Yumi Hana (ハナユミ)
January 30th, 1987
Singing, Piano, Programming
J-Pop, C-Pop, A-Pop, Alternative, Experimental, Celtic, New Age, Folk, Rock n' Roll
2007 - Present
Yumi Hana (ハナユミ) is a Japanese & English pop singer from Kyoto, Japan; and originally of Korean descent. She debuted in early 2007 with her first single C.O.L.O.R.S. and has since gone on to become the best-selling J-Pop singer of all time. She has recorded and released over 40 singles and 13 original albums; and recorded songs in Japanese, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Latin.
On March 1st, 2008, with the debut of HEART STATION on the World Chart, it was announced that Yumi had officially sold over 100 million records.
Birth & Growing UpEdit
Yumi was born to Yoko Hana and Kazu Hana on January 30th, 1987. Her family migrated to Japan in 1986 after Yoko discovered she was with child and Kazu, terrified that the Korean government would abort the pregnancy due to the population control crunch of the mid-80's, made immediate plans to bypass Yumi's life being taken. Once arriving in Japan, the family settled in a busy district of Kyoto, changed their names to mimic a more Japanese-rooted background, and soon gave birth to Yumi.
Unlike most musicians, Yumi did not participate in school music classes. While growing up, she lived a very normal life, and had no interests in pursuing music as a career. When Yumi turned 16, she began experimenting with various sounds on her computer at home. Those sounds would lead her to release music independently until she was finally signed to Eventual Records in 2007.
Independent Era Edit
Love & Honesty Edit
In early 2007, Yumi released her Gold-selling debut album, Love & Honesty. The album yielded the three singles, C.O.L.O.R.S., BE ~eternity with you~, and her breakout single ~(W)~. The album would go on to sell 515,370 copies worldwide before exiting the charts.
The album was heavily inspired by Yumi's past relationships. "I've had plenty of rough times in and out of love," the singer stated in a press release. "Love & Honesty showcases those emotions the best way I know how to express them."
Following the success of Love & Honesty, Yumi sought out a different direction for her first English album, and second original recording. Bloom, a Celtic and New Age-inspired album, became Yumi's first success as an English singer. The album would yield three singles: a cover of Tori Amos's Dragon, the World-drum infused Worldly, and Solace.
The album would peak at #470 in the World Chart and go on to sell 1.4 million copies before exiting the charts.
Yumi's return to J-Pop was sharp with her second J-Pop album, and third original recording. ULTRA was heavily directed by a change from the bubblegum-pop of Love & Honesty to a more adult-sounding structure. The album would yield only one single, the title track, but would go on to sell over 1.7 million copies before exiting the charts.
In the summer of 2007, Yumi released her third J-Pop album, and fourth original recording. Secret would become Yumi's best-selling album at the time, shipping over 2 million units during its stay on the World Chart. The album only gave way to two singles: the Hikaru Utada cover of Kiss & Cry, Yumi's first million-selling single; and home to you ~+.
Quickly following Secret, Yumi would release her last independent album before signing to Eventual Records. Passion became Yumi's most highly anticipated release of her early career. The album garnered critical praise from other musicians, and editor's gave the album a 92/100 rating (the highest of her career at that point).
Passion yielded three very successful singles: Timespace, Passion, and BREEZE; all of which would sell over 1 million copies each. Passion, coupled with it's three singles would go on to sell over 8 million copies worldwide; and peak at #53 on the World Chart, becoming Yumi's first Top 100 album.
Diva: A Classic Edit
In late Summer 2007, rumors began swirling that Yumi would release her second English album. After two weeks of circulation, the rumors were confirmed by Yumi's management in a press release. Yumi's private recording label confirmed the release of an English recording the following week.
Diva: A Classic was first rumored to be carrying the title of "Diva: The Classics", as announced by Yumi's management. Just weeks before the album was to be released, Eventual Records confirmed the official title to be "Diva: A Classic". The following week, Yumi announced the official release of Diva.
Yumi's fans voted for the first official single from the album via a public Poll. An overwhelming majority supported the release of Oceans as the first single. Oceans would peak at #60 on the World Chart.
A number of weeks later, following the release of Diva, fans were drawn in masses to record stores for Yumi's most successful single of her career to this point, Tu Quieres Volver. The single would be an international smash-hit and peak in the Top 30 on the World Chart.
Diva: A Classic Silenced Edit
While Yumi sailed on with the success of Diva: A Classic, her independent label pulled the plug on further promotion and single releases from the album. This greatly affected Yumi's respect for the recording label she founded, and the company went bankrupt shortly after Yumi filed suit to void her recording contract.
Shortly after her split from the private label, the sales figures for Diva were announced at almost 3.9 million in sales, not including the sales of her 15th and 16th singles.
Eventual Records & Talent Radar Era Edit
Pristine EditFollowing Yumi's split from her private label, the singer released an announcement that she was seeking a new label to distribute her albums. Eventual Records picked up the artist in late Summer 2007. Within a few weeks, Yumi released her first B-Side's collection, Pristine. The album yielded no singles, but would go on to sell over 2.9 million copies worldwide.
DELIGHTFUL EditFollowing the success of Pristine, and a short hiatus from the music scene, Yumi made her most memorable comeback to the J-Pop music scene with DELIGHTFUL. The album would yield three successful singles for the singer, and solidify her as one of the biggest acts in modern Japanese Pop music.
DELIGHTFUL peaked at #11 on the World Chart, and in the Top 10 in the UK, USA, Canada, Asia, and Europe. The album would go on to sell approximately 4,040,191 copies before exiting the charts.
Preceding the release of DELIGHTFUL, Yumi released three singles: DELIGHTFUL, SORRY, and COLOUR; the latter being a Techno remake of her first single, C.O.L.O.R.S.. All three singles would sell over 1.5 million copies each before exiting the charts.
With all figures combined, DELIGHTFUL would go on to sell over 9 million discs.
Love Pieces & Love Stars Edit
Following the massive success of DELIGHTFUL, Yumi felt the need to try things differently. With major success as a J-Pop singer supporting her next move, she ventured out into unknown territory as an artist. This would ultimately prove to be one of the most tumultuous periods of Yumi's career.Love Pieces came as a shock, not only to her fans, but to her recording label, Eventual Records. The album quickly received support from LINO and the entire staff at the label, but they had yet to hear the album before it was released.
A few singles were released from the album before it was sent to stores, but none caught on with listeners or at radio stations. According to statements from former employees, Yumi and Lino would argue constantly over the release dates and lack of communication between parties before decisions were finalized.
Love Pieces would turn out to be a flop, peaking at #24 on the World Chart. It would sell strongly though, closing sales at almost 4 million. Unfortunately, the album exited the charts before crossing the famed "4 Million Mark" in shipments.Not too long after the release of Love Pieces, Love Stars would be announced via press release. Once again, rumors circulated that Lino was extremely dissatisfied with the album, but would support the release whether it sold worse or better than Love Pieces.
While the new album was a change of pace for Yumi, it contained the same flaws that had plagued her previous effort. With no real effective direction to the music, Yumi's Love Stars would flop worse than critics had expected. The album would sell 3.5 million copies; but peak at #87, barely within the Top 100 on the World Chart.
Following Love Stars, it was announced that Yumi would take an indefinite break from the industry. While Lino and Eventual Records supported her decision fully, the label pushed for her comeback to be relentless. The pressure stressed Yumi, and she would announce her retirement one week later.
Retirement & "Headlines" EditYumi announced her retirement from the music industry after resting for only two weeks. It was also announced that she would release one final single, Headlines, which she collaborated on with GirlSpice and Herr Fische, shortly.
The single would prove to be a major success for Yumi, peaking at #31 on the World Chart, and going on to sell 1.7 million copies. The success of the single would provide the drive for Yumi to return from retirement several weeks later with her third English release.
Songs From The West Coast Edit
Following Yumi's first successful single in months, Headlines, the singer was inspired to reenter the studio and record her third English album, and tenth original recording. During this period of time, Yumi became re-infatuated with Elton John's Songs From The West Coast. Many tracks including Candle In The Wind and Dark Diamond were covered by Yumi for the release."When I went back into the studio to record Songs From The West Coast, I had been listening to Elton John often. That sound and vibe ruled the majority of the album," the singer stated. "It was what brought me back to my senses in music."
The album was titled Songs From The West Coast as a homage to the influence of Elton's music on Yumi's lifestyle. She's stated in numerous interviews since the release that his music has, "saved my life".
Mansfield was released on the same day as the album. The single propelled the album to #6 on the World Chart, becoming Yumi's first Top 10 album. Mansfield would also prove to be a successful release, peaking at #16 on the World Chart.
As sales for the album came to a slow, Yumi quickly released the third single, and quoted as the "most important single to be released" in her career, Original Sin. Original Sin would not match the success of Headlines or Mansfield, but peak within the Top 40 on the World Chart.
With the album and its singles selling over 9.3 million copies, Eventual Records' representatives released a statement that the singer had "bounced back", and that relations between Lino and Yumi had improved "to an enormous extent".
Vespers & Ethnicity Edit
Confusion arose over Yumi's next release, as many press releases were made announcing the album was a move towards an Experimental form of music; and that the record would be her fourth English album. Both would be dispelled weeks later.
After Yumi's successful comeback in the English Pop market, and against announcements she made during the weeks before, she felt ready to tackle a comeback to Japanese Pop. Her eleventh original recording would prove to be one more flop for the singer. Vespers & Ethnicity was considered to be another setback for the singer who was struggling to recoup her holdings with Japanese fans worldwide.
While the album would sell 6,000 more copies than her highly successful DELIGHTFUL, it was largely made up of several experimental songs and lyrics in many languages. The album did gain heavy ground for the singer in Arabic communities as it contained Bieinak (Never), her first Arabic recording.
The singles Calligraph and Love Whispers proved to be failures for the singer, peaking at #59 and #51 on the World Chart respectively. Lino considered the album to be a one-off for the singer, stating that "Yumi has grown so much since her last flops that it's difficult for us to view this as anything but a successful concept album. It's important to note that songs in the Experimental genre have never charted higher than Yumi's own releases. Either way, we at Eventual view it as an achievement."
Following the flop of Vespers & Ethnicity, Yumi went on her longest hiatus since the beginning of her career. While many fellow artists were aware of her day-to-day activities, many fans were left without any information on her next release. This would prove to be a major advantage of Yumi's during the work on TRANSPARENCY.
Yumi's first single from TRANSPARENCY was released to mediocre reviews. ∞ (infinity) would peak at #58 on the World Chart; and while largely considered a flop, it would pave the way for the four most successful singles of her career up to that point.Following her mediocre reviews of ∞ (infinity), Yumi continued her ascent into Lo-Fi drums and special effects. As her songs became more complex recordings and productions, several demos were leaked to the internet for responses. Fans were incredibly shocked at Yumi's abilities as a producer and composer, and her first Symphonic Metal song, DECISION would garner critical praise for its production qualities. DECISION would peak at #19 on the World Chart and at #5 in the USA and South America, becoming a major success overnight. The single would go on to become her highest selling single up to that point with 1,778,495 copies sold before exiting the charts.
On the heels of the peak of her career, Yumi followed up DECISION with another success: talkin' 2 yourself, another Symphonic Metal track about solitude. talkin' 2 yourself would peak at #31, failing to match the success of DECISION, but the chart peaks were heavily affected by the 5 week difference in releases from DECISION and talkin' 2 yourself. Eventual Records considered the single a massive success, and later stated that Yumi was "our second-best artist on the label".
After the success of talkin 2 yourself, Yumi would wait 6 weeks before releasing the third single, and third massively successful single from the upcoming album: what would become the title track, TRANSPARENCY. TRANSPARENCY would peak at #24, only five positions lower than DECISION, and go on to sell 1,719,991 copies before exiting the charts.Just a few weeks later, Yumi announced in a press release the track listing, and title of her upcoming album as TRANSPARENCY. On the official release evening, Yumi released the fifth single from TRANSPARENCY, HERO. HERO would become Yumi's most recognized song of her career, peaking at #3 on the World Chart, in the Top 5 in five of the major continents, and at #9 in Asia. HERO, without question, marked the debut of the Queen of J-Pop as a solidified Diva in music.
TRANSPARENCY itself would prove to be Yumi's most successful album up to that point in her career. The album peaked at #5 on the World Chart, #6 in Australia & New Zealand, #7 in Canada, #10 in the UK and USA, and #12 in Asia. The album would eventually go on to sell over 4.28 million copies before exiting the charts.
TRANSPARENCY and its singles would become Yumi's highest selling effort since the inception of her career. Together, the total sales figures were over 12.9 million discs.
Soon after the release of TRANSPARENCY, it was announced by Eventual Records that the label would be closing. This greatly upset Yumi, and she vowed to continue using the label's logo on every album regardless of it closing. Eventually, Lino and Yumi agreed to sign a new recording contract with Lino's new label Talent Radar Entertainment. The move would prove to be a big step for Yumi, as Talent Radar catered only to best-selling artists worldwide.
Following the news of fellow Japanese singer, Yumi Takahashi's move from Eventual Records to Alpha Omega Records, Yumi released a statement that she was, "seriously upset. This is a close friend of mine, and working with her now has become more difficult. If I knew she either did not qualify for Talent Radar's roster, was not invited to join, or refused to sign, I probably would have left the label, too."
On January 12th, 2008 a newspaper article appeared in which it was stated that an anonymous source close to Yumi had confirmed an upcoming single entitled LOVE NOTES. The single would later be confirmed by Yumi in a press release. LOVE NOTES featured prominent Japanese singer Hitomi Hayashi, and would become Yumi's best-selling single to date. The single would peak at #6 on the World Chart, #3 in The USA and Canada, #4 in Asia, and #8 in South America; it would also go on to sell over 1.78 million copies.
Hitomi Hayashi later stated after the single was released that her and Yumi could not have failed to reach the Top 10. This momentarily sparked controversy for Yumi when she stated on national television that her and Hitomi deserve to peak in the Top 10 because their fans owe it to them for the hard work. The effect of this was seen on Yumi's 38th single, fade Away / Pandora, which peaked at #38 on the World Chart and would sell 90,000 copies less than LOVE NOTES before exiting the charts.
After a sincere apology by Yumi via a press release, she announced her next single as passionate battle / Opaque (Interlude). The single made history as the first Double A-Side to include an interlude as a featured track. passionate battle was recorded with Death Awakening after Yumi was contacted by the band's management. The single would see much better success than fade Away / Pandora, peaking at #3 on the World Chart, #2 in the USA and South America, #4 in the UK and Asia, and at #9 in Canada. passionate battle would become Yumi's third Symphonic Metal track to peak within the Top 40 on the World Chart.On February 14th, 2008, Yumi performed in a surprise performance at the IMA's after party. There she performed the two songs which would become her next single release, 心臓 (Heart) / エタニティ (Eternity). After the performance, Yumi announced the release of 心臓 (Heart) / エタニティ (Eternity) as the next single, and declared that her 10th J-Pop album would be titled DISTANCE.
On February 16th, 2008, 心臓 (Heart) / エタニティ (Eternity) was released. The single peaked at #42 on the World Chart, proving to be a flop, but would continue to sell well, moving 1.6 million copies by its 11th week on the charts.
On February 23rd, 2008, DISTANCE, the 10th original J-Pop album and 13th original recording from Yumi, was released. The album would debut at #6 on the World Chart in its first week, but claim the #1 position in its second week, alongside the release of DISTANCE ~ 危険な愛 (Dangerous Love) ~. As of its 9th week on the charts, DISTANCE has yet to leave the Top 100 on the World Chart, and has gone on to sell almost 1.9 million copies.DISTANCE was considered by critics to be a brave departure for the singer. Yumi was perceived to have ventured into a more alternative J-Pop sound. Many critics noted that the album showed extreme signs of maturity, and that older fans would definitely flock to record stores to purchase the album- some more than the younger fans. With DISTANCE's high debuts and consistent holdings in the Top 40, Yumi would celebrate with close friends in Kyoto, Japan with a B-Side's Party. At the party, many B-Sides from her recording sessions with DISTANCE were heard.
DISTANCE ~ 危険な愛 (Dangerous Love) ~ would peak at #9 on the World Chart, and help propel the album to the top spot in its second week. The single itself also proved successful, and by its third week had shipped just under 700,000 copies.
Also on February 27th, 2008, Yumi expressed concern that Talent Radar was not as focused on her work as they were on other artists. Yumi noted that DISTANCE is her first #1 album of her career, and Talent Radar did not mention the achievement in any press release, but did mention new releases by other artists, and their charting positions. This caused an uproar among fans in Asia who accused Talent Radar of not supporting their Japanese artists by losing Yumi Takahashi to Alpha Omega Records and not providing the same press efforts as other artists on their roster receive.
HEART STATION, the sixth single from DISTANCE and 43rd overall, was released into stores on February 30th, 2008. In its first week on the charts, HEART STATION peaked at #19 on the World Chart and sold over 233,000 copies.
虹色 Drops (Rainbow-Colored Drops) was released on March 13th, 2008, and peaked at #31 on the World Chart, becoming Yumi's 6th Top 40 single from DISTANCE, and 8th overall. Along with the release of 虹色 Drops, it was announced that DISTANCE and all of its singles have combined sales of over 15 million.
Diva: A Requiem EditOn March 20th, 2008, it was announced that Yumi would release the follow up to her multi-platinum selling Diva: A Classic. The new album would include 8 new songs and 2 interludes. The second interlude, entitled Wind, was previously released on Yumi's 44th single, 虹色 Drops (Rainbow-Colored Drops).
On March 23rd, 2008, Serenade was released as the first single from Diva: A Requiem. The single would peak at #17 on the World Chart and go on to become Yumi's 8th Top 20 single, and 17th Top 40 single.
April 2nd, 2008 marked the announcement of Diva: A Requiem's release. The album would be available in CD, Digital Download, 5.1 Surround, Vinyl, and Audio Cassette starting April 3rd, 2008. Coinciding with the release, Yumi will release the second single from Diva: A Requiem on the same week. The second single was announced as Now We Are Free, a cover of the theme song from the movie Gladiator.
On April 2nd, 2008, Yumi also announced that she would support Diva: A Requiem with a 21 date world tour the week of the album's release. She is expected to perform 3 gigs in each of the seven major continents.
On April 7th, 2008, Yumi announced her departure from Talent Radar Entertainment. Along with the press release, it was announced that she was accepting offers from major labels within 2 weeks preceding the release of her next English-language single. Following the announcement, Yumi's management confirmed her signing with J-STAR Records, a label founded by fellow Japanese singer Hitomi Hayashi.
On April 18th, 2008, Yumi was dropped from TALENT RADAR ENTERTAINMENT and J-STAR Records by a mutual decision between her and both labels. Reasons for the removal of Yumi from the rosters were not given, and details have not been announced by the singer or either of the record labels. Little more than a week later, Yumi resigned with TALENT RADAR ENTERTAINMENT in a closed contract.
Yumi also announced the release of her 48th single, LOVE PARADOX, on April 8th, 2008. The return to Japanese Pop was a surprise to much of the music community, as all promotional efforts for Diva: A Requiem were halted, much like the original efforts on Diva: A Classic. As of the April 9th, 2008 World Chart, Yumi's LOVE PARADOX has become her 19th Top 40 single, debuting at #35 on the chart. Yumi stated in a press release that she was, "surprised that the single debuted so high considering the drastic differences between LOVE PARADOX and [her] former singles."Yumi subsequently announced the release of her 49th single, to be titled FUSION c/w 90s 00s 10s. On April 10th, 2008, the cover for the new single was released, along with a track listing for both the CD and CD+DVD versions. The projected release date has been projected for April 13th, 2008.
After a small stint in rehab after being found on the streets of New York City with a blood alcohol level of 3.8, Yumi was released without public awareness on April 22nd, 2008. The singer would tour during her first week out then subsequently announce her 16th album will be titled Diamond, and her 50th single will be called Devil Recognizes You. The single and album were later confirmed by the release of cover artwork for the album.
Rumors have been circulating largely about the material on Yumi's upcoming album. Critics have stated that the singer's turn to songs about sex and romance are a stark difference compared to her previous material. They furthermore stated that the singer would probably top the charts with her forthcoming release, but would fail to maintain the same audience that has driven her to the top of the charts.
- Main Article: Yumi Discography
- 9th IMA - Best Solo Artist
- 10th IMA - Best Album [Love Pieces]
- 10th IMA - Most Attractive Female
- 12th IMA - Best Solo Artist
- 12th IMA - Most Attractive Female
- 13th IMA - Best Solo Artist
- 13th IMA - Best Album [DISTANCE]
- 13th IMA - Most Hardworking
- 13th IMA - Best Artwork [DISTANCE]