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Crystal Kay
クリスタル・ケイ

Kay performing in December 2009
Background information
Birth name Crystal Kay Williams
Also known as Kuri(-chan), CK
Born February 26, 1986 (1986-02-26) (age 24)
Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Genres Pop, R&B, rock, urban, dance
Occupations Singer-songwriter, radio host
Instruments Singing
Years active 1999-present
Labels Epic Records
Associated acts M-Flo, Verbal, BoA, Chemistry, Kaname, Shinichi Osawa, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jin Akanishi
Website c-kay.com

Crystal Kay Williams (クリスタル・ケイ・ウィリアムズ Kurisutaru Kei Wiriamuzu?) (born February 26, 1986), better known by her stage name Crystal Kay (クリスタル・ケイ Kurisutaru Kei?), is a Japanese singer and songwriter from Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. After releasing her debut single "Eternal Memories" (1999)[1] Kay gained fame for her third studio album, Almost Seventeen (2002), which debuted at number-two on the Japanese Oricon charts.[2] Almost Seventeen eventually sold over 400,000 copies and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan.[3] Kay is currently signed to Epic Records, a sub-label of Sony Music Japan.[4]

As of July 2009, Kay has released ten albums. Her seventh studio album, All Yours (2007) became Kay's first number-one release in her career when it debuted on top of the Oricon chart in June 2007.[5] Kay has sold over two million records in Japan as of 2009. Throughout her career, Kay has collaborated with the likes of M-Flo and BoA,[6] Chemistry[7] as well as other well-known recording artists.

Contents

Early life and beginnings

Kay was born and raised in Yokohama in the Kanagawa Prefecture to an African American father and a South Korean mother.[8] Her father was a bassist from New Jersey and her mother was a professional singer. Kay previously attended Kinnick High School and Sophia University, which is the same college Beni Arashiro currently attends: the two are reported to be good friends.[9] Although her mother is of Korean background, Crystal does not speak Korean, and is fluent in Japanese and English, the latter influencing and making a regular appearance in her songs. She has also studied French. Kay cites Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson as her biggest influences.[10]

Recording career

1999-2001: Debut and subsequent image change

At the age of twelve, Kay signed to the label Epic Records in Japan. One year later she released her debut single "Eternal Memories", on July 1, 1999. Despite peaking at #47, "Eternal Memories" has since become Kay's eight best selling single.[11] 1999 saw the release of two more singles, "Teenage Universe ~Chewing Gum Baby" on September 8[12] and "Komichi no Hana" on November 3,[13] the former peaking at #47 and the latter at #80. Kay's debut studio album, "C.L.L Crystal Lover Light" was released on March 23, 2000.[14] This album is noted by fans to have a more indie and acoustic feel as opposed to her later albums which mainly come under the genres of pop and R&B. Kay was just fourteen years old when this album was released. "C.L.L Crystal Lover Light" debuted at #60 on the Oricon charts. A fourth single was released on the same day as "C.L.L Crystal Lover Light", entitled "Shadows of Desire".[15] Because of its release date it became Kay's first single to fail to chart. "Shadows of Desire" was Kay's first A-side to be sung entirely in English.

After an almost year long period of inactivity, Kay returned to the music scene with the single "Lost Child". The single, which was a collaboration with Shinichi Osawa and Hiroshi Fujiwara was released on February 15, 2001 and reached #55 on its debut week. Despite Kay only being credited as a featured artist on the song, it was still featured on her next album "637: Always and Forever". Her fifth single "Girl's Night" came three months later on May 9, 2001. The single saw the introduction of urban influences in Kay's music. Despite this new style, the single peaked at #100. One of the b-sides, "Make Me Whole" was a cover of the Amel Larrieux song of the same name.[16] Kay's next single, "Ex-Boyfriend", was released on July 4, 2001. It featured rapper Verbal of the hip hop duo M-Flo.[17] The single was a success for Kay, peaking at #44, and became her best selling single at the time of its release. Kay released her sophomore effort on August 22, 2001, entitled "637: Always and Forever". The album became Kay's first album to reach the top twenty of the Oricon chart when it debuted at #19, and sold 15,640 copies in its first week.[18] Kay finished off 2001 with her seventh single, "Think of U", released on November 28, 2001. The single was Christmas-themed. It debuted and peaked at #60.

2002-2006: Rise in popularity and commercial success

Nine months after her last single, Kay released her eighth single "Hard to Say" on August 7, 2002 and sold over double than her previous best selling single "Ex-Boyfriend". It became her first top thirty single when it debuted peaked at #26 on the Oricon chart.[19] The single was followed by the release of Kay's next single "Girl U Love" and her third studio album "Almost Seventeen", on October 23, 2002. "Almost Seventeen" became Kay's breakthrough album, exceeding expectations and debuting at #2 on the charts behind Mai Kuraki, selling 51,360 in its first week. The album spent a year on the charts, quickly being certified platinum by RIAJ.[20]

Three months later Kay released "Boyfriend: Part II" on January 22, 2003. It peaked at #23. Her next single came five months later, and was another collaboration with M-Flo. The single, called "I Like It", was released under the title "Crystal Kay loves M-Flo". "I Like It" peaked at #8, becoming Kay's first top ten hit and eventually sold around 50,000 copies. Another single, "Candy" was released a month before her fourth studio album "4 Real" on October 22, 2001.[21] "Candy" debuted inside the top thirty of the Oricon charts at #21, her fourth single in-a-row to do so. Her fourth studio album, "4 Real", was released on November 27, 2003 along with Kay's thirteenth single, "Can't be Stopped". "4 Real" debuted at #6 on the charts behind household names in Japan such as Aiko, Do As Infinity and Mika Nakashima and sold 86,310 copies in its first week.[22]

Kay's debut English album "Natural: World Premiere Album" was released about a month after "4 Real" on December 17, 2003. The album consists of English versions of some of Kay's tracks from previous albums and covers of a few popular songs, by artists such as Gladys Knight, Cyndi Lauper and Judy Garland. Despite its title, "Natural: World Premiere Album" was never released outside of Japan. It is currently Kay's lowest selling album.[23]

On May 12, 2004 released her fourteenth single "Motherland", the first of two that year. "Motherland" was used as the third ending theme for the anime adaption of Fullmetal Alchemist. It was the ending theme from episodes 26 to 41.[24] The single debuted at #9 on the Oricon chart,[25] her second single to debut in the top ten. Just under two months after "Motherland", Kay released her first compilation album, "CK5". The album was release on June 30, 2004 and featured a selection of tracks from Kay's four previous studio albums, as well as her latest single "Motherland". The album celebrates Kay's fifth anniversary since the release of her debut single "Eternal Memories" in 1999, hence the title. "CK5" peaked at #2 on the weekly chart and charted for 49 weeks, eventually being certified platinum by RIAJ. Another single, "Bye My Darling!" was released on November 17 and peaked at #40 on the Oricon chart. It was Kay's final release of 2004.

The single "Kiss" started off 2005 for Kay. It was released on January 26, 2005 and peaked at #10 on the Oricon chart. The single had longevity at eventually became her second best-selling single.[26] "Kiss" was the CM song for NTT DoCoMo "Music Porter". "Kiss" was written by the same songwriter of the ballad "Yuki no Hana" by Mika Nakashima. Kay's fifth studio album, "Crystal Style" followed two months later on March 2, 2005. The album debuted at #2 and sold 296,756 copies. The album became the 44th best selling album of 2005 in Japan.

Kay released her seventeenth single "Koi ni Ochitara" on May 18, 2005. "Koi ni Ochitara" was used as the theme song for the drama "Koi ni Ochitara: Boku no Seikō no Himitsu". The single is currently the best selling single of her career, selling 295,456 copies to date. In its first week it sold 73,717 copies,[27] in its second week it dropped to #4 and sold 51,546 copies,[28] and in the third week it fell one place to #5, selling a further 38,302 copies.[29] Kay's next single was a collaboration with the R&B duo Chemistry called "Two as One". The single was released on October 5, 2005 and peaked at #2 on the Oricon chart, much like "Koi ni Ochitara" earlier that year. "Two as One" was released under the name "Crystal Kay × Chemistry".

On February 8, 2006, Kay released her nineteenth single, "Kirakuni/Together". "Kirakuni" was her second A-side to be sung entirely in English, the first being "Shadows of Desire". This single was recorded in the U.S. with producers Jam & Lewis, who are known for working with the likes of Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey. The second A-side "Together" was used as the theme song in Japan for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.[30] The single debuted at #27. Two weeks later Kay released her sixth studio album "Call Me Miss..." on February 22, 2006. In its first week, "Call Me Miss..." debuted at #2 on the Oricon chart as well as #9 on the World Album Chart, selling 116,050 copies that week.[31] It has since been certified platinum by RIAJ and was the 50th best selling album of 2006 in Japan.

2007-2008: First number-one and decline in sales

After about a years hiatus, Kay returned to the music scene with the single "Kitto Eien ni", which was released January 17, 2007. "Kitto Eien ni" was used as the ending theme of the action film "Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru", starring Jun Matsumoto. The single debuted at #12 and charted for seven weeks, selling 19,615 copies.[32] Kay's twenty-first single "Konna ni Chikaku de..." was released just a month later on February 28, 2007. It was used as the ending theme to the anime adaption of the manga "Nodame Cantabile".[33] The single debuted at #14 on the Oricon chart and charted for eight weeks, selling 15,158 copies to date. "Konna ni Chikaku de..." was performed live for the special Nodame Orchestra concert at the Tokyo International Forum on the single's release date. Another single, "Anata no Soba de", was released on May 16, 2007. The single only featured one track and thus was sold at the lower price of ¥525 in Japan. This single was the CM song for Menard Facial Salon. Kay released her seventh studio album "All Yours" a month later on June 20, 2007. The album's theme was love. The track "Lonely Girl" was featured on the Japanese airings of the drama "Lost" and featured on the soundtrack to the third series in Japan.[34] The second track on "All Yours", "Dream World" was used to promote the "Barista's Special" for Tully's Coffee.[35] The album debuted at #1, selling 51,211 copies in its first week. "All Yours" became Kay's first number-one release. The album has sold 136,841 copies and charted for nine weeks.

On November 28, 2007, Kay released her first EP entitled "Shining". The EP had a Christmas theme and featured the title track "Shining" as well as a second new track "Snowflake" and the previously released tracks "Happy 045 Xmas" and "No More Blue Christmas", originally featured on "Natural: World Premiere Album".[36] It debuted at #21 on the Oricon chart. "Shining" was used as the CM song for "PARCO X'MAS 2007" throughout the Christmas period. Kay also starred in the CM, where she was flying on a reindeer.

On March 3, 2008 it was revealed that Kay was chosen to sing the theme song to the 2008 Pokémon film "Giratina to Sora no Hanataba: Sheimi". She also played the voice of "Nurse Joy's Chansey" in the film. The film's producers had apparently been considering the singer since 2001, when she sang "Lost Child" with Shinichi Osawa and Hiroshi Fujiwara for the soundtrack of the film "Satorare".[37] As expected a single was released. However it was not the recently announced Pokémon theme song, but a different single entitled "Namida no Saki ni". "Namida no Saki ni" was released on June 11, 2008. It was Kay's first single in over a year, since the release of the single "Anata no Soba de" on May 16, 2007. "Namida no Saki" was used as the CM song for Tully's Coffee commercials throughout June 2008. This song exhibited a new, pop-rock sound for the singer. The single debuted at #29 on the Oricon daily chart and eventually debuted at #42 on the weekly chart. To date, the single has sold 3,587 copies. One month later on July 16, 2008, the Pokémon single, entitled "One", was finally released. "One" debuted at #25 on the daily chart and debuted at #32 on the weekly chart, selling 2,237 copies. To date, "One" has sold 6,522 copies.

For her eighth studio album "Color Change!" Kay had songs produced by Bloodshy & Avant and Jam & Lewis. Kay had previously worked with Jam & Lewis in 2006. The album was released on August 6, 2008. The title "Color Change!" reflected from Kay's graduation from Sophia University that year.[38] "Color Change!" peaked at #6 on the Oricon daily chart and #8 on the weekly chart, selling 15,519 copies in its first week. The album sold 33,290 copies after seven weeks on the charts. "Color Change!" was eventually certified gold by RIAJ.[39] "Color Change!" was the 289th best selling album of 2008 in Japan.

2009-present: Tenth year in the industry

On February 18, 2009, Kay was a featured artist along with Verbal of M-Flo on the song "Universe" with South Korean singer BoA from her single Eien/Universe/Believe in Love. The single peaked at #8 and has sold 21,789 copies. On May 15, 2009 it was revealed that Kay and Jin Akanishi, from the boyband KAT-TUN, wrote a duet together called "Wonder". The song was first performed by Akanishi on the KAT-TUN's concert tour in 2009. This was the second time that Kay sang with him, the first time being during her second appearance on KAT-TUN's variety show called Cartoon KAT-TUN. Both Akanishi and Kay have decided that their unit name will be "Crystal Red", which is a kind of shrimp.

On August 12, 2009, Kay released her twenty-fourth single, "After Love: First Boyfriend/Girlfriend". The single was announced on Kay's official website on July 1, 2009, which marks the tenth anniversary since the release of Kay's debut single in 1999. "After Love: First Boyfriend" features Kaname from the J-pop duo Chemistry. "After Love: First Boyfriend" is a follow up to Kay's 2003 single "Boyfriend: Part II" and used as the CM song for Tully's Coffee commercials throughout July 2009. "After Love" was written by Craig McConnell and Canadian artist Shobha, with Japanese lyrics by Crystal Kay. "Girlfriend", featuring the Korean artist BoA with whom Kay is reportedly close friends, was used as the image song for the Japanese dubbed release of the feature film "He's Just Not That into You" starring Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck.[40] The single's b-side, "Deaeta Kiseki", was released digitally in December 2008 and was also used as the CM song for Tully's Coffee that month. "After Love: First Boyfriend/Girlfriend" is Kay's second double A-side single, and her first since "Kirakuni/Together" in 2006. The single landed on the Oricon Daily Chart at peak position #21 and on the Oricon Weekly Chart at #31.

On September 2, 2009, Kay released her second compilation album, entitled "Best of Crystal Kay". The collection featured over thirty tracks from her discography.[41] "Best of Crystal Kay" was also released with a "limited edition" disc containing four new songs, including "Step by Step", produced by Yasutaka Nakata of Capsule. It was used as the theme song for "Janguru Taitei" which aired from September 5, 2009.[42] Another new song, entitled "Over and Over" will also be in the CD. It is currently used in a commercial for NTT's "Live On FLET'S".[43] Kay did not star in this advert. "Over and Over" was produced by Taku Takahashi of M-Flo. The fourth track "Helpless Night" is a collaboration between Kay and Jin Akanishi of KAT-TUN and is performed almost entirely in English. The collection debuted at #2 on the Oricon Daily Chart, and sold almost 30,000 copies that day alone, and ultimately dropped to #3 on the Weekly Chart, behind Superfly's "Box Emotions" and the second week sales of Arashi's "All the Best! 1999-2009". It sold 87,669 copies that week. This is Kay's best peak position on the Oricon Chart since since "All Yours" in 2007, as well as her best first week sales since "Call me Miss..." in 2006.

Kay finished off the year by releasing her first remix album "The Best Remixes of CK" on December 16.

In 2010 Kay starred in her first role in a drama series. She played the character of Kokusho Akira, a genius hacker who has carried out many crimes all over the world in the Nippon Television drama "Hidarime Tantei Eye" (左目探偵EYE Left Eye Detective?), which stars Hey! Say! JUMP member Ryosuke Yamada. The drama began airing on January 23, 2010. [44] [45] On February 24, Kay released a brand new song, "Flash" on Recochoku Chaku-Uta. "Flash" is featured in the commercial for Canon IXY Digital cameras, which began airing on February 19. [46]

Discography

Studio albums

Compilation albums

Remix albums

Extended plays

Filmography

Dramas
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Hidarime Tantei Eye [45] Kokusho Akira Lead role
Movies
Year Title Role Notes
2008 Giratina to Sora no Hanataba Sheimi[47] Lucky (voice) (Nurse Joy's Chansey) Sang ending theme song, "One"
2009 Yamagata Scream [48] Foreigner

References

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  2. ^ "2002年11月第1週の邦楽アルバムランキング情報 (almost seventeen chart position)". Oricon. http://www.oricon.co.jp/search/result.php?kbn=ja&types=rnk&year=2002&month=11&week=1&submit5.x=18&submit5.y=4. Retrieved July 10, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Sony Music Online Japan: Crystal Kay: Biography". Sony Music Entertainment Japan. http://www.sonymusic.co.jp/eng/ES/CrystalKay/m_bio.html. Retrieved July 10, 2009. 
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  6. ^ "BoA+Crystal Kay+VERBAL(m-flo)、 話題の大型コラボレーション楽曲が2月4日より配信スタート!". Avex Trax. February 3, 2009. http://www.avexnet.or.jp/boa/news/200902032.html. Retrieved July 10, 2009. 
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  8. ^ ""Crystal Kay is having a ball", October 16, 2009". Japan Times. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fm20091016r1.html#. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
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  19. ^ "2002年08月第3週の邦楽シングルランキング情報 (Hard to Say chart position)". Oricon. http://www.oricon.co.jp/search/result.php?kbn=js&types=rnk&year=2002&month=8&week=3&submit4.x=9&submit4.y=15. 
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  24. ^ "Fullmetal Alchemist (TV) - Anime News Network". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=2960. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
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  27. ^ "2005年05月第5週の邦楽シングルランキング情報 (Koi ni Ochitara chart position)". Oricon. http://www.oricon.co.jp/search/result.php?kbn=js&types=rnk&year=2005&month=5&week=5&submit4.x=9&submit4.y=15. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  28. ^ "2005年06月第1週の邦楽シングルランキング情報 (Koi ni Ochitara chart position: 2nd week)". Oricon. http://www.oricon.co.jp/search/result.php?kbn=js&types=rnk&year=2005&month=6&week=1&submit4.x=9&submit4.y=15. 
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  38. ^ "Chanto News: Crystal Kay blog: Thank you!". Chanto News. http://chantonews.blogspot.com/2008/07/crystal-kay-blog-thank-you.html. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  39. ^ "社団法人 日本レコード協会|各種統計". Recording Industry Association of Japan. http://www.riaj.or.jp/data/others/gold/200808.html. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  40. ^ "Crystal Kay collaborates with "girlfriend" BoA — Tokyograph". tokyograph.com. May 21, 2009. http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-4837. 
  41. ^ "BEST of CRYSTAL KAY Regular Edition CD Crystal Kay Jpop CDJapan". CDJapan. http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/detailview.html?KEY=ESCL-3274. 
  42. ^ "「フジテレビ開局50周年」「手塚治虫生誕80周年」記念アニメ「ジャングル大帝」 - フジテレビ". http://www.fujitv.co.jp/leo/syudaika.html. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  43. ^ "YouTube — CM — NTT東日本「LIVE ON FLET'S 光」". YouTube. July 2, 2009. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OFVetcLQF4. Retrieved July 11, 2009. 
  44. ^ (Japanese) "クリスタル・ケイ:「左目探偵EYE」で天才ハッカー役 連ドラ初レギュラーに「夢かなった」(まんたんウェブ) - 毎日jp(毎日新聞)". December 29, 2009. http://mainichi.jp/enta/mantan/news/20091228mog00m200066000c.html. Retrieved December 31, 3009. 
  45. ^ a b "Crystal Kay to make drama debut - Tokyograph". December 29, 2009. http://www.tokyograph.com/news/id-5632. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  46. ^ (Japanese) "AD & HISTORY IXY SPECIAL". http://cweb.canon.jp/camera/ixyd/special/brand/ad-archive/kirei4.html. Retrieved February 14, 2010. 
  47. ^ "Crystal KAY - Anime News Networks". http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=22451. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 
  48. ^ "Just a scream". July 31, 2009. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ff20090731a1.html. Retrieved December 31, 2009. 

External links


Simple English

Crystal Kay
Birth name Crystal Kay Williams
Born February 26, 1986 (1986-02-26) (age 24)
Yokohama, Japan
Genres R&B, Japanese Pop
Occupations Singer
Years active 1999-present
Labels Sony Music Entertainment Japan
Website Official Website

Crystal Kay Williams (born 26 February 1986 in Yokohama, Japan) is a J-Pop singer. She is also known as "Kuri" by her fans. She is well-known for her songs "Koi ni Ochitara" and "Boyfriend -part II-". She has released eight studio albums.

Albums

  • 2000: C.L.L Crystal Lover Light
  • 2001: 637 -Always and Forever-
  • 2002: Almost Seventeen
  • 2003: 4 Real
  • 2005: Crystal Style
  • 2006: Call me Miss...
  • 2007: All Yours
  • 2008: Color Change!""

Other pages








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