Tata Amita Marie Young is another ethnic mix gone fantastically right. Born on December 14, 1980 to an American father and a Thai mother, she grew up in the land of Siam immersed in music and dance. At age 11, Tata beat no fewer than 5,300 kids to win the Thailand Junior Singing Contest.
Yamaha Music took the young prodigy under its wing and prepped her for a life in entertainment. When she turned 14, Grammy Entertainment, Thailand’s biggest showbiz firm, got her a recording contract. One year later, Tata had become a bestseller. Her self-titled debut album sold a million copies in less than five months.
Tata’s second album was called Tata 1,000,000 Copies Celebration, in homage to its predecessor. This sophomore release also flew off the shelves. On top of the dollar figures she was generating, Tata was swarmed with awards and accolades, including those for Best Recording Artist and Album of the Year at the 1995 Radio Vote Awards in Thailand.
Already a craze in Thailand, Tata began to ensnare fans in other countries. World Telly Broadcast, an Australian show that features Asian music stars, chose Tata to represent Thailand. In the spring of 1996, she played a show at the Hollywood Palladium. The Chinese government, too, caught word of Tata, choosing her as Thailand’s emissary in the Hong Kong handover celebrations. Yet even these successes abroad could not trump one she saw at home. In 1997, Tata became the first entertainer in 14 years to receive the Golden Pikkanes God Award from the King of Thailand.
At 17, Tata stepped out of her singing comfort zone to seduce the camera lens. The Red Bike Story was her first movie, and it blew away expectations when it broke an all-time attendance record for any movie in the history of Thailand. Tata was recognized for her work with the award for Best Thai Actress at the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.
Tata followed up her acting debut with roles in two other successful movies, O-Negative and Plai Tien. By this time, companies were stampeding to get her to endorse their products, with Fuji Film and Yamaha motorcycles taking first dibs. It wasn’t long before Tata’s face was splashed in just about every beauty magazine in the region.
At only 17, Tata was one of Thailand’s most influential people, and was picked as such by Elle magazine. A year later, Asiaweek named her one of the continent’s 25 most influential trendmakers.
Tata refuses to rest on her many laurels, and continues to break new ground. Her first English album, I Believe, was released in February of 2005, and the cheeky single “Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy” immediately made headlines.
Tata Young lives in Bangkok, where her short-lived relationships, including one with tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan, give her ample subject matter for songs.