Puffy AmiYumi: Wikis

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Puffy AmiYumi

Puffy AmiYumi at Japan Expo 2009
Background information
Also known as Puffy
Origin Tokyo, Japan
Genres Rock
Punk-rock
Years active 1996–present
Labels Sony Music Japan (Japan)
Sony BMG/Epic/Bar/None/Tofu (U.S.)
Website PuffyAmiYumi.com
Members
Ami Onuki
Yumi Yoshimura
(Touring band)
Fumio Yanagisawa
Takeshi Tsuji
Hiroharu Kinoshita
Takashi Furuta
Junichi Fujimoto

Puffy (パフィー Pafī ?, romanized as PUFFY in Japan) or Puffy AmiYumi is a Japanese rock duo that is currently signed with Sony Music Japan. The group continues to go by the moniker of PUFFY in Japan, but in order to avoid legal naming conflicts with Sean Combs, it has adopted the name Puffy AmiYumi outside of Japan.

Ami Onuki, whose nickname is Jane, and Yumi Yoshimura, nicknamed Sue, were scouted by Sony-affiliated talent agencies and put together in the mid-1990s, and soon Puffy-mania would begin. Puffy-mania reached its peak in 1998–1999, following the release of their Jet CD and the Jet tour.

Their first release "Asia no Junshin" sold a million records and their success has continued with several more full-length releases (totaling 14 million sales in Japan).

Contents

History

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Talent searches brought Puffy together

When she was in high school, Ami sang for a band called "Hanoi Sex". In her sophomore year, the band auditioned during the Sony SD Audition and passed, becoming employees of Sony Music Entertainment. Years went by with little action by either the band or the record label, as Ami took vocal lessons and attended a professional school to learn how to become a better performer. Eventually the band dissolved, leaving only Ami under Sony's employment. She was encouraged to stay, despite lacking a band and a clear musical direction.[1]

Separately, Yumi had learned of the Chotto Sokomade talent search underway by Sony Music Artists when she was "around 18". She also auditioned and passed. She moved on her own from Osaka to Tokyo, where she eventually met Ami by chance in the Sony Music offices and then at a concert after-party, when the two hit it off. Both felt alone within the large Sony organization and neither were confident in their abilities as solo artists, so even though Ami had already recorded a solo CD under the guidance of former Unicorn front-man Tamio Okuda (it would later become half of solosolo), they requested Sony pair them as a duo.[2]

When paired together, their voices blended well and they had a close rapport. Producer and American pop musician Andy Sturmer christened them "Puffy", for which they dubbed him "the godfather of Puffy".

Ami had previously met Tamio Okuda at a SPARKS GOGO concert, and he had produced her then-unreleased solo CD. He was eventually signed on to produce Puffy's first album amiyumi. Their debut single, "Asia no Junshin", launched Puffy-mania. Asked if they were surprised by the attention after its success, Yumi told an interviewer "... everything that was put together for that song all came together and made it happen, but we didn't expect it. It was luck."[3]

As "Puffy-mania" exploded, they become multimedia stars, including hosting their own weekly TV show Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Puffy with guests such as Lenny Kravitz, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and rock band Garbage.

Puffy comes to the United States

Puffy made their first US appearance as part of Music Japan's "An Evening with Japan's All-Stars" showcase at the 2000 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.[4] After their performance at SXSW, attorneys for Sean "Puffy" Combs sent the band a cease and desist letter asking them to change their name. After changing their name in the US to Puffy AmiYumi, they told Entertainment Weekly[5]:

Yumi: It doesn't bother us at all. We respect the fact that Puff Daddy is Puffy in the U.S.
Ami: The bottom line is that we don't know what puffy means. We were given our name by somebody else six years ago, and we really don't have a clue.

After Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Puffy ended production in 2002, Puffy focused on performing in the United States. Several of their previous Japanese albums were released for the US market and they recorded theme songs for the animated series Teen Titans and SD Gundam Force. They have also done a cover version with Cyndi Lauper of her hit Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. They were also interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live by Jimmy Kimmel.[6]. They also performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live with their songs Hi Hi and the Japanese Version of their song Planet Tokyo[7], Which is called Red Swing when sung in Japanese.

They came back to the US in 2006 for their Splurge Tour.

Animated series

On November 19, 2004, an animated series featuring cartoon versions of Ami and Yumi, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, premiered on the United States' Cartoon Network. Although they are voiced by American actresses, the real Ami and Yumi star in short live-action segments taped in Japan. The show also features some of Puffy's music. Cartoon Network's Japan service started airing episodes of the series (in English with Japanese subtitles) in 2005. In October of that year, TV Tokyo began airing a Japanese-dubbed version of the series, which eventually also went to CN Japan on January 8, 2006 Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi also debuted in other countries such as Mexico, dubbed in Spanish, transmitted on Cartoon Network.

Yumi said in an interview with LiveDaily[8]:

Yumi: The Cartoon Network show has given us a great opportunity to introduce the music to a new audience. When we toured, after the Cartoon Network show started, so many little kids came to our show. We always wanted as many people as possible to listen to the music.

Puffy AmiYumi made an appearance and performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2005 where they were also represented by their own Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi float and balloon. [9]

On January 16, 2006 Ami and Yumi were appointed goodwill ambassadors to the United States as part of the Japanese government's campaign to encourage tourism in Japan [10]. They kicked off their 10th anniversary tour in Japan on April 14, 2006, then toured the East Coast of the United States with the PuffyAmiYumi Tour '06 Splurge! Splurge! Splurge! from July 8 to July 19, 2006, coinciding with the premiere of their new television show, Hi Hi PUFFY Bu.

Musical style

Their music has been largely a collaboration between producer Tamio Okuda, American singer-songwriter Andy Sturmer, and Ami and Yumi themselves. Ami and Yumi's vocals are likened to U.S. vocal sister group The Roches. They often sing whole songs together with harmonies and their sound borrows heavily from The Beatles and other artists such as ABBA, The Who, and The Carpenters. Both Ami and Yumi themselves have openly admitted that their music is hard to put into just one genre because of the many different influences.

Influences

They have mentioned Tamio Okuda, The Blue Hearts, Boom Boom Satellites, and Blankey Jet City as their main influences, and named their album "Jet CD" after Blankey Jet City.

Discography

Television work

Tours

References

  1. ^ "Puffy 10th Anniversary Book 'Ayumi'", Ami Interview Chapters 1 and 2, Sony Magazines Inc., 2006
  2. ^ "Puffy 10th Anniversary Book 'Ayumi'", Ami Interview Chapters 1 and 2, Yumi Interview Chapters 1 and 2, Sony Magazines Inc., 2006
  3. ^ Whelski, Tina. "Feature: Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi". WOMANROCK, August/September 2005. Accessed December 7, 2006.
  4. ^ Amith, Dennis A. "Prepare for the Puffy Invasion". nt2009 Entertainment, March 2001. Accessed December 7, 2006.
  5. ^ Bruner, Rob. "Sayonara, Puffy". Entertainment Weekly, April 3, 2001. Accessed December 7, 2006.
  6. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4N5Xfx7qLc Interview with Jimmy Kimmel
  7. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_lNbB3enN0&feature=related Performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live
  8. ^ Fuoco, Christina. " LiveDaily Interview: Puffy AmiYumi ". LiveDaily , July 19, 2006. Accessed October 16, 2007.
  9. ^ Cartoon Network Unveils Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi Float For the 79th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Time Warner press release, October 31, 2005. Accessed December 7, 2006.
  10. ^ "Puffy appointed goodwill ambassadors to U.S. for tourism", Kyodo News, January 16, 2006. Accessed December 7, 2006.

External links

Preceded by
Junko Miyama
Japan Record Award for Best New Artist
1996
Succeeded by
Rina Chinen

Simple English

Puffy AmiYumi was the one of the more popular J-pop groups of the 1990s. The band has two members, Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura. It was first formed in 1996.

They had some success when they went to the United States to record and perform. They had a short-lived cartoon television series on Cartoon Network. It can still be seen occasionally on the Japanese version of Cartoon Network.

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