Name: 前田有紀 (Maeda Yuki)
Date of birth: August 28th, 1979
Place of birth: Japan
Date of debut: April 2000 (Member #28)
Graduated: March 31st, 2009
Yuki Maeda was a Japanese Enka singer and an actress.
She started her career under the management of Enka singer Hiroshi Itsuki in 1994, before joining Hello! Project as a soloist in 2000. She graduated from Hello! Project in March 2009, continuing her singing career as part of the agency UFA.
In June of 2012, she announced on her twitter account that she was five months pregnant, and that she would retire from the music industry to focus on being a mother.
Before starting a singing career, Yuki Maeda participated in several song contests.
In March 1991, she joined a nationwide karaoke contest, and in 1993 she participated in a talent search for Columbia Records who were looking for new members (for their label).
In 1994, she was a finalist at the 18th Nagasaki Song Festival, and later that year she won the Hiroshi Itsuki ’94 POPULAR SINGER’S CONTEST, singing the song «Hana Banka» («Flower Elegy»).
A few days later, she was in a television show called NHK BS Tournament Song Championship, where she sung the song «Kamome… Kamome» («Seagull… Seagull»). She came in second place, only beaten by Kaori Kondo with one point.
In 1995, she went to Tokyo to study at Meiji Nakano High School, taking vocal lessons at the same time. The same year she was featured as one of the female singers in Hiroshi Itsuki’s duet album Itsuki Hiroshi Duet Special Selection 14, credited as ゆき (Yuki).
She graduated from Meiji Nakano High School in 1998.
2000 & 2001
On April 4th, Maeda appeared on national television for the first time, on the show «Idol wo Sagase».
I am not sure why and how, but Kaori Iida (from Morning Musume) got to be a manager for Hiroshi Itsuki for a while. She liked it and for some reason she was given the opportunity to become Maeda Yuki’s manager.
So in April of 2000, Maeda became a member of Hello! Project and started her career under the renowned enka record label Teichiku with her debut single «Naki Usagi» («Crying Rabbit»). For the summer months, Maeda went on a tour promoting the single, singing at different arenas in five cities. In July she participated in her first Hello! Project concert, performing in 12 cities, with an audience up to 200.000 people. Despite being heavily promoted, the single didn’t chart and total sales are unknown.
She released her second single on the first day of 2001. It is entitled Tokyo You Turn, and is the only single by Maeda which Tsunku has been involved in. Like her first single, this single didn’t chart either and total sales are unknown.
The same year, Danielle from Coconuts Musume became sick, and Maeda took her place in the shuffle group Akagumi 4. She only performed their song once at one concert.
The same year Teichuki released a compilation album featuring Maeda’s single released earlier this year.
2002 & 2003
In 2002, Maeda released her third single, «Tokyo, Yoimachigusa.» She got to perform the song two times on the music show «NHK Enka Kaiyou», and at H!P concerts. Like her first singles, this didn’t chart either and total sales are unknown.
She also participated on Hiroshi Itsuki’s album «Nagoya Misonoza Koen Live 2002 ‘Uta Mai Sou'», where she sang the songs «Hana» and «Shimauta». The live performances were taken form the concert of the same name where Maeda was a special guest.
In the H!P concert that year, she performed not her own song, but Itsuki’s song «Chigiri» («Eternal Promise»). This song would later be released as a single the following year (by Itsuki).
This year Teichiku released a compilation album featuring Maeda’s single. It also features a track where Maeda covers the song «Anata to Ikiru», originally by Teresa Teng.
UFA started releasing a series of albums called «Douyou Pops» («Childrens’ songs») in 2002, where different members from Hello! Project would sing different well known and new childrens’ songs. Six albums, some themed according to the four seasons, and two DVDs with promotional videos were released. Maeda sung several of the songs (check the discography listings), and she is in the promotional video for «Oomakiba wa Midori» («The Big Meadow is Green»).
In 2003, she switched record labels and signed with Up-Front Works and their label zetima, releasing her fourth single «Tokyo Kirigirisu» («Tokyo Crickets»). Starting this year, Oricon changed how they count single releases. Earlier they only counted the top 100 singles, but from now they started counting the top 200 singles. As a result, there are sales figures for «Tokyo Kirigirisu»: the single sold 1,661 copies and charted for two weeks.
She also joined the shuffles for the first time this year. She became a part of the 5nin group SALT5. They released a song called «Get up! Rapper» with a video to accompany it. In the video the girls rap, and it is the first time we get to see Maeda do a dance routine.
She was also a guest at Hiroshi Itsuki’s 55sei Happy Birthday Concert in Yokohama Arena, alongside several other members from H!P (including Coconuts Musume and Morning Musume).
2004 & 2005
In mid-2004, she was transferred to another Up-Front Works record label, Rice Music, which she was a part of until her retirement. She released the singles «Sarasara no Kawa» («Rustling River») and «Nishi Shinjuku de Atta Hito» («The Man I Met in Nishi Shinjuku»). Their promotional videos seem to have a bigger budget than her earlier ones, showing that UFA was willing to push her at this point. Sarasara no Kawa would sell over 2.000 copies, and «Nishi Shinjuku…» would be her best selling single to this date, selling more than 3.000 copies. At the end of the year, Maeda was put in the group H!P All Stars together with the rest of the members in H!P. They released a single which sold a little over 60.000 copies.
2005 was a quiet year for Maeda. She didn’t release any singles nor do anything related to Hiroshi Itsuki, but she participated in the two Hello! Project concerts that year.
2006 & 2007
In 2006, it was announced that Maeda would release her sixth single, entitled «Nagai Tunnel» («Long Tunnel»). It was also announced that this would be her graduation single.
But eventually there was another announcement where the title changed to «Omae no Namida wo Ore ni Kure» («Give Your Tears to Me»), and the graduation reference disappeared entirely. Therefore it is unknown if she was actually going to leave, or if she (or the management) reconsidered. The single sold no more than 500 copies before falling off the charts.
On the same day her single was released, UFA also released a radio drama show on cd, in which Maeda had a role. She would also be part of a play later that year called Showa Kayou Teater Shyuuchaku Eki and she appeared regularly on the Hello! Project cover song show Uta Doki! Pop Classics.
In the summer, a fan club tour with Iida Kaori called Otona no Nouryousai Fan Club Tour 2006 was held. Clips from this concert was released on a fan club dvd called Hello! Days vol. 7.
In 2007, she appeard in three more plays: Tokyo, Far Away and Yokosuka story. She also released her 8th single, «Ai Ai Daiko» («Requited Drums of Love»), which would eventually sell a little over 700 copies.
2008 & 2009
In May and June of 2008, she started hosting a weekly radio show entitled «Maeda Yuki no Yume Ongakukan» («Maeda Yuki’s Music Mansion»). It ran every sunday at night time, and lasted thirty minutes.
After the show went off the air, Maeda became a regular at Music Bird hosting a weekly show entitled «Maeda Yuki’s Music & Diary». This show ended March 31st, 2009. She also hosted NHK Radio Broadcast’s «Uta no Sanpomichi» («Promenade of Songs»), which was set in NHK studio park.
In October, the H!P website announced that 22 of it’s members would graduate from H!P in 2009, including Maeda. She will remain with up-front agency and continue on as a solo singer. She also continued her acting career. This year she was in the plays «Olivia wo Kikinagara» («Listening to Olivia) and «Nekome Kurabu».
In December, two best-of albums were released featuring Maeda; Special Unit Mega Best and Shuffle Unit Mega Best. Later the same month, it was announced that Maeda would release her ninth single. It is called «Kenchana ~Daijoubu~» («I Am All Right») and was released on February 25th.
Maeda graduated from Hello! Project at the end of March of 2009.
After her graduation she was a regular at the radio shows Maeda Yuki no Ai no Uta Kokoro no Uta and Maeda Yuki no Hayaoki Banzai, and hold events on a regular basis. She also started her own blog after her graduation, called «Yuki Style«.
In the summer, it was announced that Maeda would release her first album on September 9th (09.09.09). It ended up being a compilation album of all her singles and their b-sides (excluding the b-sides from her singles under Teichiku) and a remix of her ninth single.
2010 & 2011
In late January, it was announced that Maeda would release her tenth single. It also said that this would be her second release in her «South Korean series», and that it would be released in early April. The single is called «Miyaneo ~Gomen Nasai~» («I Am Sorry»), charted for two weeks and sold almost 800 copies.
Maeda started hosting a new radio show called 前田有紀のぎふとＦｏｒＹｏｕ (Maeda Yuki’s gift For You), starting in early April. It is a show where she plays song requests from listeners and interviews guests active in the music industry. Around the same time she opened her official twitter account.
Since the release of «Kenchana -Daijoubu-«, Maeda starting taking language courses learning to speak Korean. At fan club events she has held since this, her Korean has improved and she says herself she is now capable of every day lingo and basic greetings. For the Korean-themed releases, she started collaborating with a Korean lyricist, singer, composer and screen writer, named Hae-Joon Yoo. He does all of the composing of the music, while Chiyoko Mori does most of the lyrics.
She released her 3rd Korean-themed single, and 11th single overall, in May 2011. It is entitled «Busan Hatsu» («Departing Busan»), and contains five tracks. One of the songs is a Korean version of the title track. It charted for one week and sold 500 copies.
Shortly after the release of the single, it was announced that Maeda would release her first mini-album. It was released in November, and is entitled «Busan Hatsu～Kankoku Series Best～» («Departing Busan -Korean Series Best-«). It is a collection of the A- and B-sides to her Korean singles, in addition to a cover of a famous enka song with Korean lyrics. Like her first album, this also failed to chart the Oricon charts.
In June of 2012, Maeda announced through her twitter account and on her blog that she had married a man she met while studying Korean in South Korea. She also announced she was five months pregnant, and that she had made the decision to retire from the music industry to focus on being a wife and mother. She expressed that she hoped to return to the music industry in the future.
In late November, she gave birth to a baby girl, and announced her retirement as a singer saying she wishes to focus on her family. She had her second child, a boy, in November 2014 and her thord child in august 2016.
In 2013, Hello! Project held a concert called Hello! Project Countdown 2013 ~Hello & Good Bye~, Maeda was one of the acts performing on stage along with several other graduated members.