Ayaka Iida (飯田 絢香, Iida Ayaka), born December 18, 1987 in Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, is a Japanese female singer signed to Warner Music Japan.
Ayaka was first introduced to public singing in her early years and throughout high school where she would sing song covers at school concerts. Her first solo concert was held in her second year of high school; it was a small high school concert in where she sang only covers of famous musicians. After speaking with an audience member, Ayaka was referred to the voice music center in Fukuoka. Ayaka began practicing original song composition as well as learning about the various recording methods used in mass media recording.
Ayaka performed at various music venues and as the opening act to various other groups during much of 2005. Though she had not officially debuted yet, in December 2005, Ayaka was contracted to perform the ending theme "Mikazuki" for a television Japanese Drama known as @Human. Even though a music video had been produced, the actual single would not be released for almost a year.
Ayaka performed three songs, Mikazuki, I Believe, and a Japanese rendition of the popular German Christmas carol, Silent Night.
On November 10, 2005, Lyor Cohen, the North American Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group described her in public: "After Mariah Carey, Hikaru Utada, now it's the third encounter with an amazing talent over my life". After Ayaka's performance, he stood up clapping and praised "World class to be!".
In January 2006, Ayaka recorded "I Believe" as the ending theme for the Japanese Drama, Rondo. At the time of its premiere, Rondo was one of Japan's highest rated dramas and is credited with exposing "I Believe" to wide audiences. The full single was first released as a downloadable only single and would go on to become one of the fastest downloadable song to reach 1,000,000 sales as well as becoming the 3rd highest selling downloadable debut single for a female artist.
"I Believe" was officially released on February 2, 2006 and debuted as the 3rd highest single of the week. The single would go on to stay in the top ten for six more weeks as well as selling a total of 220,000 copies in its entire chart run. An English cover of the song was used by Miki Ando in 2006 Skate America which Ando would go on to win. Ayaka would later perform the song live during the exhibition at the 2007 World Figure Skating Championships.
Ayaka's second single "melody ~Sounds Real~" would go on to have only moderate success on the Oricon charts. The single was limited to 50,000 copies, of which only approximately 10,000 were sold in its first week. "Melody ~Sounds Real~" peaked at number 14 on the Oricon charts and then steadily declined in both sales and chart position. When compared to her earlier songs, melody was a much more rock oriented song, a factor that earned her praise from various Japanese critics for her versatility. To date this is Ayaka's lowest selling single, but it was gone on to stay a while in the charts, slowly gaining sales, and has gotten past the 20,000 mark.
"Real Voice" was Ayaka's third single and was used as the ending theme to the Japanese Drama, Suppli. A B-Side single from "Melody ~Sounds Real~" known as "Blue Days" was also used as an insert song for the same show. "Real Voice" was released on July 17, 2006, selling 15,387 copies within its first week and charting as the 11th highest selling single of the week. To date the single has sold over 50,000 copies.
Weeks before the scheduled release of Ayaka's first album, "First Message", the album was canceled. In its place, the single "Mikazuki" was released as a rerecorded version of the same song from 2005. "Mikazuki" has become Ayaka's highest charting single, selling 40,091 copies within its first week and taking the highest spot on the Oricon weekly charts. The single would then go on to sale over 200,000 copies, making it one of the highest selling singles of the third quarter of 2006.
On November 1, 2006, Ayaka's first album "First Message" was finally released after months of push backs. It sold 350,580 copies within its first week, making it the highest selling album of the week as well as the highest selling debut album for a female artist in 7 years. The album went on to sell 1,003,412 copies and stayed within the top two positions on the Oricon charts for four weeks straight before being listed as the 13th highest selling album of 2006.
On February 28, 2007, a new single was released. The song Winding Road was a collaboration with label mates Kobukuro and used to promote a new line of car. The single reached a peak position of #2 on the Oricon charts.
The 5th single from Ayaka was used as the ending theme to Last Love, a Japanese movie that was released one month prior to the single. Ayaka also performed Jewelry Day, among many other songs, at the Japanese leg of Live Earth in Tokyo on July 7, 2007.
Te o Tsunagō Promo
Ayaka's 6th single, 'Why", released on September 5th, was used for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, a PSP game by Square-Enix, as the theme song to the game.
At the end of 2007 Ayaka performed "Peace Loving People (special piano version)" in the annual music show Kōuhaku Uta Gassen.
On February 29, 2008, her first starring live event, Power Of Music was held. On March 5, 2008, Ayaka's first single of 2008, Te wo Tsunagō / Ai o Utaō was released. It was a double A-side single, first track used as a theme song for the movie, Nobita and the Green Giant Legend 2008, and the second track was used for Beauté de Kosé's "Esprique Precious" commercial. Her second single of the year, Okaeri, was released in May 2008. Okaeri is used for Zettai Kareshi drama theme song.
Her second album Sing to the Sky was released on June 25, 2008. It reached #2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts and has thus far sold over 500,000 copies.
Anata to, the second collaboration single with Kobukuro, was released on September 24, 2008. The single was released due to fan requests after hearing the song performed live in concert.
Ayaka sang 'Okaeri' at the 59th annual Kōuhaku Uta Gassen
Ayaka announced in April her marriage to famous actor Mizushima Hiro They registered their marriage on February 22. It was also learned that immediately after Ayaka's debut in 2006, she became ill with Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder. Ayaka tearfully reported that her symptoms have been increasing. As a result, Ayaka will continue with her music until the end of this year, after which she will put her career on hold. Mizushima promised to protect and support her.
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