Music

【Utada Hikaru】Japanese Pop Singer who succeed in the world

 

Utada Hikaru (宇多田ヒカル) is a Japanese Pop singer and songwriter. She is one of Japan’s most successful artists of all time. Her debut album First Love is the NO.1 best selling album in Asian music history with over 7.65 million copies sold in Japan alone.

In total she has sold over 38,000,000 million records in Japan, and 3 of her albums are in the Top 10 best-selling albums of all time in Japan (#1, #4, #8), making her one of the most successful and popular singers in J-pop history.

 

She was considered “the most influential artist of the decade” in the Japanese landscape by The Japan Times.

 

 

 

She was born in Manhattan, New York as the only child ☆

Utada is bilingual as she was raised in both New York and Tokyo. She is also known in the west under her English language project name ‘Utada’, most famous for singing the Kingdom Hearts theme song, “Hikari / Simple And Clean” and the Kingdom Hearts ll theme song, “Passion / Sanctuary”. (2017)

Initially, Utada’s music had a heavy R&B style to it, but later her music progressed to a more pop-experimental tone. Her distinct R&B sound brought her much attention with her first release in Japan, “Automatic / time will tell”.

 

♪ Automatic ♪ (1998)

 

 


☆★☆★  Profile  ☆★☆

 

Birthday : January 19, 1983

Blood Type : A

Height : 158cm  (5’2″)

 Childhood Dreams: To become a manga artist or a scientist in a white coat

 Favorite Animal: Cat

 Favorite Color: Purple

 

 

 

☆ Early Life ☆

Utada Hikaru was born in Manhattan, New York on January 19, 1983, and is the only child. Her parents both worked in the music industry.

Her mother was an extremely famous Enka  singer in the 1970’s, who went under the alias of Fuji Keiko. Utada felt as if both Tokyo and New York were her hometown.

 

Utada did not originally like the idea of having music as a career, as she saw her parents leading a hectic life and sacrificing so much for music. She was immersed in the music business, and frequently had to sleep on the couch in her parents’ recording studio.

When she was 10 years old, her parents asked her if she was able to write a song. She reluctantly tried, and wrote the song and also did small vocal parts in her parents’ music project.

 

While in school in New York, other students had trouble pronouncing her name ‘Hikaru’, and eventually shortened it to ‘Hikki’. At the time she did not realize what ‘Hickey’ (a kiss mark) meant, but only found out later on.

The nickname became widely used by both Utada and her fans (both English and Japanese). Utada moved to Tokyo in 1998, studying at Seisen International School and later at The American School in Japan from which she graduated in 2000.

 

 

 

First Love ♡

In 1998, Utada debuted in Japan as ‘Utada Hikaru’, with the single, “Automatic / time will tell”. This was, in part, due to her distinct R&B/Pop style, which had never been seen in Japan before.

Two months later, her follow-up single “Movin’ on without you” also reached No.1 on Oricon charts.

 

♪ Movin’ on without you ♪    (1999)

 

A month later, Utada’s much anticipated debut album “First Love” was released, debuting at No.1, and eventually selling an excess of 10 million copies, making it the most sold album in Japanese music history.

A post-album single for the song “First Love” was released a month after the album, due to its popularity.

 

♪ First Love ♪   (English Version)

 

Following the success of “First Love”, Utada’s next single, “Addicted To You” was released in late 1999. This became Utada’s second No.1 hit. She followed up this release with a similar chart topping hit in April of 2000 entitled “Wait & See 〜Risk〜”.

 

♪ Wait & See ♪  (2000)

 

Both these singles were produced by the famed American Hip-Hop/R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  The next single of the era was a double A-side, “For You / Time Limit”.

 

 

 

In early 2000’s

After these recent releases, Utada decided to take a break from the music business to study biology at Columbia University in New York.  However, she dropped out after half a semester because “…it wasn’t as difficult as [she] was hoping it would be.”

In early 2001, Utada released the single “Can You Keep A Secret?”, which not only won the Golden Disc Award for “Song of The Year” and a “JASRAC Silver Award”, but became the No.1 single of the year.

 

Directly following this single was Utada’s much anticipated sophomore album, “Distance”. This album became the most sold album in 2001 worldwide. It won the Golden Disc Award for “Pop Album of The Year”.

 

♪ Traveling ♪ (2001)

 

 

 

Marriage and Divorce

In 2002, Utada shocked the Japanese press by marrying her music video director Kiriya Kazuaki who was 15 years her senior. In her defense, Utada said that it does not matter at what age that someone gets married at, as they are equally inexperienced (it would always be the first time).

 

♪ Dareka no Negai ga Kanau koro ♪    (2004)

 

 

♪ This is Love ♪   (2006)

 

 

But… in March 2007 the couple split.

 

♪ Flavor of Life ♪    (2007)

 

《Lyrics in Japanese  》
《Read more》

 

 

♫ Flavor of Life ♫   (English Cover)

 

 

♪ Stay Gold ♪  (2007)

(how to play piano ♪)

 

♪ Prisoner of Love ♪   (2008)

 

 

♪ Goodbye Happiness ♪    (2010)

 

 

♪ Sakura Nagashi ♪ (2012) (English)

 

 

 

 

Overcome the sadness…

It was announced on August 22nd, 2013 that Utada Hikaru’s mother, enka singer Fuji Keiko (real name Abe Junko) had apparently committed suicide, she was 62. She was found on the ground facing upward in front of an apartment in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

She was transported to the hospital, where she soon passed away. The identity of the body was confirmed by her ex-husband.

 

Utada hikaru (Left) and her mother (Right)

 

Then, In 2014, she married the Italian bartender Francesco Calliano, and in 2015, she announced the birth of her first son in her personal blog.😃

On January 20, 2016, her website confirmed a new song for the NHK Asadora “Toto Nee-chan”, titled “Hanataba wo Kimi ni” (Flowers to My Love ), going on air on April 4th.

 

 

♪ Hanataba wo Kimi ni ♪    (2016)

 

 

♪ Hanataba wo Kimi ni ♪  (English Cover)

 

 

Another song was confirmed by her staff on March 4, called “Manatsu no Tooriame”, to be the theme of NTV’s NEWS ZERO, starting from the same day as the drama.

 

Both songs are being released as digital singles in April 15, along their music videos. Utada’s team then announced the celebration of her comeback through a webpage entitled the “NEW-TURN Project” which features a cherry blossom tree that blooms whenever someone buys her music and “#おかえりHIKKI” is used via twitter.

Proceeds from the project will fund the planting of cherry blossom trees in areas affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake.

 

On August 8, 2016, Utada unveiled the name of her sixth Japanese studio album, Fantôme, as well as the track list and album cover. The album consisted of 11 tracks including 8 new tracks and her 3 previous singles.

 

 


 

Utada was 16 when her first single hit Japan. Her first album, First Love,  still holds the record in Japan for highest sales ever. She had an unusual sound to her voice.

Her mother was a beloved singer of enka, Japanese traditional music, and her father was a famous music producer. Utada grew up between the US and Japan, drinking in the influence of both musical cultures.

 

She makes a contribution to support group for suicide and child abuse.

Utada is pretty universally loved by everyone. 😀

 

 

 

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