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Utada

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New York City (1993 – present)

Utada is the English language project name of 宇多田ヒカル (Utada Hikaru). She is a third culture singer, composer, arranger, and record producer in Japan and United States. Utada maintains this name in the west as she intends to keep her English style separate from her Japanese music. She has sold an estimated 52 million albums worldwide. Utada is fluent in both English and Japanese as she was raised in both New York and Tokyo. She is most notable in the west for composing and singing the Kingdom Hearts themes (Hikari) and Simple And Clean, as well as the theme songs for Kingdom Hearts II, Passion ~Opening Version~ and Sanctuary ~opening version~.

Utada Hikaru was born on January 19, 1983 in New York City to Japanese parents who both had roots in the Japanese music industry; her father, Teruzane Utada, was a producer, while her mother, Junko Utada, was an enka singer (she performed under the stage name 藤圭子/Keiko Fuji). Utada has been recording since 1993, and made her first professional recording at the age of twelve. She released her first album comprised of all English songs, 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.”

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