JUJU

Juju is a Japanese R&B artist with a jazz background and some genuine American experience (a pretty typical thing for Japanese R&B and hip-hop stars). She fell in love with jazz at 12, and by 18 she traded Kyoto for New York, were she soaked in various influences from the city's robust music scene. Juju began to perform as a featured artist in 2001, contributed music to the movie Kyouki no Sakura in 2002, and in 2004 debuted with the solo single "Hikaru no Naka E." Around that time, Juju was already performing live in Japan, but in spite of this, both of her 2004 singles tanked, which led to a recording hiatus. Her first chart position was scored by the single "Kiseki wo Nozomu Nara..." (2006), which stopped at a modest number 85, although it also topped the USEN chart for a record 22 weeks. Still, the next four singles and the EPs Open Your Heart (Sugao no Mama De) (2007) and My Life (2008) didn't sell, despite numerous tie-ins, which included the anime series Mononoke and the video game Valkyria Chronicles; the debut album Wonderful Life (2007) fared no better, but at least brought Juju her first Top 20 position, climbing to number 13. Her breakthrough came only after she was featured in the single "Kimi no Subete Ni" by the rap band Spontania in 2008. The record sold over three million downloads, ensuring that Juju's own single "Sunao ni Naretara," also featuring Spontania, rose to number 6 and shifted two and a half million downloads. Her second album, What's Love? (2009), scored number three and sold 254,000 copies, with an additional 143,000 shifted by the single "Ashita ga Kuru Nara" (2009), recorded with Jay'ed. In 2010 Juju scored number two on the Oricon with her third, self-titled album, which was preceded by two moderately selling singles. ~ Alexey Eremenko

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