With her soulful take on classic pop, singer AI became a superstar in Japan in the 2000s.
• The Japanese American singer was born in Los Angeles and later moved to Kagoshima, Japan, to attend elementary and junior high school.
• After returning stateside, she majored in ballet at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
• In 1998, AI performed at a Mary J. Blige concert as part of a gospel school choir and also appeared as a dancer in Janet Jackson’s “Go Deep” music video.
• A year later, AI joined Asian girl group SX4 before landing a solo record deal with BMG Japan thanks to her performance of Monica’s “For You I Will” at a local radio station.
• In 2002, AI became the first woman signed to Def Jam Japan.
• AI’s biggest hit to date is 2005’s “Story,” which was downloaded more than 3 million times in Japan.
• In 2011, AI signed to EMI Music Japan and collaborated with The Jacksons for Toyko’s Michael Jackson Tribute Live concert series. The longtime MJ fan also teamed up with The Jacksons for a new song, “Letter In the Sky.”
HOMETOWNLos Angeles, CA
BORNNovember 2, 1981