|Native name 倉木 麻衣|
Instruments Singing, piano
Grandparents Saneharu Yamasaki
Genres Pop, R&B
Parents Isomi Yamasaki
|Also known as Mai K|
Birth name Mai Aono (青野 真衣)
Name Mai Kuraki
|Born October 28, 1982 (age 33)
Funabashi, Chiba, Japan (1982-10-28) |
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, producer
Albums Delicious Way, All My Best, Wish You The Best, Perfect Crime, Future Kiss
Light Up My Life/Mai Kuraki [Music Box] (Game "Valkyria Chronicles 4" Theme Song)
Mai Kuraki (倉木 麻衣, Kuraki Mai), born October 28, 1982 as Mai Aono (青野 真衣, Aono Mai), is a Japanese pop and R&B singer-songwriter and producer from Funabashi, Chiba. Kuraki debuted in 1999 with the single, "Love, Day After Tomorrow". In 2000, she released her debut album, Delicious Way, which debuted at number-one and sold over 2,210,000 copies in its first week. Kuraki is one of a few female artists in Japan to have their first four studio albums to debut at top of the Oricon album chart.
- Light Up My LifeMai Kuraki Music Box Game Valkyria Chronicles 4 Theme Song
- Early life and musical career
- 2000 2001 Debut
- 2002 2008 Decline in sales
- 2009 2013 Revival in popularity
- 2014 2016 Celebration 15th anniversary of debut
In 2009, Kuraki saw a revival in her popularity. Her eighth studio album, Touch Me!, debuted atop the Oricon album charts; becoming her first number-one album in five years. Kuraki holds the record for being the only female artist to have all of her singles consecutively debut in the Top 10 since her debut, and is the 38th best-selling Japanese music artist of all time. To date, Kuraki has seven number-one albums (five originals and two compilations) and two number-one singles.
Early life and musical career
Upon hearing Whitney Houston's music and seeing the dance moves of Michael Jackson, Kuraki decided to become a singer. While in high school, Kuraki sent a demo tape to Giza Studio and they signed her to the label. However, before Kuraki made her debut in Japan, she made her American debut. Under Giza USA and Bip! Records, Kuraki released the single, "Baby I Like" under the stage name Mai K. The single even impressed executives from the major label East West Records, prompting the label to distribute it. But the song failed to chart on the Billboard charts and Giza sent her back to Japan.
Kuraki released her first single, "Love, Day After Tomorrow", on December 8, 1999. The single entered the Oricon single chart at number 18. In March 2000, after slowly rising on the chart "Love, Day After Tomorrow" peaked at number 2 on the chart. Her second single and third singles: "Stay by My Side" and "Secret of My Heart" proved to share the success of "Love, Day After Tomorrow". "Stay by My Side" was released on March 15, 2000 and debuted atop the Oricon chart, while "Secret of My Heart", released April 26, 2000 debuted at number 2. "Secret of My Heart" was certified million by the Recording Industry Association of Japan and won a Japan Gold Disc Award for "Song of the Year".
In June 2000, Kuraki released her fourth single, "Never Gonna Give You Up" and her debut album Delicious Way. The former debuted at number 2 while the latter debuted at number-one on the album chart selling over 2,210,000 copies in its first week. Delicious Way sold over three million copies and was certified 3x million and won "Rock album of the Year" at the 16th annual Japan Gold Disc Awards.
From September 2000 to June 2001, Kuraki released five singles: "Simply Wonderful", "Reach for the Sky" (both 2000), "Tsumetai Umi/Start in My Life", "Stand Up" and "Always" (all 2001). All of the singles had entered the Top 3. After the string of releases, Kuraki's second album, Perfect Crime (July 2001), which included all the singles except "Simply Wonderful". Perfect Crime topped the album chart and was another million-selling album for the artist. The album was certified million by the RIAJ and like her debut album it won "Rock album of the Year". A month after the release of Perfect Crime, Kuraki released her last single of 2001, "Can't Forget Your Love/Perfect Crime: Single Edit", which debuted at number 2 on the single chart.
2002-2008: Decline in sales
Kuraki started 2002 with her eleventh single, "Winter Bells", in January. "Winter Bells" debuted atop of the charts and was the tenth opening for the anime adaptation of the manga Detective Conan. Before releasing her third album, Fairy Tale (October 2002), Kuraki released two single: "Feel Fine!" (April) and "Like a Star in the Night" (September) both singles entered Top 2. Like its predecessors Fairy Tale debuted atop of the Oricon chart. The album won the "Rock & Pop album of the Year" award at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. Kuraki once again tried her hand in the U.S. market. She released her debut English-language album, Secret of My Heart, and like her single "Baby I Like" the album failed to chart.
Her fourth album, If I Believe, was released on July 9, 2003. Prior to the album's release, Kuraki released four singles: "Make My Day" (2002), "Time After Time: Hana Mau Machi de", "Kiss" and "Kaze no La La La"; all of which were Top 3 singles. If I Believe continued Kuraki's number-one album streak and was certified 2x platinum.
In 2004 on New Year's Day, Kuraki released her first greatest hits album, Wish You the Best. The album debuted atop the chart and was certified million and was her last album to achieve that status. After Wish You the Best, she released her fifth studio album, Fuse of Love in 2005. The album spawned four singles: "Ashita e Kakeru Hashi" (明日へ架ける橋) (2004), "Love, Needing", "Dancing" and "P.S My Sunshine" (all released in 2005). "Ashita e Kakeru Hashi" debuted in the Top 3; while the others debuted outside the Top 3, a first for Kuraki. Fuse of Love debuted at number 3 on the album chart ending Kuraki's number-one album streak. It was later certified gold by the RIAJ. In 2006, Kuraki released a new album, Diamond Wave. The album debuted at number 3 on the charts and was certified gold. The singles from the album, "Growing of My Heart" (2005), "Best of Hero" (ベスト オブ ヒーロー, Besuto Obu Hīrō) and "Diamond Wave" were Top 10 singles.
Kuraki ended the year with a new single, "Shiroi Yuki", which reached number 4 on the single chart. In 2007, Kuraki released her last single under Giza Studio, "Season of Love". The single charted at number 6. After releasing "Season of Love", Kuraki was transferred from Giza Studio to its then newly launched sister label, Northern Music, whose artist roster also include Yumi Shizukusa (ex-Giza and Zain), the now-defunct idol group Sparkling Point, and one of her producers, Michael Africk. Under Northern she released her twenty-seventh single, "Silent Love: Open My Heart/Be With U" before releasing her seventh album, One Life on New Year's Day 2008. "Silent Love: Open My Heart/Be With U" debuted at number 9 and One Life debuted at number 14, on their respective charts. One Life was certified gold by the RIAJ.
Kuraki released three singles in 2008: "Yume ga Saku Haru/You and Music and Dream", "Ichibyōgoto ni Love for You", "24 Xmas Time". The singles, like their predecessors, entered the Top 10.
2009-2013: Revival in popularity
Kuraki's eighth studio album, Touch Me!, was released on January 21, 2009, and contained the singles released in 2008. Selling a little over 50,200 copies, Touch Me! debuted atop of Oricon album chart. Touch Me became Kuraki's first number-one album in five years, with her last number-one occurring in 2004 with her greatest hits album, Wish You the Best. The album was later certified Gold by the RIAJ. On April 1, 2009, Kuraki released her thirty-first single, a double A-side "Puzzle/Revive". Both songs were used as tie-ins for Detective Conan. "Puzzle" was used as the ending theme for the thirteenth movie Detective Conan: The Raven Chaser, while "Revive" was used as the twenty-fifth opening theme song for the TV series. "Puzzle/Revive" debuted at number 3 on the Oricon single chart, making it her first single to enter the Top 3 since 2004's "Ashita e Kakeru Hashi".
Kuraki released her thirty-third single, "Beautiful", on June 10, 2009. "Beautiful" was used as the commercial song for cosmetic company Kose's Coseport Salon Style. "Beautiful" debuted at number 2 on the Oricon single chart making it Kuraki's thirty-second single to debut in the Top 10.
Kuraki started 2010 with a new single, "Eien Yori Nagaku/Drive Me Crazy", which was released on March 3, 2010. On August 31, she released her 34th single "Summer Time Gone". This single was out the same day of summer ending in Japan. Kuraki released her album titled Future Kiss on November 17, 2010. A new single "1000 Mankai no Kiss" was released on March 9, 2011.
On March 29, 2011, a soccer charity match, called "The Tohoku Earthquake recovery support charity match Ganbarou Nippon!", was held at Nagai Stadium, Osaka, and Kuraki sang the national anthem. Kuraki also revealed that she was working on making a charity song to help fundraising the Japanese victims of tsunami and earthquake in March 2011.
In August 31, 2011, Sanrio announced their collaboration with Northern Music for the creation of one of the characters of Wish me mell, Maimai. Maimai is officially based on Mai Kuraki herself in collaboration with Sanrio, which released the series's official image song "Stay the Same".
Another new single "Mou Ichido" was released on May 25, 2011, followed by "Your Best Friend" on October 19. "Strong Heart", her first single to be released in DVD, was unveiled on November 23, and its proceeds were donated to the victims of the March 2011 calamity.
Her 10th studio album, Over the Rainbow, was released on January 11, 2012.
In 2013 she released singles Try Again which was used as intro theme for anime Detective Conan. Between June and August she held live concerts in 12 places of Japan and later released DVD in 4 December. In July she released first complete symphonic live concert with title Mai Kuraki Symphonic Live -Opus 1-. Two months later, after big success she held another symphonic live concert Mai Kuraki Symphonic Live -Opus 2-
2014-2016: Celebration 15th anniversary of debut
'On 26 January 2014, she released digital single You Can available only in Japan. In 26 July she released DVD single Wake me up which charted #2 in Oricon first week. In 27 August she released 40th single Muteki na Heart which was used as outro theme for anime Detective Conan. Since September till November she held live concerts 15th Anniversary Mai Kuraki Live Project 2014 BEST Ichigo Ichie ~Muteki na Heart~ In November she released her 3rd best album Mai Kuraki Best 151A: Love & Hope which charted #2 rank for first week. Till the recent days she didn't release since then anything in physical copy.
In 20 May 2015, she released another digital single Serendipity which was used as commercial song for West Japan Railway Company. On 12 September she held another live symphonic concert Mai Kuraki Symphonic Live -Opus 3-.
Since January 2016, she participated in project to support and help education system in Cambodia In May new song titled Open Love appeared in commercial Speak Master. After one-half year on 30 July, Mai released new digital single Sawage Life which was used as outro theme for anime Detective Conan. In September she held live tour Mai Kuraki "Time After Time" Chine Live Tour in China.
In October 2016, she announced she'd embark on her first Japanese tour in last three years, Mai Kuraki Live Project 2017 -Sawage Live- from March, 2017 to April, 2017.
On 22 November 2016 was announced new release of single after 3 years, with title "Yesterday Love" which will be used as ending theme for anime Detective Conan with special 360° music video uploaded on her official YouTube channel.
On 15 February 2017, after five years was announced release of the 11th new studio album, "Smile".
In April 2017, Kuraki released the new single "Togetsukyo (Kimi Omou)", the ending theme for the Anime movie Detective Conan: Crimson Love Letter. The song instantly entered the major music charts in Japan, selling about 30,000 physical copies in its first week.
On 25 July 2017 she was awarded a Guinness World Record for most theme songs in a single anime series (Case Closed).