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Famous Like Me > Composer > U > Hikaru Utada

Profile of Hikaru Utada on Famous Like Me

Name: Hikaru Utada  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 19th January 1983
Place of Birth: New York, New York, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Utada Hikaru

Hikaru Utada (宇多田ヒカル Utada Hikaru, born January 19, 1983), also known as "Hikki" to her Japanese fans, is a J-Pop music star. In an interview, she stated that she plans to use the English-order name (Hikaru Utada) to separate her "English" and "Japanese" personas; however, her most recent American releases, "Devil Inside" and "Exodus '04", and her album, Exodus were released under the name "Utada". Utada Hikaru is one of the most popular and successful Asian artists today, given her personality, singing, songwriting, and producing ability, looks, lifestyle, and upbringing.


She was born in New York City, New York to Japanese parents who both had roots in the Japanese music industry: her father, Teruzane Skingg Utada, was a producer, while her mother, Junko Utada, was an enka singer (she performed under the stage name "Keiko Fuji"). She made her first professional recording at the age of twelve, and recorded her first album, Precious, in 1996 under the pseudonym Cubic U. The album led to her career overseas. In a recent MTV interview (MTV's You Hear It First, October 2004), Utada said: "Someone in Japan heard it, at a Japanese record company, and he said, 'Oh, can't you write in Japanese? You speak Japanese.' And I didn't want to say no, so I had to try it."

"Time Will Tell"

She moved to Tokyo later that year and attended The American School in Japan, while continuing to record on a new contract with Toshiba/EMI. She soon made her mark on Japanese music with her successful single "Automatic", soon followed by the album First Love, which sold over five million copies in a month during March and April of 1999, and placed Utada among the 100 wealthiest people in Japan. She also broke the record of units sold on a single album in Japan; she still holds the record (in 2005).

The album has sold more than ten million copies in Asia.

Music into the 2000s

Utada returned to New York in 2000 to attend Columbia University as a freshman, but took leave from it within the year. She continued to record, however, and her two subsequent albums, Distance (2001) and Deep River (2002), also went multi-platinum. Shortly after the release of the latter, she announced her marriage to Kazuaki Kiriya, a photographer and director fifteen years her senior who directed her videos "Final Distance", "Traveling", and "Sakura Drops" in September 2002.

The video for Utada's 2001 song "Can You Keep a Secret" received some attention as part of International Week, which coincided with the 2001 EMAs, on the American channel MTV2. That video's airplay was likely Utada's first chance at exposure in the United States.

So far she is best known in the western hemisphere for singing "Simple and Clean" sample [â–¶], the theme to the video game series "Kingdom Hearts," which is an English version of her popular song "Hikari". She also performed a well-received duet with Foxy Brown, "Blow My Whistle", which was featured on the Rush Hour 2 soundtrack. Her most successful singles include "Can You Keep a Secret?", "Addicted to You", and "First Love".

Breaking into the English market

On October 5, 2004, Utada Hikaru released her North American debut album, Exodus, under the name "Utada" (for fear of fans mutilating her Japanese nickname, Hikki). It was released nearly a month earlier, on September 9 in Japan, with a special booklet and housed in a cardboard slipcase. In an MTV interview, Utada said: "There really aren't any completely Asian people singing right now. For me, it's an experiment to see what people are gonna think of it".

But her American debut as an Island Def Jam Music Group artist was met with indifference by the American market, perhaps due in part to poor promotion on her record label's part. Despite the failure in the international markets, this album topped the charts in Japan, though it sold less than her releases as Utada Hikaru. Also, "Devil Inside" became a club hit in the U.S. and topped the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Airplay charts.

Utada Hikaru calls Exodus her "experiment", and failing to establish as huge a fanbase as the one she has in Japan probably won't bother the young superstar as much as it has her diehard American fans. Her ability to traverse both the English and Japanese languages with ease, along with her songwriting abilities and unique voice place Utada firmly in the hierarchy of Japanese superstars.

"Easy Breezy" was released as the lead single in early August 2004, followed up by the dance blockbuster "Devil Inside" a month and two weeks later. "Exodus '04" was released at the end of June 2005. There is currently no fourth single planned for release in North America from Exodus.

Future plans

Exodus will be released in the U.K. on October 24, 2005, and her debut European single "You Make Me Want to Be a Man" was be released on October 17, 2005.

Her forthcoming single, "Passion", is the theme song for the video game Kingdom Hearts II. It is set to be released on December 14, 2005.



  • Japanese
    • Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol.1 (March 31, 2004) — #1
    • Deep River (June 19, 2002) — #1 3,605,000 copies sold
    • Distance (March 28, 2001) — #1 4,467,000 copies sold
    • First Love (March 10, 1999) — #1 7,648,000 copies sold (worldwide: 10,000,000 copies sold) (Holds record for most copies of an album sold in Japanese history)
  • English
    • Exodus (September 8, 2004 [Japan]; October 5, 2004 [USA]; October 24, 2005 [UK]) — #1 JP ~30,000 copies sold (1,074,000 copies sold in Japan)
    • Precious (1998)


  • Japanese
    • "Passion" (December 14, 2005)
    • "Be My Last" (September 28, 2005) — #1 over 117,000 copies sold (week 3)
    • "Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro" (April 21, 2004) — #1 365,000 copies sold
    • "Colors" (January 29, 2003) — #1 894,000 copies sold
    • "Sakura Drops/Letters" (May 9, 2002) — #1 687,000 copies sold
    • "Hikari" (March 20, 2002) — #1 598,000 copies sold
    • "Traveling" (November 28, 2001) — #1 856,000 copies sold
    • "Final Distance" (July 25, 2001) #2 582,000 copies sold
    • "Can You Keep a Secret?" (February 16, 2001) — #1 1,485,000 copies sold
    • "For You/Time Limit" (June 30, 2000) — #1 909,000 copies sold
    • "Wait & See -Risk-" (April 19, 2000) #1 1,662,000 copies sold
    • "Addicted to You" (November 10, 1999) — #1 1,784,000 copies sold
    • "First Love" (April 28, 1999) (12cm) — #2 501,000 copies sold
    • "First Love" (April 28, 1999) (8cm) — #6 303,000 copies sold
    • "Movin' on Without You" (February 17, 1999) (12cm) — #1 880,000 copies sold
    • "Movin' on Without You" (February 17, 1999) (8cm) — #5 347,000 copies sold
    • "Automatic/Time Will Tell" (December 9, 1998) (12cm) — #2 1,291,000 copies sold
    • "Automatic/Time Will Tell" (December 9, 1998) (8cm) — #4 772,000 copes sold
  • English
    • "You Make Me Want to Be a Man" (October 17, 2005)
    • "Exodus '04" (June 21, 2005) — #24 Billboard Hot Dance/Club Airplay
    • "Devil Inside" (September 14, 2004) — #1 Billboard Hot Dance/Club Airplay
    • "Easy Breezy" (August 3, 2004)


  • Passion (December 14, 2005)
  • Be My Last (September 28, 2005)
  • Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro (July 28, 2004)
  • Utada Hikaru in Budokan 2004; Hikaru no 5 (July 28, 2004)
  • UH Live Streaming: 20Dai wa Ike Ike! (March 29, 2003)
  • Colors (March 12, 2003)
  • UH Single Clip Collection Vol. 3 (September 30, 2002)
  • Traveling (January 30, 2002)
  • Utada Hikaru Unplugged (November 28, 2001)
  • UH Single Clip Collection Vol. 2 (September 27, 2001)
  • Wait & See ~Risk~ (June 30, 2001)
  • Bohemian Summer 2000 (December 19, 2000)
  • UH Single Clip Collection Vol. 1 (December 16, 2000)

Others — various artists

  • Japanese
    • Beautiful Drivin' Classic — Wish (November 6th 2003)
  • English
    • Unity: Official Athens 2004 Olympic Games (July 27, 2004)
    • Def Jam's Rush Hour 2 Soundtrack (July 31, 2001)

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Hikaru Utada