Ayumi Hamasaki
is a Japanese singer-songwriter, record producer, model, lyricist, and actress. Also called "Ayu" by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the "Empress of Pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

" because of her popularity and widespread influence in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 and throughout Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. Born and raised in Fukuoka
Fukuoka most often refers to the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture.It can also refer to:-Locations:* Fukuoka, Gifu, a town in Gifu Prefecture, Japan* Fukuoka, Toyama, a town in Toyama Prefecture, Japan...

, she moved to Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

 at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura
Max Matsuura
, better known as Max Matsuura, is a record producer and president of one of the largest music labels in Japan, Avex Group. He is known mainly for discovering and developing new artists and converting them into big stars. Ayumi Hamasaki is the most famous example of Matsuura's work...

, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for ××.

I don't have dreams. How can I say it? I myself am a dream.

I don't set goals. Like, that's what I want to be doing however many years from now. I do what I love to do at the moment.

My job is simply to be myself, to be Ayumi Hamasaki.

[...]Everyone has a secret. Right? Of course I have a secret. I think maybe you too?

I don't want to become adult!

If people will listen, I will go anywhere in the world!

Music is my life, if I am without music or if I can't sing any more, I die, I'm nothing...because music is everything.

[...] I don't know my future. I don't know about tomorrow. I can just control for today or present, right now. [...] I don't want to think about future too much, because present is most important for me.

Interview with TalkAsia, November 2007