She calls herself UA. It is pronounced “oo-ah” and means both “flower” and “kill” in Swahili, meanings that are antithetical. She was born in Osaka, the second-largest city in Japan.
UA was discovered, like a rough diamond, when she was singing regularly at a club in Osaka. In June 1996, she made her debut with a song called HORIZON on JVC/Speedstar Records and quickly attracted people’s attention because of her unique looks and noticeable voice. Jounetsu was a big hit and UA was recognized by a lot of people all over Japan. In the same year, she released her first album,”11″, which sold 900,000 copies. In her personal life, she got married and gave birth to her first child. After releasing another two albums, “Ametora”(1998) and “turbo”(1999), she took a little break from working as a solo artist and formed a band, AJICO, with Kenichi Asai(ex-Blankey Jet City), one of Japan’s famous rock’n roll artists; they released one album,” Fukamidori[Deep Green]”, which sold well, helping people to see a new musical side of UA.
In 2002, after releasing the single,”Senkou[Flash Light]”, which was the first composed by UA, she put out her 4th album,”Dorobou[thief]”, her first solo release in three years. In the same year, she began her career as an actress, starring in the film “Mizuno-Onna[Woman of Water]”, which later won the top prize at the Thessalonki International Film Festival. She also worked on music for the film, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003.
UA’s concerts are very memorable; they are not just a concert, but more like a huge work of art. The concerts are produced elaborately. A good example is the Sora no Koya[Shade in the Sky] Tour, which took place in 2002. UA had a keyboard, drums, bass, guitar and steel pan on her back, and created a sensitive but strong show. She came up with stage design and lineup, and put together a live performance of high artistic quality.
In April 2003, UA expanded her activities as a hostess named UUA(pronounce oo-oo-ah) on an educational TV program on NHK(public broadcasting) called “Do Re Mi No TV”, designed to pass along Japanese traditional songs to kids. This program has been used as educational material at some kindergartens. Her first BEST ALBUM「Illuminate〜the very best songs〜」and BEST DVD CLIP「Illuminate〜the very best clips〜」 was released in september and it’s making a long hit.
UA released her 5th album,”SUN”, in March 2004, followed by a domestic tour “UA TOUR 2004” to support the album. She traveled 15 places in japan and the brilliant live tour was recorded and released as a live album 「la」. Mastering for the album “la” was done by Ted Jensen who works with UA since “Dorobou”(2002). He has achieved Grammy Awards as a mastering engineer for Norah Jones’s multi-platinum album “Come Away With Me” in 2002.
She also released an album 『UTAUUA』 which compiled 20 Japanese traditional songs from the TV show”Do Re Mi No TV”.
2005 was 10th anniversary of UA’s debut. She released an album 「Breathe」 in March. In October, her another best album 「Nephew」 was released. It includes “Kono Sakamichi No Tochuu De”, the theme song for the movie 『KYUCHU-TEIEN』 which was directed by Toshiaki Toyota, originaly written by Mitsuyo Kakuta.
In 2006, she made an jazz album with Naruyoshi Kikuchi(jazz musician) and released 「cure jazz」.
She performed as “UA×Naruyoshi Kikuchi” at FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL ’06 and RISING SUN ROCK FESTIVAL 2006 in Ezo. She also went on touring in three biggest cities in Japan, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka with Naruyoshi Kikuchi.
In May 2007, she released new single “ougonn no midori/Love Scene”, three years since her last single. She made a new song “Moor” for the movie 『Akai Bunka-Jutaku no Hatsuko』.
She has released the album 「Golden Green」 in June 2007, and went on touring all around japan, three years since her last tour. In the same year, she played in the movie “DAI-NIPPONJIN” directed by Hitoshi Matsumoto, one of the most famous comedian in Japan, and it made a big sensation.
In 2008, she released single「2008」.
In 2009, she released [ATTA] in July 22. Also she performed at FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL and tour.
In 2010 April 7 「HALUTOLIVE」(Live recording album)released.
In June 15th Anniversary !
26th Live at Hibiya yagai ongakudou.
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