An artist with an incredible track record, UA has made a career of recording some of the most challenging yet beautiful music in Japan.
Influenced by Aretha Franklin and Janice Joplin, UA, whose name translates from the Swahili word for "flower" or "kill", was studying at a fine arts college in Saga when she decided to become a soul vocalist. She was discovered in 1994 while performing in a jazz bar in Osaka.
UA released her debut single in 1995 and went on to record three studio albums and one live album as a solo singer. Her experiences as a newlywed and mother informed her 1998 disc, Ametora.
In 1999, UA teamed up with Blankey Jet City guitarist Asai Kenichi on the songs "Strawberry Time" and "Gogo". The two liked the collaboration so much, they formed AJICO and drafted TOKIE from RIZE and Shiino Kyoichi, UA's tour drummer.
AJICO released an album and toured in 2001. Later that year, UA filmed her first starring role as an actress in the movie Mizu no Onna. Photographer Makoto also made UA the subject of a picture book.
Mizu no Onna was released in theaters in Fall 2002, around the same time she released her fourth solo album, Doroboo.