Namie Amuro was born on September 20, 1977 in Naha City, Okinawa, Japan. Amuro’s mother is of Japanese and Italian descent, while her father is originally from Okinawa. Her parents divorced when she was very young and she lived with her mother. When she was twelve years old she went to visit a friend at the Okinawa Actors’ School. During the visit the president of the school saw her and believed in her talent. He chose to take an interest in her singing abilities and, at the age of fourteen, put her into a group known as the Super Monkeys with four other girls. In 1992 they debuted with their first single and Amuro was forced to move to Tokyo.
The Super Monkeys’ single did well, but they were not able to match their early success. In order to change their luck, they changed their name in 1993 to Super Monkeys 4. Their first single became very popular and they started to become regulars on a popular dance show, Pop Jam. Amuro, however, was not just working with the Super Monkeys 4, she was also acting in some television dramas. In 1995, Amuro became the lead singer in the group and her song, “Try Me” became extremely popular. The Super Monkeys moved over to the Avex brand and got a new name, Max, but they soon after they stopped recording.
Amuro, however, stayed with the Avex label and began working on a single album. In just one short year she managed to rack up three hot singles and suddenly became extremely popular. She became known as a fashion icon and girls were dressing like her on a daily basis. In 1996 she won the Grand Prix Award, which is considered to be the highest award a singer in Japan can earn, becoming the youngest singer to earn that award. A year later she announced that she had married Masaharu Maruyama, who was known better to the public as Sam, member of the group TRF, and that she was pregnant.
She took most of 1998 off to give birth to her child and then began singing once again. A year later, however, tragedy struck Amuro when her mother was killed in Okinawa. In 2000 she was once again popular, and she began producing and writing the lyrics to the songs herself. She took a break, however, until 2003, when she began touring and producing new music once again. In 2006 she became known to American audiences when she did the theme song for Sin City, and once again her career soared in Japan. She is still producing music and touring as well.