AKB48 (read "A.K.B. Forty-eight", pronounced as eː keː biː ɸɔːti eɪto) is a Japanese idol girl group. As of July 2013, the group has 93 members. The girls range in age from early teens to mid-20s. Produced by Yasushi Akimoto,
It is one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world, with 2012 record sales of over US$226 million in Japan. It has achieved such popularity in Japan that it has been characterized as a social phenomenon.
As of January 2013, the group's eighteen latest singles topped the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart. In 2010, "Beginner" and "Heavy Rotation" placed, respectively, first and second in the list of Japan's best selling singles for that year. In 2011 and 2012 AKB48's singles occupied the top five spots of the Oricon Yearly Singles Chart.
The band has sold over 21.85 million CDs, and it holds the record for most singles sold in Japan by a female group with its 2013 single Sayonara Crawl, which sold for more than 1.93 million copies. AKB48 is named after Akihabara (Akiba for short), the area in Tokyo where the group's theater is located.
The idea of AKB48's producer Yasushi Akimoto was to create a girl group that, unlike a regular pop group, which gives occasional concerts and that is mostly seen on TV, would have its own theater and perform there on a daily basis; the fans would always be able to go and see the girls live. AKB48 still performs at the theater daily, with tickets distributed by lottery. Akimoto has also expanded the AKB48 concept to several sister groups throughout Asia.
James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948)
Is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Taylor achieved his breakthrough in 1970 with the No. 3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first No. 1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies.
Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined slightly until a resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums (including Hourglass, October Road and Covers) were released.
James Taylor was born at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on March 12, 1948, where his father, Isaac M. Taylor, was a resident physician. His father was from a well-off family of Southern Scottish ancestry. His mother, the former Gertrude Woodard, studied singing with Marie Sundelius at the New England Conservatory of Music and was an aspiring opera singer before the couple's marriage in 1946. James was the second of five children, the others being Alex (1947–1993), Kate (born 1949), Livingston (born 1950), and Hugh (born 1952).
In 1951, when James was 3, the family moved to what was then the countryside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when Isaac took a job as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. They built a house in the Morgan Creek area off of what is now Morgan Creek Road, which was sparsely populated.
James would later say, "Chapel Hill, the Piedmont, the outlying hills, were tranquil, rural, beautiful, but quiet. Thinking of the red soil, the seasons, the way things smelled down there, I feel as though my experience of coming of age there was more a matter of landscape and climate than people." James attended public primary school in Chapel Hill. Isaac's career prospered, but he was frequently away from home, either on military service at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland or as part of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica during 1955–1956. Isaac Taylor later rose to become Dean of the UNC School of Medicine from 1964 to 1971. The family spent summers on Martha's Vineyard beginning in 1953.
Ken Hirai is a Japanese R&B and pop singer.
Since his debut, Hirai has worked as a model, actor, composer, lyricist, singer, and spokesperson.
During his career, Hirai has released 32 singles and 11 albums up until October 2010.
According to Oricon, his single Hitomi Wo Tojite (Close Your Eyes) became the best-selling single of 2004 in Japan. While his compilation album Ken Hirai 10th Anniversary Complete Single Collection '95–'05 "Utabaka" became the best-selling album of 2006 in Japan.
Born on January 17, 1972 in Higashiosaka, Osaka prefecture, Ken Hirai grew up in Nabari, Mie Prefecture. Hirai began his music career back in 1993 when he signed with Sony Music following a competitive audition in Yokohama the previous year while he was a university student.
His debut single "Precious Junk" and album were recorded the following year in 1994 and released in 1995. The first single, used as the theme to a TV drama, immediately garnered Hirai attention and his second single, "Katahō Zutsu no Earphone" (片方ずつのイヤホン Katahō Zutsu no Iyahon?) was also used for a drama, further capitalizing on his unique sound. Hirai's debut album, Un-balanced, went on sale the same year and was followed by a second, Stare At, in December 1996
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986).
Known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, activist, businesswoman, fashion designer and actress.
Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She soon began performing in the rock music scene of Manhattan's Lower East Side.
By the end of 2007, record executive and producer Vincent Herbert signed her to his label Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Initially working as a songwriter at Interscope Records, her vocal abilities captured the attention of recording artist Akon, who also signed her to Kon Live Distribution, his own label under Interscope. In 2008, Lady Gaga came to prominence with her debut studio album, The Fame, which was a critical and commercial success. The record included the international number-one tracks "Just Dance" and "Poker Face".
In 2009, her extended play, The Fame Monster, was released to a similar reception, and produced the hit singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone", and "Alejandro". Its accompanying Monster Ball Tour became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Lady Gaga's second album, Born This Way (2011), topped albums charts in most major markets and generated chart-topping songs "Born This Way", "Judas", and "The Edge of Glory".
Her third album, Artpop, is planned for release in 2013. Influenced by David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Queen, Lady Gaga is recognized for her flamboyant, diverse and outré contributions to the music industry through her fashion, performances and music videos. As of October 2011, she had sold an estimated 23 million albums and 64 million singles worldwide and her singles are some of the best-selling worldwide.
Her achievements include five Grammy Awards and 13 MTV Video Music Awards. Lady Gaga has consecutively appeared on Billboard magazine's Artists of the Year (scoring the definitive title in 2010), ranked fourth in VH1's list of 100 Greatest Women in Music, is the fourth best selling digital singles artist in US according to RIAA, is regularly placed on lists composed by Forbes magazine, including The World's 100 Most Powerful Women from 2010 to 2013, and was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Besides her musical career, she involves herself with humanitarian causes and LGBT activism.
Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, also known simply as Beyoncé (/biˈjɒnseɪ/ bee-YON-say; born September 4, 1981)
Is an American singer, songwriter and actress. Born and raised in Houston, Texas and performing in singing and dancing competitions,
She began her music career aged sixteen as lead singer of R&B girl-group Destiny's Child. Managed by her father Mathew Knowles, the group became one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time.
Their hiatus saw the release of Knowles' debut album Dangerously in Love (2003), which established the singer as a viable solo artist worldwide, selling 11 million copies, earned five Grammy Awards and featured the Billboard number one singles "Crazy in Love" and "Baby Boy". Following the disbandment of Destiny's Child in 2005, she released her second solo album B'Day (2006), which contained hits "Irreplaceable" and "Beautiful Liar".
Knowles also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe nominated performance in Dreamgirls (2006), and starring roles in The Pink Panther (2006) and Obsessed (2009). Her marriage to rapper Jay-Z and portrayal of Etta James in Cadillac Records (2008) influenced her third album I Am... Sasha Fierce (2008), which saw the birth of her alter-ego Sasha Fierce and earned her a record-setting six Grammy Awards in 2010, including Song of the Year for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".
Knowles took a hiatus from music in 2010, took over management of her career and explored 1970s R&B, rock and roll, and African and funk styles. As a result, her fourth album, 4 (2011), deviated towards a more traditional R&B sound. A self-described "modern-day feminist", Knowles' songs are often characterized by themes of love, relationships and monogamy, as well as female sexuality and empowerment.
On stage, she has attracted comparisons to entertainers Tina Turner, Prince and Michael Jackson for her dynamic, highly-choreographed performances. Throughout a career spanning 15 years, she has won 17 Grammy Awards, and has sold over 118 million records as a solo artistand 60 million with Destiny's Child, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
The Recording Industry Association of America recognized Knowles as the Top Certified Artist of the 2000s. In 2009, Billboard named her the Top Radio Songs Artist of the Decade, the Top Female Artist of the 2000s and their Artist of the Millennium. In 2013, she was also included in Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world
Jang Na-ra (Korean: 장나라, born March 18, 1981) is a South Korean singer and actress. She also sings in Chinese.
As a child, Jang spent most of her childhood in her birthplace, Seoul, but appeared with her father in a play,
Les Misérables, in her primary school days, thus sparking her interest to become an actress. Jang also went on to become an advertisement model for some television advertisements in her high school days before entering into the Department of Theater, the Faculty of Fine Arts at Chungang University in March 2000.
Jang also has a successful acting career, in which she appears in a TV sitcom "New Nonstop" with famous South Korean young stars such as Park Kyung-lim and Yang Dong Geun. Together with Jang Hyuk, she also played the leading role in a TV drama, "Successful Story of a Bright Girl", which recorded high audience rating. In recent years, she starred in a drama in China, called "Bratty Princess".
Being the lead actress, she has attracted much affection from Chinese-speaking fans and has become quite popular in Chinese-speaking countries in Asia. She has also released a few Chinese-language CDs. Her first Chinese album was a huge success and it featured her previously released Korean songs translated into Chinese.
The Chinese versions of "Sweet Dream", "It's Probably Love" and "I'm A Woman Too" have become very popular on radio throughout Asia. She has performed many concerts in China, often singing both Korean and Chinese songs. Recently she released another Chinese album called "Kung Fu". The video for the song featured her in red qipao (Chinese women traditional dress), fighting villains, and dancing with a cute panda.
She is also in the 2008 Olympic song "Beijing Welcomes You", as the only non-Chinese ethnic singer. In the middle of this year Jang Nara decided to ended her 6 year of hiatus by taking a leading role as Lee Seo Young who is 34 year old mistaken for being 25 in a rom-com "Baby Faced Beauty". This on-going drama also a mark for her to start her come back status in K-Drama world. She is a relative of Bang Min-ah, from the Girl's Day girl group of Dream Tea Entertainment. Jang reunited her co-star Daniel Choi for School 2013
M2M was a pop music duo formed by two Norwegians, Marion Elise Raven and Marit Elisabeth Larsen.
They released three albums under Warner Music Norway: Shades of Purple, The Big Room, and The Day You Went Away: The Best of M2M, a greatest hits album released by their record label after they disbanded.
Raven and Larsen come from Lørenskog in the district east of Oslo. They had known each other since the age of five.
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins (born 5 May 1988), better known simply as Adele.
Is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and multi-instrumentalist. Adele was offered a recording contract from XL Recordings after a friend posted her demo.
Myspace in 2006. The next year she received the Brit Awards "Critics' Choice" award and won the BBC Sound of 2008.
Her debut album, 19, was released in 2008 to much commercial and critical success. It certified four times platinum in the UK, and double platinum in the US. Her career in the US was boosted by a Saturday Night Live appearance in late 2008. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Adele released her second album, 21, in early 2011. The album was well received critically and surpassed the success of her debut, earning the singer six Grammy Awards in 2012 including Album of the Year, equalling the record for most Grammy Awards won by a female artist in one night. The album has also led to her receiving numerous other awards, including two Brit Awards and three American Music Awards.
The album has been certified 16 times platinum in the UK; in the US the album has held the top position longer than any other album since 1985, and is certified Diamond. According to the IFPI, the album has sold over 26 million copies worldwide. The success of 21 earned Adele numerous mentions in the Guinness World Records. She is the first artist to sell more than 3 million copies of an album in a year in the UK.
With her two albums and the first two singles from 21, "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You", she became the first living artist to achieve the feat of having two top-five hits in both the UK Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since The Beatles in 1964.
With her third release from the album, "Set Fire to the Rain", which became her third number one single in the US, Adele became the first artist in history to lead the Billboard 200 concurrently with three Billboard Hot 100 number-ones. Adele is the first female in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have three singles in the top 10 at the same time as a lead artist, and the first female artist to have two albums in the top five of the Billboard 200 and two singles in the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.
21 is the longest running number one album by a female solo artist on the UK and US Albums Chart. In 2011 and 2012, Billboard named Adele Artist of the Year.In 2012, Adele was listed at number five on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music, and the American magazine Time named Adele one of the most influential people in the world. In 2013, she received an Academy Award as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for her song "Skyfall", written for Skyfall, the twenty-third James Bond film.
Big Bang or Bigbang (Korean: 빅뱅; stylized as BIGBANG).
Is a South Korean male group under the management of YG Entertainment. Formed in 2006, the group consists of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri.
Big Bang is known for their unique urban-originated music and fashion style. The members' involvement in composing and producing their own music, most notably leader G-Dragon, has earned the group respect and praise from music industry experts.
The group's turning point came with their hit song Lies, which stayed at number one on Korean charts for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks. Their follow up releases, Hot Issue and Stand Up, furthered their success, spawning hits such as Last Farewell and Haru Haru. From 2007 to 2008, Big Bang received many awards, including "Best Male Group", "Song of the Year", "Artist of the Year", and the Grand Award at the Seoul Music Awards.
From 2009 to 2010, Big Bang expanded their endeavors to Japan, and were voted "the Korean group that Japanese fans wish to see the most". They became the first foreign group awarded "Best Newcomer" from the Japan Cable Broadcasting Station and "Best New Artist" at MTV Japan.
Amidst their Japanese group promotions, the members branched out to do solo activities. Daesung, Taeyang, G-Dragon, and Seungri have released solo albums. G-Dragon and T.O.P also collaborated on an album under the sub-unit GD & TOP. Seungri and Daesung have acted in both TV dramas and musicals.
T.O.P became a highly acclaimed film star. Daesung also hosted many of Korea's most popular variety TV shows. After nearly a two-year hiatus in Korea, Big Bang reunited in 2011 with their successful album Tonight. However, promotions were cut short when multiple members encountered legal issues. In November 2011, representing the Asia-Pacific region, Big Bang emerged as the inaugural "Best Worldwide Act" winner at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards.
This was the first time in six months all five members were seen together. In 2012, Big Bang released their fifth Mini Album Alive in Korea and Japan before embarking on their first ever World Tour which concluded in early 2013.