Koda Kumi (倖田來未) (born November 13, 1982), is a Japanese solo rhythm and blues singer. She was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan. She debuted in the professional singing career on December 6, 2000.
Kumi’s first single track is “Take Back”, which was released in the United States in March 2001. Her follow-up single is “Trust Your Love”, which held the 39th position in Billboard’s Hot 100 singles sales chart and the first position in Billboard’s Hot Dance Music and Maxi-Singles chart. Her first album was Affection, produced by Max Matsuura. It contains remixes by Hex Hector and Jonathan Peters. She also performed the Japanese version of 1000 Words, a song from the video game, Final Fantasy X-2. She is also the voice actress for Lenne in the Japanese version of that video game.
To honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack, Kumi collaborated with Korean singer Kwon BoA on the charity album The Meaning of Peace, produced by Tetsuya Komuro, one of the most prolific, famous, and successsful music producers in Japan.
She is been widely known for her effort to gain popularity as the singer for the Japanese version of Final Fantasy X-2, singing “1000 no Kotoba” (1000 Words) and the opening song “real Emotion.” Although she recorded English versions of both songs, Square Enix believed that it sounded low-quality or lackluster, and many English-speaking fans have commented on the versions’ Engrish lyrics and pronunciation. Consequently, Square Enix wisely* opted to have Jade of Sweetbox to perform the English versions of the Final Fantasy X-2 vocal songs. However, Kumi’s versions were later released as b-sides on her single, “Come With Me”.
Kumi is also a spokeswoman for Christian Dior in Japan. Her favorite artists are Christina Aguilera and Ja Rule.
Her first concert in the United States took place at the Marriot at the Capital in Austin, Texas, on January 30, 2004 as a part of the Ushicon 3 anime convention.
Many gamers found Jade’s own version of “Real Emotion” horrible. Jade’s english is definitely better. But Koda Kumi’s voice has been a much better choice for the introduction sequence. Koda Kumi’s english isn’t as bad as some people are saying.
Official webpage (In Japanese)