|Born In :||Manhattan New York City nowrap New York state New York United States|
|Occupation(s) :||Singer songwriter arranger producer|
Utada Hikaru (宇多田 ヒカル, born January 19, 1983), who has also gone by Hikaru Utada and the mononym Utada (English: ), is a Japanese singer-songwriter and producer. Born in the United States to Japanese parents, record producer Utada Teruzane and enka singer Abe Junko, Utada began to write music and lyrics at an early age and often traveled to Tokyo, as a result of her father’s job. Eventually, a recording contract with Toshiba-EMI was signed and, under the stage name “Cubic U”, Utada released her English-language début album Precious in early 1998, but was a commercial failure. In the following year, heavily influenced by R&B and dance-pop, her Japanese-language début First Love was released and became an instant success. Backed by the massive success of singles “Automatic”, “Time Will Tell” and “Movin’ On Without You”, the album sold two million copies in its first week in Japan, topped the Oricon charts for six non-consecutive weeks and went on to sell six million more throughout the rest of 1999. First Love eventually became the country’s best-selling album of all time.
Her following album Distance was released in early 2001 and spawned Utada’s biggest hit singles —”Addicted to You”, “Wait & See (Risk)” and “Can You Keep a Secret?”—, which became million-sellers. The album was commercially successful and broke several sales records after three million copies were sold in its first week of availability in Japan, instantly becoming the country’s fastest-selling album. In 2002, backed by chart-topping singles such as “Traveling”, “Hikari” and “Sakura Drops”, Deep River, which incorporates elements of pop folk, was released and went on to become one of Japan’s top-selling records of all-time. Subsequent full-length releases —Exodus, Ultra Blue and Heart Station— achieved million-selling status certified by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. After a prolonged hiatus, Utada released the acoustic-driven Fantôme, which became her ninth number-one album on the Oricon charts.
By the end of the 2000s, Utada was deemed “the most influential artist of the decade” in the Japanese music landscape by The Japan Times. Utada’s commercial success has made her one of Japan’s top-selling recording artists of all time with over fifty-two million records sold since launching her career in the late 1990s. Twelve of her singles have reached number-one on the Oricon Singles Chart, while nine of her albums have become chart-toppers. Six of her full-length releases are among the country’s highest-selling albums of all time; including First Love, Distance and Deep River, which are among the top ten best-selling records of Japan’s music history. Additionally, Utada is best known by international audiences for writing and producing three theme-song contributions to Square Enix and Disney’s collaborative video game series Kingdom Hearts: “Simple and Clean”, “Sanctuary”, and “Don’t Think Twice”.