Yoshioka Yui (吉岡唯; known/stylized as YUI (ユイ)) (born March 26, 1987 in Fukuoka, Japan), is a japanese singer-songwriter and actress. She sings and plays acoustic guitar, and writes her own songs, and apart from playing acoustic guitar, she also likes watching movies, reading books, and playing badminton. Her third single "LIFE" was the fifth ending theme for BLEACH, a popular Japanese anime series, which has brought her some international fame.
YUI began writing poems in ninth grade. At the age of 16, by recommendation of a friend, she began studying song, songwriting, and guitar at a private music school in her native Fukuoka. Aspiring to become professional, she carried her guitar around and sang at local places such as the seashore of Shingu and in the middle of the rice fields of Kaminofu.
In March 2003, at an audition hosted by Sony Music Japan, all judges evaluated her with the highest score, which caused a fierce scramble among labels. At this audition, she sang three songs - her first song "Why me", which was later coupled with her debut single, as well as "It's happy line" and "I know", which were included on her indie single - as opposed to the audition rule that a participant could only sing two songs. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, she strummed her guitar and sang. The judges and the others present claimed that "the performance created a tremendous aura from her heavenly voice, and captured the hearts of the whole audience".
Upon leaving her home of Fukuoka for Tokyo, YUI wrote the song "feel my soul". She was planning release on an indie label as a tribute to her hometown, when the song caught the ears of Fuji TV producer, Mr. Yamaguchi, who happened to see the demo video clip. He claimed YUI's voice haunted him so much that he went out of his way to visit the recording studio himself. He even made his channel's prime-time drama an extraordinary tie-in with YUI's debut track.
Although she is not the most comfortable when it comes to talking to people, she enjoys communicating with her audience at street performances in the Tenjin district of Fukuoka.
Her fifth single is "Good-bye days", which was also the theme for the film "Taiyou no Uta" ("Midnight Sun"). YUI took a role of a leading actress herself. The artist usually listed as singing "Good-bye days" is YUI for 雨音薫 (YUI for Kaoru Amane).
YUI's seventh single, "Rolling star", is the fifth opening theme of BLEACH. Selling almost 150,000 copies, it is YUI's second highest selling single to date (first being "Good-bye days" with over 200,000 copies.)
After taking a five-month long hiatus beginning in late August 2008, YUI celebrated her return by releasing the single "Again" which was chosen as the first theme song for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Instantaneously successful, the song had the highest opening week sales for a female act in 2009, selling over 110,000 copies.
Official site: www.YUI-net.com
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