MUNEHIRO

biography - 01.01.2014 01:15

After being part of the Japanese show business as an actress and pop singer, MUNEHIRO started her reggae/dancehall career in 2004.

Kanako Munehiro was born in 1977 in Osaka. From a young age she was interested in showbiz, especially in acting. Her dream came true in 1992 as she participated in a national beauty contest. She won a prize and with that she was able to debut in the showbiz world in 1995. Instead of using her own name, she used the pseudonym Sarina Suzuki.

From then on, she became a successful actress, appearing in various TV programs, movies, commercials and so on. She also worked as a gravure idol. Aside from her love for acting, she was also really interested in music. In her childhood she had played the saxophone and electric organ, and now she started to focus on singing. Some movie critics said that she was a fine actress, but also mentioned her somewhat "strange" and "husky" speaking voice. It turned out that this voice was perfect for singing and giving MUNEHIRO her own unique sound.

In 1997 she released her first single under the Toshiba Emi label. Unlike the music she is making now, it had a pop-rock sound. She released a total of seven singles and three albums, but her music career seemingly came to an end in 2000, and she went back her acting career.

In 2004 she reappeared in the music scene, though not many people seemed to notice that this young singer named Kanako on the independent label Nobrand was actually the same as the actress Suzuki Sarina. Unlike the kind of music she was previously making, she collaborated with the female hip-hop artist BRIER, taking her first step into the urban scene. After her appearance on one of BRIER's albums, she changed her name again as she released her first album in 2005. Using her last name, MUNEHIRO, she proclaimed her love for reggae and dancehall music with the album DRAMA -11 STORIES- which was almost entirely self-produced.

As it was an indies release, the album wasn't widely promoted and therefore didn't get noticed very much. Nonetheless, the album received rave reviews from critics and she managed to get quite a bit of recognition amongst fans of Japanese reggae. She got her breakthrough with the release of the album Up and Coming in 2006, receiving more and more recognition in the dancehall/reggae scene but also outside of the scene.

She went major with the release of her third album Limited in August 2007, signing with Far Eastern Tribe Records, a sub-label of Universal Music. The album even managed to reach the top 50 of the Oricon charts, something MUNEHIRO’s releases had not done before. At the end of 2007, she released the romantic single LUV and two more singles followed in 2008.

Her second album came out in March 2009. NEO ranked 26th in the Oricon charts, her best achievement in the charts so far. Later that year, two singles and a live CD and DVD came out.

In the year 2010, MUNEHIRO and her husband TELA-C from INFINITY16 had their first child, a baby boy. However, the urban diva did not let this stop her career as she continued to work on her new album, JAM, on whose cover she is visibly pregnant. Unfortunately, the album only had small success on the charts. In September, she released another album, this time a best-of simply titled MUNEHIRO BEST.

The year 2011 brought a plethora of new releases: the single REQUEST 4 U, another live DVD and her sixth full album: RAINBOW. Unfortunately it didn't fare so well on the charts as her previous albums did, just barely making the top 100 of the Oricon charts. In December, she released a seven-track album, titled Singin' with the Boyz, which featured male artists such as HAN-KUN from Shounannokaze, NATURAL WEAPON, American reggae artist Terry Linen and more.

The following year was relatively quiet for MUNEHIRO, but in 2013 she steadily started to release new CDs again and performed on events. Amongst the releases were the single ANKORA which featured KENTY GROSS and Don't Touch, which was solely released digitally on Recochoku but was also available for overseas fans on iTunes. For 2014, she announced the release of another new album entitled Re: 1st. On her website she states that the album will be a "new start", both musically and privately, which might refer to her divorce from TELA-C in December 2013.

MUNEHIRO is slowly gaining more recognition, not only in the reggae scene, but also the greater masses. We're looking forward to whatever this talented artist will release next, but we know we can surely expect some high-quality work from her again.
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