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13 November 1982 (age 34)
倖田來未 (Koda Kumi)(Kumiko Kōda (倖田 來未子), born November 13, 1982 in Kyoto, Japan, is a famous female Japanese solo R&B and pop singer. She is the older sister of singer misono. She dreamed of becoming a singer ever since she was in elementary school. She auditioned alongside Goto Maki for the 3rd generation of Morning Musume when she was seventeen, but didn't make it. Coincidentally, Goto would join Avex Trax 3 years later. She was noticed by Avex Trax, however, and was signed and began releasing pop music with an urban feel.
Koda officially debuted with the single TAKE BACK in December 2000 and later in May 2001, her second single, Trust Your Love, charting at #59 and #18 respectively. After two more singles, COLOR OF SOUL and So Into You, she released her first studio album affection in 2002, which charted at #12.
Despite her charting failures, 倖田來未 remained positive and released her fifth single, love across the ocean debuting at #19. This was another disappointment for Koda and her following single, m・a・z・e, charted even poorer at #25. Finally, some success came her way when she was asked to do the main songs of Final Fantasy X-2 with real Emotion/1000の言葉 (1000 words), while also providing the voice for the character Lenne in the Japanese version of the game and providing the motion capture for Yuna's dance during the opening. This single proved to be a success, debuting at #3 and gaining her more recognition. Releasing her second studio album, grow into one, ensured 倖田來未 her first album to chart and continue the trend in the top ten, debuting at #9.
Koda went on to release three more singles, COME WITH ME, Gentle Words and Crazy 4 U which all took a place in the top twenties by charting at #14, #15 and #12 respectively, debuting much better than her early works. These were used for her next studio album, feel my mind which again showed Koda's determinated progress, charting at #7.
From here on, Koda's success would increase and her popularity rose with the release of her 11th single LOVE & HONEY debuting at #4. This single also marks the start of Koda's new style: ero-kakoii (or ero-Kawaii) which can be translated to "sexy-cool" or "sexy-cute". This new style was continued on to the following releases, Chase, 奇跡, hands & Hot Stuff debuting at #18, #7, #7 & #10 making 奇跡 mark the start of Koda's string of top ten hits. With a release of a DVD girls ~selfish~, Koda releases her fourth album secret in February 2005, charting at an impressive #3 with 505,600 copies being sold, making it the #22 album of 2005.
With this increased rise to fame, 倖田來未 held a special concert secret ~FIRST CLASS LIMITED LIVE~ (which went on to become one of the top 10 selling DVDs of Japan) and released her sixteenth single, Butterfly. Debuting at #2, it became her highest charting single at that point and was very well received by the Japanese public and gained Koda a number of awards. Following this success, she released flower and Promise/Star, both charting at #4 and alongside Butterfly, included in her first Best-of compilation, BEST～first things～. This is the album said to have skyrocketed her career, reaching #1 on the weekly charts and selling 1,207,793 copies, making it the #6 album of the year and the highest selling female album of 2005.
In December 2005, 倖田來未 began her ~12 Weeks of Christmas~ project in which she released one single each week for twelve consecutive weeks. The first single of the project, you, became Koda's first ever #1 single followed by Birthday Eve and D.D.D. feat. SOULHEAD charting at #6 and #5 respectively. The fourth and fifth singles Shake It Up and Lies debuted at #6 and #7 while you was still charting at #9, making Koda Kumi the first female artist to have three singles in the top ten of the Oricon Weekly Singles chart. These were followed by her second #1 single, feel, followed by Candy feat. Mr.Blistah, No Regret, 今すぐ欲しい, KAMEN feat.石井竜也, WIND, Someday/Boys&Girls, all charting in the top five of the weekly singles chart. This successful project was celebrated with Koda's second best-of compilation album BEST ～second session～ which sold over a million copies just after one week of release.
恋のつぼみ became her first single after the 12 singles project, released in May 2006 and debuted at #2 with sales of 140,000 copies sold. This made it the highest debut week sales for female artists in 2006 until Ayumi Hamasaki surpassed it with her single Blue Bird in June. This title was reclaimed by 倖田來未 after her release of 4 hot wave which debuted at #2.
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