InformationBoa Kwon (born November 5, 1986 in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea), commonly known by her stage name BoA, is a multilingual Korean singer. She has been active in both South Korea and Japan. Aside from her native Korean, BoA also speaks Japanese and conversational English She has also released a number of Chinese songs, although she is not able to speak the language itself.
BoA has achieved great commercial success, particularly in South Korea and Japan where she has claimed four number one studio albums in Korea and six in Japan. The release of The Face made BoA only one of two artists in J-pop history to top the Oricon Weekly Album Charts six consecutive times, with the other being Ayumi Hamasaki who currently has eight consecutive number one albums.
At the age of thirteen, after two years of training, BoA released her debut album ID; Peace B on August 25, 2000. The album received positive reviews and climbed into the top ten chart, going on to sell nearly 375,000 copies. Meanwhile, her Korean record label, SM Entertainment, made arrangements with Japanese company Avex Trax to launch her music career in Japan.
In early 2001, BoA released her first mini-album Jumping into the World. After its release, she took a hiatus from the Korean music industry to focus on the Japanese market. During this time she struggled to solidify her skills in Japanese.
BoA entered the Japanese music industry soon after signing with Avex Trax and singing at an Avex-owned nightclub Velfarre. In 2001, she debuted with a Japanese version of the song, "ID; Peace B", released as a single. The single reached #20 on the Oricon chart. ID; Peace B was followed by the subsequent singles "Amazing Kiss" (#23), "気持ちはつたわる" (Kimochi wa Tsutawaru) (#15), and "Listen to My Heart" (#5). The single "Listen to My Heart" became her first major commercial success in Japan and went on to sell over 180,000 copies.
Her Japanese debut album, Listen To My Heart, was released on March 13, 2002. The album debuted at #1 on the Oricon and charted for 91 weeks. It sold over 932,000 copies domestically and over 1,300,000 copies worldwide. A breakthrough in her career, her album was one of the few albums by Korean artists to enter the top five. BoA's fifth single "Every Heart-ミンナノキモチ-" (minna no kimochi, everybody's feelings) was released on the same day. The song was the ending theme for the hit anime series InuYasha. The single peaked at #10 on the charts.
A month later, BoA released her second full studio Korean album, No.1. This album is her most successful Korean album to date, selling over 650,000 copies. The album peaked at #15 on the Japanese charts. In September of the same year, her second mini album Miracle became another commercial success, selling 327,000 copies. Later in the year she became the youngest artist ever to receive a "Artist of the Year" in South Korea.
2002–2005: Commercial success
BoA's second Japanese studio album, Valenti, topped the charts with over 620,000 copies sold in its first week of release and stayed on top for two consecutive weeks. Valenti became her best-selling album, with over 1,539,000 copies sold domestically (making her the highest and fastest selling Asian foreigner in Japanese history). The album's live tour was sold out in Osaka and Nagoya within 15 minutes, while Tokyo sold out within a day. The album had the fourth highest debut sales of the year and would go on to become one of the top five selling albums of the year in Japan. "Don't Start Now" the first single from the album, was a "special single" that contained a Japanese edition of the promotional track of her Korean mini-album, Don't Start Now. "Valenti", the second single from the album, peaked at the number-two position on the Oricon and sold over 200,000 copies.
She released two Korean albums later that year. Atlantis Princess, her third Korean album, sold over 344,000 copies domestically, topping the Korean music charts. Atlantis Princess was well-received throughout Korea and would receive multiple awards later in the year. Shine We Are!, her third Korean mini-album, was released in the winter of the same year; it sold 80,000 copies.
Love and Honesty, BoA's third Japanese studio album, was released in 2004; it reached the number-one spot on the Oricon chart for two weeks and would go on to sell over 650,000 copies domestically and over 800,000 copies worldwide. Her fourth Korean album, My Name, was released later that year; it sold approximately 365,000 copies. BoA won her second Daesang ("Grand Prize") award at the 2004 MKMF Awards for the music video of the album's title track, "My Name." In June 2006, the music video of "My Name" became the first music video ever shown on MTV K, an MTV music channel directed at Korean Americans.
Best of Soul (2005), a compilation album, made BoA the first non-Japanese Asian singer to have two albums sell over a million copies in Japan. Best of Soul became the ninth-highest selling album of 2005. Best of Soul also had the eighth highest first week sales of 2005.
Later that year, she released her fifth Korean studio album, Girls on Top. Debuting at #1 in South Korea and Taiwan, it sold approximately 295,000 copies. She won the "Best Female Artist" award at the m.net Music Festival at the end of 2005.
2006–2008: Decline in sales and image change
Her fourth Japanese studio album Outgrow was released on February 15, 2006. The limited CD+DVD edition of the album contained music videos of the promoted singles and a secret password to unlock a special version of the official website. The album hit #1 on the Oricon chart for its first week of release, making it her fourth Japanese album to do so. The album had relatively low debut sales (220,000 copies sold) making it her lowest-selling first-week debut for a studio album at that point. The album has sold approximately 428,000 copies in Japan and 643,000 copies worldwide. "Do the Motion," the first single from the album, hit #1 on the Oricon chart, making her the fifth non-Japanese singer to have #1 single, the first in over 21 years. "Merry Christmas from BoA", the last single from the album, was the singer's first digital single.
During 2006, BoA was largely inactive in Korea and focused on her career in Japan. She consistently released and promoted singles and started a special ZEPP tour BoA THE LIVE on September 29, 2006. Starting from Nagoya, Japan, the tour continued until October 29, 2006 with a total of 12 shows, two in each of the following cities: Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo, Sendai, and Sapporo. She staged her first Christmas concert on December 7, 2006. She sang her own Christmas ballads ("Winter Love", "Last Christmas" and "Merry Kuri") in the ZEPP Tokyo Stadium.
BoA's 5th Japanese studio album Made in Twenty (20) was released on January 17, 2007. The album was leaked on the Internet five days before its release date. It debuted at the top of the Oricon Daily Album Charts and the Oricon Weekly Album Charts. However, Made in Twenty (20) had the lowest first-week sales of her career, at 182,009 copies. Her nationwide tour in Japan to promote her album began on March 31, 2007. Two tracks from the singles of Made in Twenty (20) were used as theme songs; "Your Color", from the single "Nanairo no Ashita~brand new beat~ / Your Color" (2006), was used as the ending theme song for the Japanese release of the Xbox 360 game Ninety-Nine Nights. "Key of Heart", from the single "Key of Heart / Dotch", was the ending theme of Over the Hedge in Japan. She also released an English version of "Key of Heart," which was only available on the first press edition of the single. The album's last single, "Winter Love" (2006) became another number-one single for the artist.
BoA has stated that she will start work on her sixth Korean album after the completion of her Japanese tour (i.e. late April/early May). BoA also stated that she will be in Korea for now concentrating on her lessons and production activities. BoA has a contract with SM Entertainment until 2012. On September 21, 2006 BoA released her first digital single in Korea: a Korean version of Key of Heart. The song was used in her first Olympus commercial. BoA has replaced Korean actress Jun Ji-hyun as the new face of Olympus Korea, and has been featured in their advertisements since September 2006.
Her sixth Japanese album, The Face (2008), made BoA one of only two artists in Japan to top the Oricon weekly charts six consecutive times (the other being Ayumi Hamasaki, who has eight consecutive number-one albums). "Sweet Impact", the first single from the album drew minor controversy because of its similarity to a Vogue magazine cover.
Though it was reported that BoA's 6th Korean album would be out in June, all plans were pushed back to 2008. It has already been more than two years since her last Korean album, Girls on Top, was released.
Later in the year, BoA signed a contract with Samsung (via Anycall) for the "AnyBand" concept and released their first single AnyBand featuring two songs "TPL" (Talk Play Love) and "Promise U". This commercial also included Xiah Junsu (from boyband DBSK), Tablo (from Epik High), and the jazz pianist Jin Bora.
Most recently, BoA released her 26th Single, "Vivid" on June 4th, 2008. It hit No. 3 on the Oricon Daily Single Ranking chart. The 2nd track "Sparkling" from this single has been remixed.
BoA and 9 other artists from all over the world are scheduled to remake an English cover of Wei Wei's “Dedication of Love“. It is produced by Roald Hoffmann and Brian Alan, who plan to raise funds with this worldwide single for victims of the Sichuan Earthquake to help rebuild the area. The recording will be held in Beijing on June 9, 2008.
2008: U.S. debut
On September 2, 2008, SM Entertainment announced that BoA would make her American debut under a new subsidiary label, SM Entertainment USA. A press conference was held on September 10, 2008 at the Seoul Imperial Palace Hotel to clarify the details of her American debut. BoA's debut American single "Eat You Up" was released online on October 21, 2008; it reached the top positions on the online music charts in the United States. The physical single was to be released in stores on November 11, 2008, but SM instead released a promotional CD containing dance remixes of "Eat You Up". "Eat You Up" became a number-one Breakout on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. The remix of "Eat You Up" featuring rapper Flo Rida was slated for release in late November and leak onto the internet in December. BoA performed "Eat You Up" as well as other songs at YouTube's Tokyo Live concert, and performed in New York City on December 3, 2008, as well as the Jingle Ball at the Anaheim Honda Center on December 6, 2008. She also performed the song "Look Who's Talking" at the event.
Image and artistry
Much of BoA's music is either dance pop, R&B, or ballads; thus, she is often compared to Ayumi Hamasaki and Hikaru Utada. BoA's debut album, ID; Peace B, contained urban pop, "slickly produced" ballads, and "upbeat dance tunes". As her career went on, she began experimenting with different styles: Valenti contained mostly ballads; Love and Honesty was an experiment with "harder" R&B and rock music.
BoA has done collaborations with "high-profile" artists. Among the Japanese artists she has performed with are the hip-hop group m-flo (for the single "The Love Bug"), Kumi Koda (for the charity single "The Meaning of Peace"), and house DJ Mondo Grosso. She has performed with Western artists: the song "Flying Without Wings" from her album Next World was a collaboration with Irish band Westlife covering the original song; the Bratz single "Show Me What You Got" was performed with Howie D of the American band Backstreet Boys. Other artists she has collaborated with are the Japanese artists Soul'd Out, Dabo, Verbal (of m-flo), RAH-D, and Yutaka Furakawa (of the band Doping Panda). American rock band Weezer covered "Meri Kuri" on the album Weezer (The Red Album).
BoA is a "top artist" in South Korea and Japan; her popularity in the latter is attributed to her linguistic skills (she speaks and records in Japanese, Korean, and English) and a Japanese interest in Korean pop culture started in the early 2000s when the two countries began promoting cultural exchanges. BoA's popularity extends throughout Asia; she has fans in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. She has expressed plans to enter a global market; she stated in an interview, “I will [...] get recognition in the U.S. and Europe to become a world-renowned Diva."
Because of her wide appeal, BoA has appeared in advertisements for many brands. Among the brands she has promoted are Olympus, Nike, L'Oreal, Japanese cosmetic company Kosé, Sketchers, and GM Daewoo. Three of her songs have been used as themes. "Every Heart" was used as the theme for the anime InuYasha; "Key of Heart" was the theme song for the Japanese release of Over the Hedge; and "Your Color" was the theme song of the video game Ninety-Nine Nights. Her widespread popularity has also made her a "cultural ambassador"; she has represented South Korea in inter-Asian musical events and has appeared in an Oxford University
From 2001 to 2007, BoA hosted Beat it BoA's World, a radio program on the Japan FM Network. In 2008, Korean jewelry brand Ramee released Ramee by BoA, a line of jewelry designed by the singer herself. BoA voiced Heather the opossum in the Japanese version of Over the Hedge.
Korean studio albums
2000: ID; Peace B
2001: Jumping into the World (mini-album)
2002: Miracle (mini-album)
2003: Atlantis Princess
2003: Shine We Are! (mini-album)
2004: My Name
2005: Girls on Top
Japanese studio albums
2002: Listen to My Heart
2004: Love and Honesty
2007: Made in Twenty (20)
2008: The Face
Japanese compilation albums
2004: K-pop Selection
2005: Best of Soul
2009: Special Best Album
Japanese remix albums
2002: Peace B. Remixes
2003: Next World
2008: Look Who's Talking
BoA's debut english single
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