Japanese pop vocalist, born on October 2, 1978. Ayu, as she's known to her fans, writes all of her own lyrics, and recently has begun to also compose her own music under the name CREA. Her lyrics are very personal and introspective, reflecting the emotions that she was feeling as she wrote them. Quoted from her official website (linked below), she says that "If I write when I'm low, it will be a dark song, but I don't care. I want to be honest with myself at all times." She has a very high-pitched and sometimes nasal voice, but sings strongly and with obvious feeling behind the words.

Under the name of simply Ayumi, she released a single titled "Nothing from Nothing" in 1995, followed by a mini-album of the same name a short while later. However, it was not until April 4, 1998, that she debuted as Ayumi Hamasaki with her single "Poker Face." This was the first release of hers to really make an impact on the musical charts. Ayu's first full album was "A Song for XX," released soon after "Poker Face."

Ayumi is an extremely prolific artist. She releases albums and singles at rates of one per month at times. After her album "LOVEppears" came out in 2000, she released four separate remix albums of tracks from that album. It is not uncommon for her albums to spawn four or five maxi singles, each packed with remixes of the song in question.

Her official website, in English, is located at http://www.avexnet.or.jp/english/ayu/. However, it is useful only for the biographical information it provides, as its latest release section is sorely outdated.