Mari Hamada started singing commercially whilst at Metropolitan Musashigaoka high school when she formed a punk rock band called Mari Band. After graduating high school she attended Aoyama Gakuin University, near Tokyo, Japan. At university she joined a backing band called Hamachan and sang backing vocals for a group called Misty Cats. This started to gain her some attention from a wider public but hard rock was at that time largely unknown inside Japan and was not considered commercial.
In 1985 the band released their fifth studio album called Blue Revolution with a single also called Blue Revolution that gained them wider attention from the Japanese public. This was followed up by In the Precious Age in 1987 for which the band brought in a foreign producer to give them a more commercial sound. By this time Mari had started experimenting with influences from other musical genres such as including catchy pop melodies on a hard rock base. In 1988 they recorded the theme used on NHK, the Japanese radio and television broadcasts for the Seoul Olympics, bringing them to the attention of a much bigger audience. The band were offered a place on an annual televised singing contest called “The Red and White”, one of Japan’s most watched television programs, but declined the offer. Instead, they released their new single called Heart and Soul.
The following year they released one of their most popular albums to date, Return to Myself, which included the single Return to Myself followed six months later by Colors which included the singles Tomorrow and Anti-Heroine, the latter of which went to number one on the Japanese charts.
In 1993, Mari participated in a charity group called “Used to be a Child”, a concept similar to Band Aid where performers donate earnings from a single to charitable causes, in this case the money went to Imabari City’s Islet Organization. This gave her the opportunity to tour extensively with the group and in 1994 she appeared for the first time in Europe and an album, Introducing… Mari Hamada was also released in Europe.
Studio albums then followed at two-year intervals with Persona (1996), Philosophia (1998), Blanche (2000), and Marigold (2002), but Mari took a break from live performance until 2002 when she performed live at Akasaka Blitz just before it was completely demolished and rebuilt. After that Mari continued to record an album every two years and added a live tour each year into the program. In 2010 the album Aestetica got heavy airplay and her concert at the Nakano Sun Plaza hall was recorded live and released as a 2-DVD box set Mari Hamada Live in Tokyo ‘Aestetica’ . Within two weeks the album was number three on the Japanese album charts. The 2012 album Legenda, recorded live at Nakano Sun Plaza hall on 26 May 2012, went to number 5 on the Oricon Music singles chart and number 9 on the album chart.
In January 2014 Mari released a comprehensive box set consisting of 4 CDs, 2 DVDs and a book with tracks including some rare items from her back catalog including Bye Bye My Little Summer, Someone Like You and for the first time on CD, Heartless Woman. In April 2014 Mari performed an extended concert in Tokyo including 28 tracks which was filmed for WOWOW, the first private satellite broadcast pay television station in Japan. This was aired on Japanese television on 20 July 2014 including two interviews with Mari and was due to be released as a 2-DVD set and on Blu-ray disc in January 2015.
In August 2014, Mari performed live at the Summer Sonic Festival, an annual two-day rock festival held at two venues simultaneously with bands switching venues for the second day. On 31 August, 3 September and 7 September 2014, Mari performed concerts with a symphony orchestra titled “Rock Queen Orchestra.”