lifestyle, she is a pop culture icon in Japan and Asia, she has been referred to as "the diva of the Heisei era" and the "Queen of Japanese Pop", has been recognized as having the influence and career impact domestically as artists such as Janet Jackson and Madonna in Western music and pop culture. Born in Naha, Japan, Amuro debuted as the lead singer of the idol group Super Monkey's when she was 14 years old. Despite early sales disappointments, she ventured into modeling and acting, attracting domestic attention with the group's best-selling single "Try Me".
She signed to Avex Trax in 1995 and debuted as a solo artist with "Body Feels Exit". After two albums, Sweet 19 Blues and Concentration 20, selling over a million copies each, Amuro released her hit single "Can You Celebrate?", which remains the best-selling single by a solo female artist in Japanese music history. From 1999, Amuro partnered with international musicians and producers on her records, beginning with Genius 2000. In the early 2000s, Amuro's music evolved from pop to R&B, Amuro saw a decline in sales. Play, her eighth studio album, heralded a period of commercial resurgence, she continued to experiment musically, moving to electronic dance music and English language songs with follow-up records Uncontrolled and Feel. She subsequently released Genic and a compilation album, Finally. Amuro is noted within the Japanese entertainment industry, the wider Western music industry, for "producing" and managing her own career. Aside from music, she has appeared in various advertisement campaigns in Japan and founded her own management company, Stella88, her own record label, Dimension Point.
Having sold more than 36 million records in Japan, Amuro is recognized as one of the best-selling artists in Japan by Oricon,with her debut solo album, Sweet 19 Blues, being the eighth best-selling album of all time in Japan by a domestic artist. Amuro has been noted for her live performances at music award ceremonies and she is the recipient of World Music Awards, Japan Record Awards, Japan Gold Disc Awards, among many others. On September 16, 2018, Amuro retired from music and the entertainment business. Born on September 20, 1977, in Shuri, Okinawa, Amuro is one of four children of Emiko Taira. Through her mother, Amuro is a quarter Italian. Having divorced when Amuro was only 4 years old, Taira raised her children in Okinawa - she worked as a nursery school employee and a bar hostess to support her family. Although Amuro had no ambition to become a singer, she was discovered at age 12, while visiting a friend. One year Amuro was scouted by Masayuki Makino, the owner of Okinawa Actors School, she was enrolled there.
In 1991, Makino placed her in an idol group named Super Monkey's, with four other girls: Anna Makino, Hisako Arakaki, Minako Ameku and Nanako Takushi. The sixth member, Rino Nakasone, joined the group one year later. On September 16, 1992, Super Monkey's released their debut single, "Koi no Cute Beat/Mr USA". However, Anna Makino left the group at the end of that year. In 1993, the remaining members of Super Monkey's moved to Tokyo. Super Monkey's did not gain much success and the group went through constant lineup changes. In 1994, the group changed their name to Namie Amuro with Super Monkey's to reflect Amuro's rising popularity as an upcoming actress and fashion model. Aside from group's musical activities, Amuro had bit parts in Japanese television series and small films. Super Monkey's experienced a large amount of success with their single "Try Me", produced by Italian eurobeat producer Dave Rodgers, Japanese businessman Max Matsuura. Released on January 25, 1995, the song reached number eight on the Oricon Singles Chart, stayed in the top 200 chart for 25 weeks.
Despite the beginning success as a group, the other four members of the Super Monkey's formed their own sub-group, MAX, under the Japanese record label Avex Trax. As a result, Amuro released two more solo singles under Toshiba-EMI before moving to Avex Trax herself. After signing with Avex Trax in 1995, the corresponding record company Avex Group enlisted Japanese musician Tetsuya Komuro to work with Amuro on her then-upcoming album. Amuro made her solo debut with Avex, releasing the single "Body Feels Exit" on October 25, 1995, it became a huge success in Japan, peaking at number three on the Oricon Singles Chart and sold over 882,000 units in Japan. Amuro's second single with Komuro, "Chase the Chance", became her first number-one single on the Oricon Singles Chart and her first single to sell over 1 million units in Japan. For Amuro's success with those singles, she won the Golden Arrow Award in 1995. After a brief hiatus, Amuro released two more singles in 1996: "Don't Wanna Cry" and "You're My Sunshine".
Both singles were successful in Japan, bringing her second and third consecutive number one singles, both sold over one million units there. Amuro achieved huge success after the release of her first solo studio album, Sweet 19 Blues. Released on July 22, it reached number one on the Oricon Albums Chart in Japan, has sold over 3.6 million units. She released the album's final single
Every Little Thing (band)
Every Little Thing is a pop/soft rock duo from Japan who debuted in August 1996 with the release of their first single called "Feel My Heart". Their name is written in English, only in katakana, they gained massive popularity in early 2000s. As of 2013, Every Little Thing has sold over 23 million copies of singles and albums throughout Japan, their second studio album, Time to Destination, is the best-selling album of the band with over 3.5 million copies sold, became the 10th best-selling album of all time in Japan. Known as ELT by their fans, Every Little Thing was a trio but became a duo in 2000 with Kaori Mochida as the singer and Ichiro Ito as the guitarist. Mitsuru Igarashi left ELT following the release of Eternity. Ito began playing guitar in local bands around the US Yokota Air Base in Fussa, performing cover versions of songs by rock acts like Van Halen to local sailors, he intended to play drums. Mochida made her debut as a baby in an advertisement for diapers as her mom hoped she would enter the entertainment business.
In 1991, at the age of 13, she joined the eight-member girl group The Kuro Buta All-Stars. Though not successful, the experience convinced her to record a two track demo, featuring the two songs, "Mouichido" and a cover song from 1970s/1980s singer-songwriter Mariya Takeuchi, she sent the demo to Avex Trax, where Mitsuru Igarashi was a producer looking for a girl for a new duo with him as the keyboardist. Impressed by her strong yet sweet voice, Igarashi asked her to join as a duo, asked his guitarist friend Ichiro Ito working as a studio receptionist, to help on the first single "Feel My Heart", created by Igarashi. Ito, over ten years Mochida's senior, has said that when first meeting the young Mochida wearing gyaru style thick platform boots, he didn't know how to strike up conversation; the band released their debut single "Feel My Heart" on August 7, 1996. The single peaked at number 24 on the Oricon charts, their first studio album, called Everlasting was a big success, selling nearly two million copies in Japan, marking ELT as a popular group with a bright future.
The band reached number 1 at the Oricon charts for the first time with their fourth single, "For the Moment." Their second studio album, entitled Time to Destination, was released on April 15, 1998, it became one of the best-selling albums of that year, with over 3,5 million copies sold. The album ended up being the band's best-selling album, as well as the 10th best-selling album of all time in Japan; this album included their best-selling single, "Time Goes By", which reached nearly 1.15 million copies sold. Upon the release of the third studio album, released in March 2000, Mitsuru Igarashi decided to leave the band. Ito said that the decision was dropped on them without warning, right before a tour, it forced them to change their sound; the remaining duo decided to tour acoustically for the next two years in order to find their feet, but enjoyed more creative freedom over the songs. The single "Sure" was the last that Igarashi participated in and with the release of their 16th single, "Ai no Kakera" in October 2000, ELT transitioned their style from Igarashi's signature synthesized pop-rock sound to a more acoustic soft-rock sound.
Their single "Fragile" released on New Year's Day 2001 became ELT's second biggest hit vindicating their new direction, selling 829,580 copies. Their fourth album and first as a duo, 4 Force, was released on March 22, 2001; the album was their first not to top the Japanese Oricon charts, but still managed to sell more than a million copies and was awarded as "Album of the Year" at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. In 2003 the band released Many Pieces, which topped the Oricon charts; the album had five promotional singles prior to its release, including "Jump", the first attempt of Mochida in music composing, Untitled: 4 Ballads, their number one EP which got platinum status in Japan, "Grip!", used as an opening theme of anime television series InuYasha. In November 2004 the duo released their single "Koibumi/Good Night", a surprise for many, because it performed comparatively well on the charts, selling more than many of their previous singles. In 2005 they released only one single, the soft rock song "Kimi no Te", the acoustic compilation album Acoustic: Latte.
During Every Little Thing's 2004-2005 Commonplace Tour, Mochida suffered from bronchitis which further affected her singing style during the tour as well as on their 7th album, Crispy Park, released on August 9, 2006. Mochida’s singing style has changed on every album, going from a clear, soothing voice to a high and cuter voice. A 2006-2007 concert tour followed their tenth anniversary album release, their 31st single, "Swimmy", theme song for the drama series Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, was released in October 2006. For celebrating their tenth anniversary, Every Little Thing held a two-day special live at the Nippon Budokan on March 6 and 7, 2006, their 2008 album Door released on March 2008 peaked at number 2 on the Oricon charts. Mochida has said of the album, but now I convey thoughts. It's harder than before. In this period both members released solo material. Mochida released her first solo album, Moka on August 12, 2009
Aya Matsuura known to her fans as Ayaya, is a Japanese pop singer and actress from Himeji, Japan. Aya auditioned in 2000 for the fourth Morning Musume & Heike Michiyo Protegee Audition and was selected along with Sheki-Dol to become a part of what was known as Hello! Project, it is a common misconception that Aya auditioned to be a part of Morning Musume, which she did not. After being chosen from that audition, Matsuura began her solo career. In time, she would become one of Hello! Project's biggest acts. Aside from a successful solo career, Matsuura did numerous collaborations with other members of Hello! Project, including special short lived groups Gomattou with Maki Goto and Miki Fujimoto. DIVA with Maki Goto, Natsumi Abe, Rika Ishikawa, she did the "Folk Song" series which feature Yuko Nakazawa and other Hello! Project artists, as well as Hello! Project's shuffle groups, she formed the duo GAM with Miki Fujimoto in debuted September 2006. Their first single, "Thanks!" reached the #2 position on the Oricon.
Matsuura starred in the Japanese film Sukeban Deka: Codename = Asamiya Saki opposite Rika Ishikawa, released on September 30, 2006. On October 9, 2006 both concerts she was supposed to hold that day were cancelled, as she was not feeling well. Soon several unsourced rumours emerged considering the possibility she might be suffering from Temporomandibular joint disorder. Following the cancellation of the two concerts, Matsuura's management confirmed the rumours, reported the young idol had been taking painkillers to continue working and scheduled a press conference to discuss her condition. On the following day Matsuura made a public statement on PBS apologizing to her fans and expressing her desire to get back to her singing career as soon as possible. Since her press conference, Matsuura returned to her normal hosting duties on her weekly radio show, "Matsuura Aya no All Night Nippon" and returned to singing in a limited capacity, as demonstrated on her appearance on Hey! Hey! Hey! Music Champ on October 23, 2006.
On March 8, 2008, Matsuura—as a secret guest—performed at the opening ceremony of the Fourth Special Olympics Japan Winter National Games, a national event in preparation of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Boise, Idaho. She performed the song "Kizuna", released on May 21, 2008 as her 20th single, it was announced on October 19, 2008 that Matsuura would be graduating from Hello! Project along with the rest of Elder Club. Before her graduation, Matsuura released her fifth studio album, Omoi Afurete, on January 21, 2009, her 21st single, "Chocolate Damashii", was released on February 11 for Valentine's Day. Matsuura graduated from Hello! Project on March 31, 2009, but months on August 26, 2009, Matsuura launched her own blog called Ayablog and announced that her Omoi Afurete tour will be her last for two or three years. However, she has since released a Cover Album. In late August 2011, it was revealed that she is diagnosed with endometriosis, will continue to limit her concert activities in the future.
However, from 2009 to 2013, She has released Acoustic Concerts, known as "Aya Matsuura's Maniac Series". She was signed to UpFront Create, along with some of the members of the Hello Project! Elder Club. Matsuura has appeared in many commercials for various companies, she has taken part and co-hosts the television show Utawara with other names in Japanese entertainment such as Johnny Jimusho's Jun Matsumoto. Matsuura and Keita Tachibana registered their marriage on August 4, 2013, after 12 years of dating, they held their wedding ceremony in Hawaii on October 7. On December 21, 2014, the couple announced the birth of a baby girl. † A cover of Chisato Moritaka's 1993 original. The bridge in the title is one of twelve bridges that cross the Watarase River in the city of Ashikaga. †† Last release within Hello! Project, as she graduated soon after its release. 2001-04-25 – Bi Shojo Nikki Part 1 2001-06-27 – Bi Shojo Nikki Part 2 2001-09-05 – Bi Shojo Nikki Part 3 2001-12-12 – Bi Shojo Nikki Part 4 2002-08-07 – Concert Tour 2002 Haru "First Date" at Tokyo Kokusai Forum 2002-10-09 – Matsuura Aya Single M Clips 1 2003-02-19 – Yeah!
Meccha Raibu at Nakano Sun Plaza 2003-02-26 – Alo-Hello! 2003-03-12 – Ne~e? Solo photobooks2001-12-01 – Matsuura Aya 1st Photobook 2003-02-14 – Alo-Hello! 2004-01-15 – Ma'! Chura 2004-06-25 – Alo-Hello! 2 2005-03-19 – aConcert photobooks2002-06-04 – First-Date 2004-07-07 – ~Watashi to Watashi to Anata~ Other photobooks2003-04-11 – Ayaya to Mikitty 2003-09-30 – Matsuura Aya in Hello! Project 2003 Summer 2004-03-13 – Matsuura Aya in Hello! Project 2004 Winter 2004-09-28 – Matsuura Aya in Hello! Project 2004 Summer 2005-07-06 – Nochiura Natsumi Live Photobook "Triangle Energy" Ao no Honō Sukeban Deka: Codename = Asamiya Saki Matsuura Aya Let's do it!! – JOLF, etc. Matsuura Aya All Night Nippon – JOLF and other thirty-five radio stations in Japan Matsuura Aya FIVE STARS– InterFM 76.1 October 2007-September 2009 Pretz (2002–2006, Ez