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Koda Kumi

Koda Kumi Date of Birth: November 13, 1982 (Kyoto)
Active From: 2000
Major Projects: Final Fantasy X-2
Official Web Site: Official Site at Rhythmzone


Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Resk. The act of copying it without advance written permission is regarded as a copyright infringement. It was last updated on September 1, 2006.

Koda Kumi, born on November 13, 1982, was destined to be a successful artist, though had a slow rise to fame. At an early age, her grandfather and mother helped her to develop a love for music, while dance lessons encouraged her dreams to become a performer. However, multiple failures at audition opportunities prevented her from getting anywhere close to her dream. It wasn't until she was 18 that she made her breakthrough. Avex Track, a record label in Japan, held an audition for "Avex Dream 2000" for which she successfully applied for. From there, she was signed by Rhythm Zone, a sublabel of Avex Track, through which she would release her debut single "Take Back" in late 2000. Poor sales of the single hurt Kumi's confidence in herself, but she pushed onward and released another single, "Trust Your Love." Both tracks were also released in the USA, but sales remained the same as they had in Japan, and Kumi Koda once again found herself doubting her potential stardom. Two further singles and a collaboration with Korean pop artist BoA led Kumi to release her debut album Affection in early 2002. Although the album flopped, Kumi refused to give up, and she continued to strive towards her dream. After two more singles in 2002 (both flops on the charts), Kumi was at an all time low, but little did she know that her salvation was beginning to appear on the horizon.

In 2003, newly merged Square Enix was producing Final Fantasy X-2, and approached Kumi regarding the game's two vocal tracks, "real Emotion" and "1000 Words." These two tracks saved her career, and even Kumi herself acknowledges that fact. The single, which contained both tracks, became a huge hit in Japan, outselling all of her previous released work combined. She was asked to record versions of the two tracks for the English translation of the game, but they were poorly received, and the tracks were scrapped in favor of recordings by Jade from Sweetbox. Even still, the success of the single had a profound effect on her personality as an artist. She became more aware of what was expected of her, and changed her appearance and her attitude to reflect that. She began work on her second studio album Grow Into One, which was a moderate success. Kumi was finally headed in the right direction to achieve her goal.

Over the next two years, two further albums Feel My Mind and Secret were big successes, with the latter bringing her the best sales she had received so far in her career. In late 2005, Kumi released her first compilation album called Best ~First Things~, which became another huge success and continues to sell extremely well all over the world, gaining the title of best-selling female album of 2005 in Japan. In December 2005, Kumi launched her most ambitious project to date: to release 12 singles over the course of three months, in the appropriately titled ~12 Single~ Collection. The first two singles "You" and "Birthday Eve" did extremely well in the charts. By the time the final single was released, Kumi had achieved several records, including the first female artist to have three top 10 hits on the charts in the same week. In addition to the records, Kumi also achieved several awards, including the 47th Nihon Record Taishou Grand Prize for her track "Butterfly," Best Pop Artist of the Year at Japan's 20th Gold Disc Awards, and Best Video of the Year, Best Female Video, and buzzAsia Japan at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan in 2006. Along with her second best of album Best ~Second Session~, things have only become better for Kumi. What's next for the superstar? Her 33rd single was released in October 2006 and her seventh studio album is currently in the works. Kumi has certainly come a long way in a very short time, but the pop star has achieved her goal, and there's no stopping her now!

List of Songs for Related Projects

Song Title Game Featured In
real Emotion Final Fantasy X-2 (Japanese Version)
1000 Words Final Fantasy X-2 (Japanese Version)

List of Covered Albums

Album Title Catalog No.
Final Fantasy X-2 Original Soundtrack AVCD-17254
Final Fantasy X-2: real Emotion / 1000 Words - Koda Kumi RZCD-45080
Koda Kumi - Come With Me RZCD-45095
Koda Kumi - Grow Into One RZCD-45078