Hikaru Utada (宇多田 ヒカル Utada Hikaru, born January 19, 1983), known by her stage name Utada (/uːˈtɑːdə/) in America and Europe, and sometimes referred to as Hikki (ヒッキー, Hikkī?) in Japan, is a Japanese-American singer, song writer, and producer.
Since the release of her debut album First Love, which went on to become the best-selling album in Oricon history, Utada has had three of her Japanese studio albums in the list of Top 10 best-selling albums ever in Japan (#1, #4, #8) and six of her albums (including two English-language and one compilation) charting within the 275 Best-Selling Japanese albums list. Utada has had fourteen number-one singles on the Oricon Singles chart, with two notable record achievements for a female solo or group artist: five million-sellers and four in the Top 100 All-Time Best-selling Singles. Utada Hikaru has an estimated 50 million albums sold worldwide.
She was described by Time Magazine as a "Diva On Campus," a reference to her having attended Columbia University for a brief, career-break semester in 2000. In 2009, she was considered “the most influential artist of the decade,” in the Japanese landscape, by The Japan Times. In 2003, Utada was ranked #24 in the survey of Top 100 Japanese Pop Artists of All Time by HMV, #10 in HMV's Top 30 Best Japanese Singers of All Time in 2006.
Additionally, Utada made two theme song contributions to Square Enix and Disney's collaborative video game series Kingdom Hearts: "Simple and Clean" for Kingdom Hearts and "Passion" for Kingdom Hearts II (later re-recorded with new English lyrics as "Sanctuary" for the North American and European releases of the game). In 2007, her single "Flavor of Life" reached #2 in worldwide digital download yearly single chart with over 7.2 million downloads, and contributes to 12 million digital sales for her over the same year.
Deep River (stylized as DEEP RIVER) is the third Japanese studio album (fourth overall) released by American-born Japanese J-pop star Hikaru Utada, released in June 19, 2002. It sold just over 2.35 million copies in its first week of release (much like the 2,026,870 units by First Love and 3,002,720 by Distance in their debut sales week), easily debuting at #1 on the weekly, monthly and eventually yearly charts of the Oricon Albums chart. Deep River is Japan's 5th highest album in debut sales.
"Colors" (stylized as COLORS) is Hikaru Utada's 12th Japanese-language single (14th overall), and is the only single she released in 2003. It was released on January 29, 2003 and debuted at #1 on the Oricon charts with 437,903 copies sold in the first week, and became her fifth single to perform the rare two-consecutive weeks at the #1 slot feat. Two versions were released, CD and DVD.
"Can You Keep a Secret?" is a song by Hikaru Utada, released as her seventh Japanese-language single (9th overall) on February 16, 2001. It was the theme song for a Japanese television drama called Hero, Utada made a cameo appearance as well as her acting debut in this drama as a waitress.
"Sakura Drops/Letters" (Sakuraドロップス／Letters Sakura Doroppusu / Letters) is Hikaru Utada's 11th Japanese-language single (13th overall) and also the last single on the Deep River album. It was released on 9 May 2002 and debuted at #1 on the Oricon charts, selling 400,390 in its first week (her highest first-week sales for the year). To date it has sold 687,000 copies.
"Wait & See: Risk
" (Wait & See: リスク Wait & See: Risuku
) is a song by Hikaru Utada
, released as her fifth Japanese language single (her sixth overall) on April 19, 2000. "Wait & See: Risk" sold 1,662,000 copies and debuted at #1 on the Oricon
charts with 804,570 in its first week.
"Traveling" (stylized as traveling) is the 9th Japanese-language single (11th overall) by Hikaru Utada and 2nd single on the Deep River album. It was released on November 28, 2001. It hit #1 on the Oricon chart, selling 277,100 in its first week. It has sold 856,000 copies.
"Passion" is a song by Hikaru Utada, released in Japan as a single on December 14, 2005. It was used as the theme song for the Disney Interactive Studios/Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts II in Japan, while an English version also sung by Utada, titled "Sanctuary", was used for the international release of the game.