generasia:Featured article for 2020 week 4
Abe Mao (阿部真央) is a Japanese pop singer-songwriter signed to Pony Canyon. She began playing piano when she was in third grade, and by junior high, she decided she wanted to be a singer. When she was high school, she dropped piano and started playing guitar. During the summer of her second year of high school in June 2006, the manager of a music store recommended that Abe should participate in Oita's YAMAHA TEENS' MUSIC FESTIVAL 2006. She won, with her song "Haha no Uta". The following November, she participated in the same competition at the national level and was awarded an encouragement prize. She graduated from high school in Spring 2008 and proceeded to move to Tokyo.
She released four acoustic songs on iTunes before making her debut in January 2009 with the album Free, which managed to become #1 on Billboard's Japan Hot 100 chart. Following the album, she released three singles, the first two reaching the top 20 on the Oricon single charts, and the third reaching #2 on the Japan Hot 100 chart a week before the physical release of the single. This was was followed by her second album, Pop, which was her first top 5 album on the Oricon albums chart.
Her ninth studio album, Mada Ikemasu, is released this week on January 22nd.