Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎あゆみ Hamasaki Ayumi, also 濱崎歩; born October 2, 1978) is a Japanese recording artist, lyricist, model, and actress. Also called "Ayu" by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the "Empress of Pop" because of her popularity and widespread influence in Japan and throughout Asia. Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for ××. The album debuted atop the Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan.