Japan’s richest and arguably most popular singer, Ayumi Hamasaki has produced a phonomenal ammount of material throughout her time in the industry, including several forrays into Rap music, mainly through remixes from artists such as DJ Hasebe.
Hamasaki had a tough childhood and was essentially raised by her grandmother. Her father left the family while she was only three years old, meaning that her mother had to work long hours to support them after moving in with Hamasaki’s grandmother.
At 14, she moved to Tokyo and enjoyed some success as a model which also included appearences in movies and television series. Unfortunately, this opportunity didn’t last, as she was too short to be considered a top model. Hamasaki began attending a high school for performing arts, but unfortunately, she dropped out and ended up spending most of her time shopping in Shibuya.
She spent her time shopping and hanging out in clubs, where she met the man who would become her producer. Matsuura Max was impressed by her voice and signed her up to his label. He was, however, not 100% impressed with her voice, so sent her to New York to have singing lessons. Instead of attending the lessons, she went on shopping trips.
Despite this, Hamasaki’s debut album was released in 1999 and proved to be an immense success, landing her the Japan Gold Disc Award for the Best New Artist. After this monumental success, this trend has continued throughout her career and she is now one of the richest female artists in the world, despite being marketed mainly in Japan and only recently embarking upon her first two tours outside of Japan in East Asia.