MINMI

biography - 12.21.2007 07:00

MINMI is an artist who combines reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, soca and R&B, among other styles. Possessing a smooth and powerful voice, she can captivate those who listen to her music.

Michiko Evwana, more commonly known as MINMI, started her musical career around 1996 by performing at Rub-A-Dub showcases and hip-hop events at clubs in Osaka. Around this time, she also started to create her own original tracks. Soon after, MINMI's name was well-known in the club market, especially through her live performances in club events. She also participated in the work of Red Spider and MIGHTY JAM ROCK. Those CDs became a hit, not only in the reggae scene but also the hip-hop scene.

With many expectations, MINMI signed a contract with the major record label JVC, and MINMI's first maxi single The Perfect Vision was released in August 2002. This single was well accepted by radio stations, as shown with 20 FM stations heavy rotating the song. As the single gradually became popular in the market, it started to climb the sales charts over a three month period and eventually reached 400,000 copies sold, an extraordinary number for a debut single.

With the second maxi single release, T.T.T. in December of the same year, MINMI revealed her diverse approach toward her music from the reggae-based first single to a hip-hop based track for the second. As a result of the newly tasted tracks and the catchy melodies blended in her songs, MINMI became a popular character among many female music fans between the ages of ten to twenty.

The long-awaited first album, Miracle, was released in March 2003. Though there was limited exposure, the album ranked in the top 5 of the album sales chart for a two-month period and eventually the album sales exceeded 600,000 copies. This only proved that MINMI's music itself was what the market desired.

To coincide with the album release, MINMI started on her first nationwide tour, MINMI LIVE TOUR 2003 "Miracle", on June 20th. The tickets were sold out instantly and all the venues were fully packed in every town she performed in. Also, during the summer of 2003, she participated in various major concert events throughout the country. Her appealing performance was honed through her live activities in the underground music scene.

After that, MINMI has been constantly releasing singles. She has blended her own style with what is popular in Japan and now she is known as a major artist in the Japanese music industry. She has plenty of urban and dance essence without belonging to a specific genre.

Regarding her production, MINMI is a rare artist in that she basically does all the songwriting including the lyrics, arrangements and production work. Her production is so highly accepted in the industry that she is now getting offers to produce for the other artists. Many of the leading musicians and engineers from Jamaica, home of reggae music, and the USA, home of hip-hop and R&B music, participate in her production which is the key factor of blending the latest music trends into her work and making high quality music.

On June 30th, 2004, her long anticipated second album, imagine, was released and was followed in September by the nationwide live tour MINMI LIVE TOUR 2004 "imagine". In December, she released her fifth single Are you ready; the song originated from MINMI's original riddim "SAKURA" which contained a sample of Japanese traditional guitar, the shamisen. This riddim "SAKURA" became popular in Jamaica as well. From this point, the production team ZAREK for TSURU-KAME Recording which consists of MINMI and JUNIOR (Red Spider), who also produced the riddim "SAKURA", started their production work in Jamaica. They have produced various Jamaican artists and released their original 7-inch vinyls in Jamaica at the start of 2005.

In the summer of 2005, MINMI released her 6th single, Summertime!! which is based on soca music from the Caribbean countries, Trinidad and Tobago. She was very active with live performances in 2005, from organizing a monthly reggae club event in Tokyo, a nationwide club tour, to appearing in the major summer rock festival "Summer Sonic" in August. In September, she released the album FRIENDS, which is a best-of album with songs performed by other artists featuring MINMI.

In February 2006, she was invited to Trinidad and Tobago's annual festival known as 'Carnival' and did a live performance in front of 30,000 people, including Wyclef Jean of the Fugees.

A year later, MINMI took part in the annual soca competition in Trinidad and Tobago. She entered with the song Sha na na~Japanese wine~ which was a collaboration with Machel Montano HD who is known as the 'international soca king'. The song was sung completely in English, proving that she is a versatile artist. With this song MINMI reached the competition finals, falling within the 10 best performers of soca from 107 participants.

In July, MINMI launched her ninth single titled sha na na☆, another soca-based song similar to that of Summertime!!, but this time she sung the Japanese version of Sha na na ~Japanese wine~ for the International Groovy Soca Monarch competition. On November 21st, 2007 she released the conceptual album titled THE LOVE SONG COLLECTION 2006-2007, which contains the love songs that she composed between the years 2006 and 2007.

MINMI has proven countless times what a talented, multi-functional artist she is and the growing number of record sales and fans are testament to that. We can be sure that she will manage to surprise and to charm us in the future again, so be sure to keep an eye on MINMI!
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