A-mei (Chinese: 阿妹; pinyin: ā mèi; born August 9, 1972), also known by her birth name Zhang Huimei or as Chang Hui-mei (Traditional Chinese: 張惠妹; Simplified Chinese: 张惠妹; pinyin: Zhāng Huìmèi), is an aboriginal Taiwanese pop singer and occasional songwriter. She is also known by her aboriginal name 古歷來·阿蜜特 (Gulilai Amit). She was born in the rugged mountains of eastern Taiwan and is the third youngest of nine siblings. A-mei made her debut in the world of music in 1996, achieving instant mega commercial success. She has frequently been called a diva of the Mandarin pop music scene, as well as the "Pride of Taiwan". She has won numerous music awards and become one of the biggest music sensations within the pop music pantheon of the Mandarin-speaking world.
A-mei is an ethnic Puyuma. Like most Taiwanese aborigines she was exposed to tribal music during her childhood. A-mei's mother used to record herself singing and then play back the tape for her daughters to hear. A-mei had always been fascinated by music; she once said she stuck to the radio and would rush to watch the late night music program introducing English songs when she was a little girl. She also showed great eagerness to perform in public, forcing her friends to listen to her sing.
A-mei first connected to the entertainment business by joining the televised "Five Lights Singing Contest" by TTV in 1994, after encouragment by her father, who was ill at that time. A-mei made all her way through to the finals but eventually lost in the final round. She felt very disappointed and most likely to quit her interest in music competition. A-mei's father then told her "you definitely can sing and perform songs beautifully, why don't you join the competition again to show that you got a talent in music?" So A-mei was encouraged and then decided to make a second attempt in the following year. This time her stable and superb performances were much appreciated by the judges, and A-mei was awarded the champion. Unfortunately, Amei's father passed away before her victory, making A-mei sad and aimless until she began to sing in pubs with a rock band formed by her musician cousin. She was later discovered by the popular singer/producer Chang Yu-Sheng (張雨生) and started her career.