biography - 22.11.2010 12:29


In 1991, Hiro formed the R&B group Japanese Soul Brothers, which later became J Soul Brothers in 1999, with five members. As J Soul Brothers, the group released their first single in October of 1999 and then only released two more with this first lineup, which only lasted two years. The singer, SASA, left the group to start his own solo career in August, leaving the rest to change the group’s name to EXILE.

At J Soul Brothers’ last live with SASA on August 24th, they introduced two new singers, ATSUSHI and SHUN. With this lineup J Soul Brothers turned into the famous R&B group EXILE. About a month after this new transformation, the seven-member EXILE released their first single, Your eyes only ~aimai na boku no rinkaku~ on September 27, 2001, which reached all the way to fourth place in the Oricon charts. Released in June of 2002, their first album, our style, sold very well and also placed in the Oricon charts.

It wasn’t until January 2003 that their second album, Styles of Beyond, came out and reached number one in the Oricon charts. Keeping up with this trend of best-selling releases, they released many more new singles over the next few years. Their break out single, choo choo TRAIN, was actually a cover of HIRO’s old group, Zoo. At the beginning of 2005, the group was able to release three best-of albums on the first of the year. In July, EXILE collaborated with the famous rock band, GLAY, releasing a single called SCREAM.

The year 2006 was one of major change for EXILE. It started on March 29th, with the release of their fourth major album, ASIA. On the same day as this release one of their vocalists, SHUN, left to continue his solo career under his real name of Kiyokiba Shunsuke. A few months later in June, performer AKIRA joined the group. At the same time, it was announced there would be public auditions for a new vocalist in six different cities in Japan. The final audition was called “EXILE Vocal Battle Audition 2006 ~ASIAN DREAM~. The contestants were narrowed down to two singers, who competed later that year at a show at the Budokan on September 22nd. TAKAHIRO won, becoming their new vocalist.

With the addition of the new vocalist, this became the start of EXILE’s second stage. The next year was a busy one for the group as they had many releases. It started in March with EXILE EVOLUTION, the first album with TAKAHIRO on vocals. The rest of the year was filled with their nation-wide tour, many single releases and another album released at the end of the year. The album, EXILE LOVE, became the best selling album of 2008. It also contained the first clips from their original anime, “Examurai,” which re-casted the members as samurai. “Examurai” later became a full length anime series with HIRO producing the series, with a manga following.

In 2008, EXILE announced “EXILE PERFECT YEAR 2008,” a year in which they released three best-of albums. The three albums were EXILE CATCHY BEST, EXILE ENTERTAINMENT BEST, and EXILE BALLAD BEST, all selling over 400,000 in the first week of release.

The next year was full of activity and changes for the group. March brought numerous announcements including a new campaign called “EXILE GENERATION.” The first part of this campaign announced members of the second generation of J SOUL BROTHERS were to join EXILE, making them a fourteen member unit. Their first single with this new lineup was THE MONSTER ~Someday~, which came out on April 15th. They also went on another arena tour titled EXILE LIVE TOUR 2009 "THE MONSTER," covering 34 dates and attracting over 450,000 people. This tour was later turned into a live DVD which came out in October of 2009.

In November 2009, EXILE was given the honor of performing in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo celebrating the 20th anniversary of Emperor Akahito’s reign. They ended the year with the release of Aisubeki mirai e, their first original full-length album since EXILE LOVE in December 2007. EXILE’s members also have many side projects in addition to EXILE, yet the group is always active.
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