Born in April of 1986 in Tokyo, Japan, Erika (born Erika Sawajiri) originally made a name for herself as a junior model and actress before successfully breaking into the music business. She began her modeling career in 1999, with Angel Eyes, and eventually became a regular fixture on television variety shows and dramas. Her first single, released under the name Kaoru Amane (the name of a character she played in the film Taiyou No Uta), was a number one hit, and she signed a contract with Sony. Her next single, "Free," was released under the name Erika in July of 2007 and also hit the top of the charts. While her musical career only had a handful of entries, her film, modeling, and other media output was such that in 2008 Erika and her management decided a break -- at least for a short while -- was in order.
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