Maki Goto (後藤 真希, Gotō Maki, born September 23, 1985 in Edogawa, Tokyo, Japan) is a J-pop singer currently signed to the sublabel Rhythm Zone under the Avex Trax label. Before joining Avex, she was a soloist of Hello! Project and member of Morning Musume. She has performed in numerous Hello! Project subgroups such as Petitmoni, Akagumi 4, 7-nin Matsuri, Sexy 8, Gomattou and Nochiura Natsumi.
Early in Summer 2008, Goto signed up with Rhythm Zone, the renowned management company of other artists like EXILE and Koda Kumi, and started to release under Avex.
Success in Hello! Project
In 1999, Maki Goto was selected as the only member for the 3rd generation of Morning Musume. Their first single after Goto joined, "Love Machine" sold over a million copies, over nine times the amount of copies they had sold for their previous single. During her time in Morning Musume she was one of the founding members of Petitmoni and she started a solo singing career in 2001 with the single "Ai no Bakayarō" (愛のバカやろう?). Until her graduation from Morning Musume she was one of the leading vocalists in most of the songs released. Post-graduation she has mostly concentrated on her solo career and occasionally on limited time Hello! Project units such as Gomattou, Nochiura Natsumi, and DEF.DIVA. As time has passed, she has increasingly concentrated on acting in addition to singing. She has also performed at the Asia song festival 2005 in Pusan, Korea to represent Japan.
In early 2007, Goto was chosen to be a member of Morning Musume Tanjō 10 Nen Kinentai—a unit created to celebrate Morning Musume's 10th anniversary as a group. Morning Musume Tanjō 10 Nen Kinentai also consists of Natsumi Abe, Kaori Iida, Risa Niigaki and Koharu Kusumi. Their single, "Bokura ga Ikiru My Asia", was released on January 24, 2007.
Her seventeenth single, "Secret" (シークレット?), was released on April 11, 2007. On September 19, 2007, Goto's fourth original album How to Use Sexy was released.
On October 20, 2007, Goto's younger brother and former member of EE Jump idol group Yūki Goto (祐樹) was arrested on the grounds he and two accomplices, aged 18 and 19, had broken into a construction site in Edogawa, Tokyo on July 15, 2007 and made off with 80 reels of electric cable worth approximately 1 million yen. According to Flash magazine, Goto and one of her brother's accomplices had been romantically involved for some time, after the two met at Yūki's wedding in 2005. Due to the circumstances surrounding the robbery scandal, they haven't been in contact with each other.
On October 28, 2007, during the last concert of her G-EmotionII ~How to Use Sexy~ tour, Goto suddenly announced to fans that she would be graduating from Hello! Project, though she was also leaving UpFront Agency completely. Her graduation was said to be that she was overworked and overly stressed, causing her health problems. She also had different ideas of the direction of her career than what her agency had planned. Because of her graduation, she would not be able to participate in the Hello! Project 2008 Winter concert tour, previously said to be because of "scheduling conflicts".
Goto's official blog reopened on March 25, 2008. Over the course of several entries, she revealed that she was in Los Angeles, California, taking singing and dancing lessons. In mid-June, rumours were confirmed that Goto signed under the label Rhythm Zone, an Avex Trax sublabel.