Artist picture of Yumi Arai

Yumi Arai

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With a career spanning more than four decades and record sales exceeding 42 million units, the Japanese singer-songwriter Yumi Arai can righfully claim her place as one of the most important female artists to emerge from Japan since the 1970s. Her distinctive voice has been a feature of her recordings throughout her career and she has the distinction of having at least one number one album in the Oricon charts every year for 18 consecutive years.

During the early stages of her career she used her married name of Yumi Matsutoya before reverting to her birth name in the late 1990s. The singer's versatility plus an ability to mix genres and reinvent herself have been the key to her consistency. Equally at home with pop, rock, jazz, folk and J-pop she has a huge fan base in her native country which has helped her stay at the top of the charts during most of her career. Her golden era was the late '80s through to the '90s and during this period she had a succession of eight albums each of which sold over a million copies which meant she was rarely out of the charts during this time. One of them, 'Dawn Purple' released in 1991, sold over one million copies during the first week of its launch. Arai's contribution to modern Japanese pop music cannot be overstated and she remains a towering influence in the Japanese music business.