Official Utada Hikaru Thread

  • Utada Hikaru (宇多田 ヒカル), who is also known as Hikaru Utada and the mononym Utada, is a Japanese-American singer-songwriter and producer. Born in the United States to Japanese parents, record producer Utada Teruzane and enka singer Keiko Fuji, Utada began to write music and lyrics at an early age and often traveled to Tokyo as a result of their father's job. Eventually, a recording contract with Toshiba-EMI was signed and, under the stage name Cubic U, Utada released their English-language debut album Precious in early 1998, but it was a commercial failure. In the following year, heavily influenced by R&B and dance-pop, their Japanese-language debut 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.

    Their 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 acoustic-driven Fantôme and Hatsukoi, which reached number-one on the Oricon album 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 them one of Japan's top-selling recording artists of all time with over 37 million records sold since launching her career in the late 1990s. Twelve of their singles have reached number-one on the Oricon Singles Chart, while ten of their albums have become chart-toppers. Six of their 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 four theme-song contributions to Square Enix and Disney's collaborative video game series Kingdom Hearts: "Simple and Clean", "Sanctuary", "Don't Think Twice" and "Face My Fears".

    On November 1, 2019, it was released a Utada collaboration with singer-songwriter Sheena Ringo, called "Roman to Soroban LDN ver." ("The Sun and the Moon", in English). It was featured in Sheena's best of album Apple of Universal Gravity. An alternative version of the song, called "Roman to Soroban TYO ver.", was available on November 25. On November 27, 2019, Utada released their first single in over a year with "Shonen Jidai". It appears as track #5 on the Inoue Yosue Tribute album. Utada also did a live rendition of the song on her 2003 live DVD UH Live Streaming 20 Dai wa Ikeike!

    On 3 December 2020 was announced that Takeru Sato & Hikari Mitsushima will star a Netflix drama based on Hikaru Utada’s songs “First Love” & “Hatsukoi”, “First Love Hatsukoi” is scheduled to be released sometime in 2022.

    On June 11th, 2021 Utada confirmed rumors that they are attracted to women during a Dazed interview, being quoted as well as saying their current celebrity crush is Meg thee Stallion.

    On June 26, 2021, Utada came out as non-binary in an Instagram livestream. Utada has supported same-sex marriage and, in discussing discomfort with how titles like Ms. or Mrs. closely identify someone by sex and marital status, supported widespread use of the gender-neutral title Mx.

    On August 22, 2013, Utada's mother, Keiko Fuji, died by apparent suicide by jumping from the thirteenth floor of a 28-floor condominium building in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

    Hikaru has been open about their mother's struggles with mental health and encourages the education on the topic, as well as for people to seek assistance for their illnesses. They have been most notably quoted as stating “She is finally freed from her agony,” They also said that they are “beyond sad” because of their mother’s death. “I am suffering from a sense of remorse.” Despite their mother’s condition, Utada said that they are only left with memories of her mother laughing. They also described their late mother as someone who is “impulsive like a child but with an innocent charm that attracted everyone’s attention.”


    This thread is to discuss any news regarding her music career.

    Please be respectful in the thread.

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    The excitement for Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time was already about as high as we thought it could possibly be, what with the eight-year-plus wait since the last installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion series and the fact that this movie is meant to, once and for all, put a period on one of history’s most discussed and influential franchises ever. Then we realized it actually was possible to reach a more feverish level of anticipation when it was announced that J-pop legend Utada Hikaru would be returning to provide Thrice Upon a Time’s theme song.

    And now, Eva’s handlers have kicked things up one notch further with a brand-new trailer that previews Utada’s “One Last Kiss” plus gives us a look at a whole bunch of previously unseen footage from the movie.…e%E3%80%90video%E3%80%91/

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    Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time Announces Further Delay

    Anime movie Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time, which was scheduled to open on Jan. 23, has announced it will once again be delaying its premiere date because of the recent state of emergency declared in Japan.

    The new release date is still unknown. In an official statement, the producers extend their sincerest apologies to fans who have been patiently waiting to see the movie and ask for their understanding until it can be enjoyed safely.

    Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time is the fourth and final installment in the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series, produced by Studio Khara as a remake of the 1995 anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. The series follows teenager Ikari Shinji as he is forced to defend humanity from existential threat by piloting a giant robot at the behest of his authoritarian father.…e-Announces-Further-Delay

  • Mentioned

  • For me the album that converted me to really liking Hikaru Utada's music was Distance, even though to many especially it seems in the West it appears to be the ugly duckling of Hikaru's Japanese discography, but I vehemently disagree. Speaking objectively, it is her second best selling album. Personally, I think Distance is Hikaru's best and most underrated album, though I certainly think Deep River and Ultra Blue are really close and Heart Station and Fantom are close as well. One of the greatest compliments I could give an album is to say that it converted me to being a fan of an artist I previously wasn't really into that much and such is the case for Hikaru Utada and Distance. It is the beautiful vulnerability and lovely feminity in her voice and for me Distance is Hikaru's most immediate, passionate and spontaneous sounding album like with the laughs left in at the end of Wait and See, including beautifully silky vocals and lovely sky high whines, cries and agility rising into falsettos with fine fluidity. What it lacks in moments of meditation and empty space, it makes up for in antic energy, sincerity and a fascinating juxtaposition of styles and moods in combining r and b, Latin, rock, and ballads as in the lush strings and big vocal build up in Eternally. It grooves, jostles then soothes the listener between the tracks but isn't afraid to leave in a free rough abrasive sounding edges here and there to give it the feel of the joy and strife of life which gives it a kind of genuine R and B pedigree. It is also makes a great period piece evoking the early 2000's vividly like a recording sent up in a space ship to remind one of this specific time and place.
    Wait and See comes out of the box with an alternating tide of relatively quiet chime like instrumentation rising to a full throated whine that blasts off in the chorus symbolized well in the video when Hikaru races through the streets on a motorcyle while she sports some cool moves with an extended mix of overdubs and a laugh left in providing an interesting outro to the song. The Latinesque r and B Can You Keep a Secret has an intriguing whining and quivering quality in the vocals with some nice backing vocals and a catchy bopping dance rhythm, some tasty Spanish acoustic licks mixed with a whispering interlude, and more appealing whining in the chorus. Actually, there is a slightly neurotic quality that grates just a tiny bit yet this is actually an asset because it gives it a more desperate unsettling quality.
    Personally, I find the claim that this album is a copy of American R and B only in the Japanese language to be erroneous since the composite of styles that are mixed into the songs is quite unique when taken as a whole. For instance, the soothing chimes and silky smooth vocals and intricately interwoven overdubs, that greet the listener in Distance seem to be an embroidered synthesis of American r and B, traditional Japanese and Hikaru's own unique blend of the two with touching subtlety and sophistication. Such lovely rise and fall out of the falsetto in this song too and the seamless production really pulls the listener in. The discordance and distortion in Drama with electric guitar and Hikaru's emotional and gutteral delivery adds some grit and rawness to the album that contrasts "drama"tically with Distance with the cross current of clashing overdubs creating a really pleasing cacophony. Vocally,
    Addicted to You starts out rather deep and quiet but crescendoes into a beautifully full throated plaintive delivery and then the outro leaves in Hikaru's shig a shig a which adds more spontaneity to the album. Then, comes the fabulous Kettobase which combines the vulnerability of Eternally, the Latin rhythms and passion of Can You Keep a Secret and the rocking discordance of Drama with the masterfully phrased, "I Want your bAAAby." with an onslaught of whines, cries, rapid rises and falls in pitch. And then a ecstatic full throated peak in the chorus. This song among many others shows me what a vocal virtuoso Hikaru really is. Finally, Time Limit is a straight up fantastic R and B piece in a bit more traditional style with a fabulous blending of Hikaru's lovely whines and cries, harmonious backing vocals and a really tasteful rap breakdown. These are my favorite songs but For You has a cool groovy breakdown and lovely smoothness in the vocals with some nice keyboard touches and some plucked strings flourishes I also like Parody and Sunglasses. I also really like the flowing silky glossy look of Hikaru on the cover to the album. It is really aesthetically appealing but her downcast eyes suggests the Distance in the title. Overall, I give this album 5 stars.

  • Updated main post due to change in pronouns, etc

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