I’ve been meaning to write a post about Hikaru Utada (or Utada Hikaru – 宇多田 ヒカル – if you do it the Japanese way) for quite a while now, and finally decided to get around to it after discussing her with someone I had met the other day.
Utada Hikaru, also known by her nickname – Hikki, had already been a massive hit in Japan for several years by the time I had moved there, and over the course of a decade or so I had been able to follow and listen (to a certain extent) to her success.
Originally from New York, Utada Hikaru is a massive star and household name in Japan with twelve No. 1 hit singles, and an estimated 52 million record sales worldwide (that’s about as many as Red Hot Chill Peppers, R.E.M and A-ha have sold). Her Japanese début double A-side single, Automatic/Time Will Tell, sold over 2 million copies. All this and more at the tender age of 28!
Despite her massive following in Japan she has had limited success abroad with her English releases. Players of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II (computer games made by Square Enix of Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest fame, and Disney) will already be familiar with her music, even though they may not know it. She also features on the Rush Hour 2 (Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker) soundtrack with Foxy Brown, singing Blow My Whistle. The album reached No. 11 on the US Billboard 200.
Utada Hikaru’s better know hits include: Automatic, Traveling, Colors, Sakura Drops, 光 (Hikari, in English), Can You Keep a Secret?, and my favourite – Flavor of Life, the ballad version (see the embedded video below).
Some of her music videos are well know for their eye-popping colours, such as with Sakura Drops and Traveling. It’s a shame that they’re unavailable in HD as the video quality is starting to show its age on YouTube and they would look absolutely amazing in HD.
Utada Hikaru has been on hiatus for the last year, and who could blame her after what she’s achieved in 12 years in Japan? No doubt we will see more great things from her in the future if she chooses to continue with her music.