AI, born as Ai Carina Uemura/Carina Ai Uemura (植村 愛 カリーナ) in Los Angeles on November 2, 1981,to a Japanese father and Italian-Japanese mother and is a Japanese American RnB singer who spent her childhood in between LA, California and Kagoshima, Japan; though she attended elementary and middle school/secondary school specificallyin Japan and high school in the states.
Ai began pursuing music after performing for a cousin's wedding and being asked about her career in the music industry, as well as hearing a gospel performance in 1993 at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. In LA, she attended high school in Glendale, but later switched to Los Angeles County High School of the Arts after auditioning, as she found school difficult due to never formally learning English. She became a member of the girl's gospel choir at the school and in 1998, the choir performed "Dream" at a Mary J. Blige concert at the Universal Amphitheatre; Ai also featured as a dancer in Janet Jackson's music video for her song "Go Deep" that same year.
One year later, Ai joined an Asian American girl group called SX4. The group was produced by Kool & the Gang member George Brown. However, during a performance of Monica's "For You I Will" on a local radio show in Japan while on vacation, she was scouted by BMG Japan. Ai took the offer after her high school graduation and left SX4 after being a member for two years.
She later debuted as a singer in 2000 under BMG Japan, but later moved to Def Jam Japan and rose to famewith her single "2004 Ai".
Ai combines American soul music and the deep emotions of Japanese with her unique andtrademark husky voice. In her 20 year career, she has collaborated with thebiggest names in the music industry, such as Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, JimJones, Trey Songz, Lloyd, Jeremih, BOYS II MEN, K'naan, Judith Hill, NamieAmuro, Atsushi from EXILE, Rain, the Jacksons, and Chaka Khan.