Utada Hikaru (宇多田ヒカル) is one of the Japan's most successful artists of all time. Her debut album, First Love, is the best-selling album ever in Japan with over 7.65 million copies sold in Japan alone, and she has sold over 35 million records there. Moreover, 3 of her albums are in the Top 10 best-selling album of all time in Japan (#1, #4, #8), making her one of the most indefinitely successful and popular singers in J-pop history.
She is bilingual as she was raised in both New York and Tokyo. Utada Hikaru is also known in the west under her English language project name 'Utada'. Utada also sang the Kingdom Hearts themes, Hikari / Simple and Clean and the theme songs for Kingdom Hearts II, Passion and Sanctuary. Originally, Utada's music had a heavy R&B style to it, but now her music has progressed to a more pop / experimental tone. Her R&B sound was what brought her so much attention with her first release in Japan, Automatic / time will tell, as there were no other artists with her distinct style. Utada was married to director Kiriya Kazuaki, who directed the movie CASSHERN, but in March of 2007 they announced that they had divorced. Currently in Japan she has album sales totaling 24 million copies, singles sales of 15.1 million copies and VHS/DVD sales estimated 3 million copies sold.
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- Stage Names: Utada Hikaru (宇多田ヒカル), Utada
- Birth Name: Utada Hikaru (宇多田光)
- Nickname: Hikki
- Birthday: January 19, 1983
- Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
- Chinese Zodiac: Dog
- Blood Type: A
- Height: 158cm (5'2")
- Instruments: Piano and Guitar
- Favorite Instrument: Piano
- Childhood Dreams: To become a manga artist or a scientist in a white coat.
- Favorite Animal: Cat
- Favorite color: Blue
- Favorite Word: Kuso (糞, くそ - Shit in Japanese)
- Favorite Foods: Cheese, Tokoroten, Thai food, Vietnamese food, Nattou, Bleu Cheese, Spicy foods and vinegar (known to put vinegar on anything, in ten days she uses up a whole bottle, she even sometimes just dilutes it and drinks it straight)
- Favorite Video Games: Dr. Mario and Tetris. Can not handle RPG games
- Hated Things: Fluorescent Lights, Mushrooms, Tissue Box Covers, Toilet Seat Covers, Wearing Makeup, Hamburger Steak
- Favorite Movies: Being John Malkovich, Brazil, Tasogare Seibei (The Twilight Samurai), Lost Highway, π (The 1998 film), The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather Part II, The Jerk, Unbreakable, Orlando, Amadeus, Sleepy Hollow, Miyazaki Hayao animations
- Favorite Japanese Literature: Nakagami Kenji's 'Izoku', Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's 'Rashomon', Kawabata Yasunari's 'Kanjou Soushoku' and 'Yukiguni', Mori Ougai's 'Takasebune', Natsume Souseki's 'Kokoro' and 'Kusamakura', Miyazawa Kenji's 'Shishuu ga Suki', Mishima Yukio's 'Kinkakuji'
- Favorite Western Literature: Herman Hesse's 'Siddhartha', Roald Dahl's 'Tales of the Unexpected', Shel Silverstein's 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' and 'A Light in the Attic', Edgar Allan Poe texts, Elie Wiesel's 'Night', John Berendt's 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil', F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby', George Orwell's '1984'.
- Favorite Artists: Aaliyah, At the Drive-in, Bela Bartok, Björk, Blink182, Blue Man Group, Bon Jovi, Brandy, Cocteau Twins, Craig David, Dr. Dre, Edith Piaf, Elvis Presley, Enigma, Erykah Badu, Freddie Mercury, Garbage, GLAY, Guns N'Roses, Guru, Incubus, Janet Jackson, Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, Joe, Kate Bush, Lauryn Hill, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Mary J. Blige, Maxwell, Metallica, Minnie Riperton, Miles Davis, Missy Elliot, Mozart, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Ozaki Yutaka, Pearl Jam, Prince, Queen, Radiohead, Sada Masashi, Slash (Guns 'n' Roses), Sting, The Beatles, The Cure, The Eagles, The Police, TLC, Trent Reznor, U2, Velvet Revolver, Stevie Wonder, Leah Dizon, Monica,2pac,Babyface, Hibari Misora and Michael Jackson.
- Favorite Album: Jeff Buckley's 'Grace'
- Fun Fact: Utada likes when blood is being drawn and the sound of gun fire.
Utada Hikaru was born in the upper east side of New York on January 19, 1983, and is the only child of Utada Teruzane and Abe Junko. Utada's parents both worked in the music industry - her father, Utada Teruzane (or Skingg U) is a music producer, and her mother was an extremely famous Enka singer in the 1970's, who went under the alias of Fuji Keiko. Utada was raised in both New York and Tokyo, and felt as if both Tokyo and New York were her hometown.
Utada did not originally like the idea of having music as a career, as she saw her parents leading a hectic life and sacrificing so much for music. She was immersed in the music business, and frequently had to sleep on the couch in her parents' recording studio. When she was 10 years old, her parents asked her if she was able to write a song. She reluctantly tried, and wrote the song I'll Be Stronger, which appeared on vinyl. At the same age, she also did small vocal parts in her parents' music project, U3. On the album Star, you are able to hear a 10-year-old Utada singing backup in two songs: THANK YOU and Kodomotachi no Uta ga Kikoeru.
While in school in New York, other students had trouble pronouncing her name 'Hikaru', and eventually shortened it to 'Hikki'. At the time she did not realize what 'Hickey' (a kiss mark) meant, but only found out later on. This nickname is used even to this day between her fans (both English and Japanese) While in Tokyo, Utada studied at The American School in Japan, graduating in 2000.
Utada was told that she was going to be 'making a record' by an EMI-USA representative. She was thirteen at the time and treated the songs as if they were homework. The songs had a very heavy R&B style to them, not unlike today's mainstream R&B/pop hybrid style. She wrote all save one of the songs herself; the exception was Close To You, which was a cover of The Carpenters' song of the same name. This song even had a music video shot for it, filled with varying scenes showing Utada and views of New York. The album was finished in late 1996. It was set to be released into the American market in 1997, however due to restructuring problems in EMI USA the album was never released. The album itself was praised by artists such as Lenny Kravitz.
Despite this, Utada only wanted the single, Close To You to be sold in Japan, and the album, Precious to be released the same day in Japan as in the United States. Japanese producer Miyake Akira heard the album and managed to convince Utada to try to start a career in Japan and signed her under Toshiba EMI. On October 20, 1998 at the 'Music Talks' convention in Asaka Blitz (赤坂ブリッツ), Utada debuted in front of an audience of press, producers and other people by singing the English version of Sakamoto Kyu's international hit, Ue wo Muite Arukou (called 'Sukiyaki' in the West). Following this, she introduced herself in English and followed with a Japanese translation of her introduction. Interestingly, another artist who featured at this concert was Shiina Ringo.
First Love Era
On December 9 of 1998, Utada debuted in Japan as 'Utada Hikaru', with the single, Automatic / time will tell. She, in the words of a classmate, 'became famous overnight'. This is most likely because of her R&B/Pop style, which had never been seen in Japan before. The two versions of the single, the 8cm and the 12cm, sold an amazing total of approximately 2,063,000 copies (Because they were different products, she only reached #4 and #2 on the charts). Two months later, her follow-up single Movin' on without you also broke the '1,000,000 copies sold' mark and reached #1 on Oricon charts.
A month later, Utada's much anticipated debut album was released, debuting at #1, (staying atop the Oricon weekly charts for a consecutive four) and eventually selling an amazing 10.056 million copies as of 2007, making it the most sold album in Japanese music history. Currently this sales record has not been broken, and due to the declining Japanese music market does not look as if the record will be broken anytime soon. Soon after this, two 'Luv Live' concerts were staged; one at Umeda Heat Beat, Osaka on April 1, 1999 and the other at Zepp Tokyo, Tokyo on April 2, 1999.
A post album single for the song First Love was released a month after the album, due to its popularity. Sales totaled over 800,000 units sold on the single, which is impressive for a post-album single. This song is still a karaoke bar hit today. It should be noted that First Love is the only album with three singles from it; all subsequent releases have four.
For this years Music Talks concert (October 7, 1999), Utada famously sang a duet with fellow star Shiina Ringo; a cover of The Carpenters' well-known hit I Won't Last a Day Without You. This was subsequently recorded in 2002 for Shiina's Utaite Myoli ~Vol. I~ album. Utada also held a concert entitled "Sokenbicha" Natural Breeze Concert on August 24, 1999 at the Nippon Budokan that was later broadcast on TV.
Following the amazing success of First Love, a single called Addicted To You was released in late 1999. This became Utada's second #1 hit, with 1,784,000 units sold. She followed up this release with a similar chart topping hit in April of 2000 entitled Wait & See ~Risk~ (also #1). Both these singles were produced by the famed American Hip-Hop/R&B producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. In July-August of the same year, Utada decided to hold a massive tour called BOHEMIAN SUMMER Circuit Live 2000, to be later filmed on DVD. It was held during her school holidays. The tour originally had 16 dates, but a further three were added due to public demand. The third single during the Distance was a double A-side, For You / Time Limit, which was released just prior to the Bohemian tour, which continued on the #1 trend.
After these recent releases, Utada decided to take a break from the music business to study biology at Columbia University in New York. However, she dropped out after half a semester because '...it wasn't as difficult as I was hoping it would be'.
In early 2001, Utada released the single Can You Keep A Secret?, which not only won the Golden Disc Award for 'Song of The Year' and a 'JASRAC Silver Award', but became the #1 single of the year. Directly following this single was Utada's much anticipated sophomore album, Distance. Distance sold 5.44 Million copies and became the most sold album in 2001 worldwide. It won the Golden Disc Award for Pop Album of The Year. Due to Distance and Can You Keep A Secret?, Utada became one of the few artists in who held both the #1 single for the year and the #1 album for the year.
DEEP RIVER Era
Much like how the title track of her first album First Love was released as a single after the album, Utada planned to release the song 'Distance' in this manner. However, Utada heard of a school shooting/rampage in which schoolgirl Yamashita Rena (山下玲奈) had died. Rena had previously won an essay competition; writing about how she wanted to become a singer just like Utada. Utada decided to rearrange the song entirely, creating the single FINAL DISTANCE. FINAL DISTANCE used the lyrics from Distance, but sung in a sweeping orchestral ballad form. Utada said herself that "(FINAL DISTANCE) was really difficult to sing" because of the technical difficulty she had put into the song. At this point, Utada's PVs reached a whole new level of quality as this was the period in which she started working with her (now ex) husband, Kiriya Kazuaki. From this point onwards, most of Utada's PVs are filled with amazing aesthetics, hidden symbolism and deep meanings.
By contrast, Utada's next single was the upbeat and extremely popular hit, traveling. This PV could be said to continue the storyline set down in FINAL DISTANCE, and everything was done in a post-modern futuristic style. Traveling won an amazing array of awards, including SSTV's Best Art Direction Video, Best Female Video, Best Video of The Year and Best Music Video. From the Golden Disc awards, traveling won Song of The Year and Music Video of The Year. Traveling also won the 2003 JASRAC Silver Award.
Utada's first single for 2002, Hikari, is very well known in the west because it was the Japanese theme song for the Play Station 2 game Kingdom Hearts (the English version was later released as a B-side on her COLORS single). Hikari won the Golden Disc award for Song of The Year and the JASRAC Silver Award (for Foreign Production). Hikari/Simple and Clean would be Utada's most famous songs in the western market. The final Deep River single release was SAKURA Drops / Letters, which finished the 'Kiriya Trilogy' of music. Strangely for a double A-Side single, the second track 'Letters' did not have a PV to go with it. Utada herself said that this was due to the fact that it was being used as the CM song for DoCoMo ads at the time (in which she herself featured). SAKURA Drops won the SSTV and MTV JAPAN awards for the Best Female Video, as well as the Golden Disc Award for Song of the Year.
The following album, DEEP RIVER, was the most critically acclaimed to date, selling 4.02 Million copies and winning the Golden Disc award for 'Rock & Pop Album of The Year'. This was The Most Sold Album in 2002 (much like Distance). The entire photo booklet was shot in monochrome (one shot was even of Utada's foot).
On September 6th, 2002, Utada shocked the Japanese press by marrying her music video director Kiriya Kazuaki (紀里谷和明, real name Iwashita Kazuhiro [岩下和裕]) who is 15 years her senior. In her defense, Utada said that it does not matter at what age that someone gets married at, as they are equally inexperienced (it would always be the first time). However, Utada and Kirya separated in March 2007.
After the release of DEEP RIVER, Utada's life became a lot busier as she began preparing for her US debut (See EXODUS below) and singles were few and far between. However, a major single entitled COLORS was released in 2003, and was written on her honeymoon in France. COLORS was her only music release for 2003 (however, there was a 20th birthday celebration DVD called UH Live Streaming 20 Dai wa Ikeike!), yet it still won the Golden Disc award for Song of The Year.
In March of 2004, Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol.1 was released. Despite there being no new material or photos, the album sold 2.5 Million copies, making it the most sold album in 2004. It was the first 'best of' album to reach #1 on the yearly charts in 3 years, and the first 'best of' album to reach #1 by a female artist in 3 years as well, after Hamasaki Ayumi's A BEST. This was also Utada's third consecutive album to win the Golden Disc award title of 'Rock & Pop Album of The Year'. At this time, Utada was also making a new single entitled Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro, which was inspired from reading the plot manuscript of her husband's movie CASSHERN. The song was a dark power ballad, which won the Golden Disc 'Song of The Year' award. Also later on in this year, Utada's second major tour commenced. It was called 'Hikaru no 5' to symbolize the five years that Utada had been in the music industry. Unlike her massive Bohemian Summer Tour, this time around there were only five dates set at a single venue.
Despite this, American musical group Blue Man Group heard the album on iTunes. That meant, Utada was about to start her US career over again. She was signed to Island Def Jam.
In early 2001, Utada had signed a temporary contract for one song (Blow My Whistle on the Rush Hour 2 Soundtrack) under Island Def Jam as a trial run. However, Utada decided to take up Island Def Jam's full-time offer for a whole album, and announced this in 2002. For her western releases, she had planned to release under the name “Hikaru Utada” (as she is listed on the soundtrack) though she later decided to shorten her name to "Utada", as it was much easier for westerners to pronounce and sounded more like a brand name.
Utada worked on EXODUS, creating new sounds that she had previously thought she was not able to do. She realized that the production of songs in English are completely different from in Japanese, hence had to alter her style into something more mature and different from her previous works. Most of the album was recorded in New York; though bits and pieces of it were recorded in Tokyo. Utada had made the first song (Animato) while bedridden in hospital because of a benign ovarian tumor in 2002. The second song that Utada wrote, Tippy Toe, seemed like an ordinary song to her, and the next song she wrote would become her first ‘Utada’ single, Easy Breezy.
Near the end of the album production, she was able to get the help of Timbaland, who remixed the already finished Wonder 'Bout, then helped in writing Let Me Give You My Love and finally Exodus '04. Despite this, Japanese singer Matsutoya Yumi heard the single and she invited Utada back to Japan.
Utada felt that in the translation process of EXODUS (the bonus booklet in the Japanese version had song translations) that so many details were lost, so that the true sense of the song would no longer be there. To stop people thinking as if the bonus booklet were just the 'Japanese lyrics', Utada only translated one song herself, Animato. She later said that this was because the song was so 'her' that someone else would have trouble translating it.
On July 3, 2004, the first promo of Easy Breezy was released. Utada said that this single was the first because it shows her humor. The music video style was completely Americanized (it was directed by Jake Nava) and it shocked Utada's Japanese fans (for example, in one scene she appears in a bikini). Soon after on September 8, 2004, the album EXODUS was released in Japan. 550,000 copies of EXODUS were sold in four days, breaking the record for an English-language album in Japan. Total Japanese sales were app. 1,074,000, and it is estimated that 30,000 copies were sold in the US when it was released later in October.
The second single from EXODUS (now in western format where the album precedes the singles) was the dance hit Devil Inside, which reached #1 on Billboard Hot Dance/Club Airplay in the US. The Richard Vission Experience Mix of the song was also featured in the first episode of the final season of the American television show Queer As Folk.
Showcase / 2005 Releases
In New York City at Skylight Studios on February 23, 2005, Utada held a live showcase to American press, in which she performed six songs: Devil Inside, Hotel Lobby, Exodus '04, Animato, You Make Me Want To Be a Man and finally Kremlin Dusk as an encore. Though footage of this concert was recorded (bootleg as well as official) it is unlikely a DVD of this performance will ever be released.
For a third single from EXODUS, Exodus '04 was released in June 2005. This maxi single had 10 mixes on it, remixed by various DJ's. It only reached #24 on Billboard Hot Dance/Club Airplay in the US, despite former success with Devil Inside. No promotion was done for this single at all.
A fourth single has been released into the UK and European Union, entitled You Make Me Want To Be a Man. This was coupled with a re-release of the EXODUS album a week later. To compliment the release of this album, animated Utada movie clips by anime artist Morimoto Koji will be accessible through a cell-phone service called 'Flux' in Japan (called 'MTV Digital Discovery' in the UK). The single did terribly, only reaching #227 in the UK Singles Chart. This is blamed on a lack of singles pressed as well as the fact that the single was extremely expensive. A fifth single from EXODUS, Hotel Lobby, may have been planned as a remix for this song had been commissioned, though due to the former single's dismal sales may have been shelved.
ULTRA BLUE Era
Utada then eased back into the public spotlight after a string of new singles, comprised of Be My Last (the theme song to the Japanese film Haru no Yuki), Passion (the Kingdom Hearts II theme song), and yet another single, Keep Tryin'.
Be My Last, her first single in 17 months, was seen as a new era of Utada Hikaru's music by both fans and critics alike. The song contained Utada's trademark vocals and lyrics, but it was sung in a more emotionally charged style, unlike her previous work. While not as commercially successful as her previous singles, Be My Last has signaled a more mature and confident era in Utada Hikaru's musical career.
Passion showed yet another style change for Utada, as the song featured a surreal ambiance and atmosphere. Strong beats along with soaring vocals produced one of her most unique singles to date. When asked to describe the song, Utada referred to Passion as the "22 year old version of B&C"; a song from her debut album, First Love, which she had written when she was merely 15 years of age. When heard back to back, these two songs show how much Utada has grown since the birth of her career. As Passion was used as the theme song to Kingdom Hearts II in Japan, an English version of the song, titled Sanctuary, was also created to be used for the international release of the game. Sanctuary was written before Passion, and Utada found it difficult to write the Japanese lyrics for Passion.
In February of 2006, Utada released her 16th Japanese language single, titled Keep Tryin'. The track, featured as the au Listen Mobile Service tie-up song, was a strong pop song with Utada's trademark vocals and intricate arrangement. With wryly humorous lyrics, Keep Tryin' was another evolution in Utada's songwriting skills.
In early April, Utada's fourth Japanese album was announced, entitled ULTRA BLUE. It was followed up by Utada's second nationwide tour of Japan (after Bohemian Summer). The album contains all the singles since DEEP RIVER's release, totaling 13 tracks. Both the tour and the album release date were set for June 2006. Notably, the tour's set list includes songs from Utada's English career as well as her Japanese career.
HEART STATION Era
On November 22, 2006, Utada released her 17th Japanese single, Boku wa Kuma (ぼくはくま; I'm a Bear); it was used in the television commercial break special show Minna no Uta for October and November 2006. The single was much more successful than expected, outselling her two most recent singles despite there being no music video for the song nor any television performances.
Utada's Official Japanese website announced she would be releasing a new single in February, called Flavor Of Life, used as the drama series Hana Yori Dango 2's insert song. Photo shooting was taken on and around Christmas day. Sunday, December 10, 2006 was also her 9 year mark for her time in the Japanese music industry, to when she hinted towards a "new project"- the single. The single debuted at the #1 position on Oricon charts, and was set to be her most successful single in recent times by large sales, and broke many records in the process. It charted #1 on the Oricon Weekly Singles Charts for 3 weeks, became the most downloaded ring tone on the Chaka-Uta chart for the months of January 2007, February 2007, and of all time in Japan with 5.580 million downloads sold; it would be the highest debut for an Asian artist on the United World Singles Chart in more than 8 years, with a #11 peak. The single also ranked in at #2 on the Oricon Half-Year Singles Chart, and was the only female artist single in the top 10, and has amassed in excess of 650,000 units in sales to date. Utada's single sales surpassed the elusive 15 million mark by the seventh week of "Flavor Of Life's" sale trajectory, and placed her only behind Amuro Namie and Hamasaki Ayumi in terms of such sales for a female or any solo artist in Japan.
On the third of March it was announced on Utada's personal blog that the previous day she had split with her husband, Kiriya Kazuaki, after four and a half years of marriage. It was a mutual split due to the fact that the pair had been gradually growing apart from each other.Following "Flavor Of Life", Utada had plans for another new single set to be released that August 29. The single would be a double-A side featuring the tracks Beautiful World (which would be the ”EVANGELION Shin Gekijouban: Jo” theme song), Kiss & Cry, as well as a new mix of Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words). "Kiss & Cry" followed This Is Love as the FREEDOM cup noodle CM song and the anime theme song.
Quite quickly after the Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry single, in early October rumors of a new Utada song being used as the Asience hair products commercial song flew across the Internet. On October 3, 2007, it was revealed by Kao (the company that owns Asience hair products) that the song is indeed a new Utada song entitled "Stay Gold". Later on December 7th, the same day Stay Gold was available for Chaku-Uta download, it was revealed that the new single would be another double A-side; HEART STATION / Stay Gold would be released on February 20, 2008. "HEART STATION" being the Recochoku commercial theme song.
To commemorate her entering her tenth year in the Japanese music industry, complimentary download of a ring tone of her first song, "Automatic", was offered to the general public; it was downloaded over 500,000 times. Utada was ranked #3 on Recochoku most downloaded artists of 2007 chart. On January 26, 2008, her official Japanese site launched a special "HEART STATION" website with the single's information as well as blog parts to place the "PON PON Kumachan" video on fan's blogs. There are also links to several radio stations across Japan, presumably some promotional agreement between "HEART STATION" and various FM channels, with some boasting individual "HEART STATION" stickers, indicating each as a "special" Heart Station. An official "HEART STATION" promotional video was announced as being in development by a Barks.com news article that same day. The HEART STATION PV debuted on TV stations in Japan on February 4th, 2008. "HEART STATION" would go on to be the most played song on Japanese radio in the month of February with a total of 1,064 plays. Between March 10 and 13, Hikaru Utada made her hit 1999 single "First Love" available for free as a ring tone in Japan. In those four days, it was downloaded more than 700,000 times (source: Tokyograph) Her fifth original Japanese-language album, also titled HEART STATION, was released on March 19, 2008. The ninth track off HEART STATION, Prisoner Of Love, was used as the theme to the dorama Last Friends. A CD+DVD only re-cut single of "Prisoner Of Love" was released on May 21st, 2008.
This Is The One
According to Utada's blog, in September 25, 2007, Utada began speaking to Island Def Jam about her second English-language album. There was no set schedule, and Utada's tone suggested that she was in no rush. On October 23, 2007, Utada said that she had already made several demo tracks for not only the upcoming English album, but also her fifth Japanese album and was scheduled to record some of the songs on that afternoon.
In March 2008, Utada said in an SSTV V.I.P. interview that she was working on the second English album when asked about the possibility of a concert tour to further promote HEART STATION. She also noted that she might have another concert tour after completing the second English album.
In May 2008, the working title of "Apple and Cinnamon" was found, showing a collaboration between Utada and Stargate. As this was a previously-unseen title, fans began speculating that this song would be part of Utada's next English album. However, no information about the title was placed on her official page.
In December, FMQB, a radio industry website added to their queue of upcoming tracks a new single by Utada. The track was to be titled Come Back to Me and would be added to stations February 10, 2009. As early as January 6, 2009, the track was available to stream on All Access, and later was added streaming to Utada's official page at Island Def Jam. As the release date for Come Back to Me approached, promotional efforts increased and Utada launched an Official Myspace Page. The release date of the new album was listed as March 4, 2009 in Japan and March 24 in the US. Utada expressed doubt in her blog that the album would be released on time. On February 3, 2009, Utada's Myspace page announced the new title of the album as This is the One. The next day, Utada posted a very frustrated blog explaining that a staff member at Island Def Jam posted the previous message.
True to Utada's worry, the album's release date was pushed back both in the US and overseas. The Japanese release date was now March 14, 2009. A little later, the US release date was also pushed back to May 12, but would still be available digitally on March 24, 2009.
The album was well-received at first and surpassed Utada's expectations, even charting up to #2 on the iTunes Pop Chart, and lingering in the top 10 for a while. Around this time, Utada began heavy promotion for the album, including doing several interviews and a radio tour, she also did some in-store appearances at three of the cosmetic store Sephora's locations- Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami. The events were huge successes, but Utada and the Island Def Jam staff seemed unprepared for the huge volume of fans that arrived to see the artist in person. Utada later expressed regret for the rushed and disorganized atmosphere of the event on her blog, even though her schedule didn't allow her to stay with her fans and sign autographs. After the events, Utada continued her promotional activity in the US, including a live performance on CBS's Early Show.
Utada then scheduled more in-store events, set for the week of the physical release of the album, but expanded the locations to include Seattle and Honolulu this round. Unfortunately, on the week of the events Utada was forced to cancel, as the singer had contracted peritonsilitis, and was advised by her doctors to stay home and rest up. She wrote a blog following the announcement apologizing to all the fans who were looking forward to the events and promising to reschedule soon. It has been weeks and promotional activity appears to have stopped for now.
- When Utada is creatively blocked, she takes baths, tries yoga or pilates at home.
- Utada liked the book Emily The Strange so much that she translated it herself into Japanese.
- Utada loves music that sounds genuine.
- Utada has a brand of merchandise, which features a self-drawn cat called 'Chuichi'.
- In 2001, Utada Hikaru had both the #1 Selling Album of the Year as well as the #1 Selling Single of the Year.
- In 2005, Utada was listed as the person who pays the most tax in Japan. This is the equivalent in Japan of the 'rich list' (as the amount of tax payed is roughly equivalent to the amount of money made) Stars' actual incomes are kept secret, which is why the amount of taxes paid is used.
- Utada albums ranked at numbers 1, 6 and 18 for total album sales in the 2004 Oricon Top 100 Albums.
- In 2006 Utada's ULTRA BLUE was the 2nd best selling original album of the year only behind Def Tech. Overall it was the 7th best selling album of the year, but the 5 other albums were all best-of collections (besides Def Tech's Catch the Wave).
- In 2006 on Oricon, Utada was ranked the #1 Japanese artist for most consecutive #1 albums (5 consecutive, not counting EXODUS); selling over 500,000 copies.
- "Flavor of Life" (#2 single of 2007) and "Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry" (#20 single of 2007) were the top 2 female selling singles in Japan for 2007.
- [1999.03.10] First Love
- [2001.03.28] Distance
- [2002.06.19] DEEP RIVER
- [2004.03.31] Utada Hikaru SINGLE COLLECTION VOL.1
- [2004.09.08] EXODUS (Utada)
- [2006.06.14] ULTRA BLUE
- [2008.03.19] HEART STATION
- [2009.03.14] This is the One (Utada)
- [1998.12.09] Automatic / time will tell
- [1999.02.17] Movin' on without you
- [1999.04.28] First Love
- [1999.11.10] Addicted To You
- [2000.04.19] Wait & See ~Risk~ (Wait & See ~リスク~)
- [2000.06.30] For You / Time Limit (For You / タイム・リミット)
- [2001.02.16] Can You Keep A Secret?
- [2001.07.25] FINAL DISTANCE
- [2001.11.28] traveling
- [2002.03.20] Hikari (光; Light)
- [2002.05.09] SAKURA Drops / Letters (SAKURAドロップス)
- [2003.01.29] COLORS
- [2004.04.21] Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro (誰かの願いが叶うころ; When Someone's Wish Comes True)
- [2004.08.03] Easy Breezy (Utada)
- [2004.09.14] Devil Inside (Utada)
- [2005.06.21] Exodus '04 (Utada)
- [2005.09.28] Be My Last
- [2005.10.17] You Make Me Want to Be a Man (Utada)
- [2005.12.14] Passion
- [2006.02.22] Keep Tryin'
- [2006.11.22] Boku wa Kuma (ぼくはくま; I'm a Bear)
- [2007.02.28] Flavor Of Life
- [2007.08.29] Beautiful World / Kiss & Cry
- [2008.02.20] HEART STATION / Stay Gold
- [2008.05.21] Prisoner Of Love
- [2009.02.10] Come Back to Me (Utada)
- [2004.08.03] Easy Breezy (Utada)
- [2004.08.03] Devil Inside (The Richard Vission Radio Edit / The Scum Frog Radio Edit mixes) (Utada)
- [2006.05.31] This Is Love
- [2007.05.31] Kiss & Cry
- [2007.06.27] Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) -2007 MIX-
- [2007.11.21] Do You (Ne-Yo feat. Utada)
- [2008.10.31] Eternally -Drama Mix-
- [2009.06.27] Beautiful World -PLANiTb Acoustica Mix-
- [2009.07.22] Sanctuary (Utada)
DVD / VHS
- [1999.12.16] Utada Hikaru Single Clip Collection Vol.1
- [2000.06.30] Wait & See ~Risk~ (DVD Single)
- [2000.12.09] Bohemian Summer 2000
- [2001.09.27] Utada Hikaru Single Clip Collection Vol.2
- [2001.11.28] Utada Hikaru Unplugged
- [2002.01.30] traveling (DVD Single)
- [2002.09.30] Utada Hikaru Single Clip Collection Vol.3
- [2003.03.12] COLORS (DVD Single)
- [2003.08.29] UH Live Streaming 20 Dai wa Ikeike!
- [2004.07.28] Utada Hikaru in Budokan 2004 - Hikaru no 5
- [2004.07.28] Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro (DVD Single)
- [2004.10.06] Easy Breezy (DVD Single) (Utada)
- [2005.09.28] Be My Last (Single includes DVD)
- [2005.12.14] Passion (Single includes DVD)
- [2006.09.27] Utada Hikaru Single Clip Collection Vol.4
- [2006.12.20] UTADA UNITED 2006
- [1993.09.17] Star (U3)
- [1996.09.25] Tsumetai Tsuki -Nakanaide- (Fuji Keiko with Cubic U)
- [1997.01.28] Close to You (Cubic U)
- [1997.xx.xx] I'll Be Stronger (Cubic U)
- [1997.07.18] Balanced Output (Featured original version of I'll Be Stronger)
- [1998.01.28] Precious (Cubic U)
- [1999.05.01] Thank You (U3)
- [1999.05.05] Golden Era (Fuji Keiko with Cubic U)
- [2002.07.21] Kodomotachi no Uta ga Kikoeru (U3)
- [1999.02.17] Automatic / time will tell
- [1999.06.30] First Love
- [2000.05.10] Fly Me To The Moon
- [2001.07.25] Distance
- [2002.xx.xx] SAKURA Drops (Sonic Sprout Mix)
- [2002.09.30] Deep River
- [2004.09.13] Devil Inside (Utada)
- [2005.05.17] Exodus '04 (Utada)
- [2005.09.05] You Make Me Want to Be a Man (Promo) (Utada)
- [2005.09.17] You Make Me Want to Be a Man (Utada)
(Songs that feature on an album that are not found anywhere else or in Utada's releases)
- [1999.06.09] Majo no Jouken OST (Variations on First Love)
- [2001.03.07] Hero Original Soundtrack (Can You Keep A Secret? -Instrumental-)
- [2001.07.31] Rush Hour 2 Soundtrack (Utada Hikaru feat. Foxy Brown - Blow My Whistle)
- [2001.12.12] Ohguro Maki - "O" (Promise "I Do" featuring Utada Hikaru)
- [2002.03.11] Kingdom Hearts Soundtrack (Four versions of Hikari)
- [2002.05.27] Shiina Ringo - "Utaite Myoli ~Vol. I~" (Shiina Ringo with Utada Hikaru - I Won't Last a Day Without You)
- [2003.03.26] Kuzu - "Kuzu Album" (Kuzu feat. Utada Hikaru - Kaze Ga Fuiteru)
- [2003.11.06] Beautiful Drivin' Classic - Wish (Colors -Orchestra Version-)
- [2004.04.24] Blue ~ A Tribute to Yutaka Ozaki (I Love You)
- [2004.07.14] Unity (Timbaland, Kiley Dean, Utada - By Your Side)
- [2004.09.13] Ultimix 108 (Easy Breezy (Ultimix Remix))
- [2005.02.xx] DJ Fatal - "Remixes Feburary 2005" (CD promo) (Utada feat. Nas, 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. - Exodus '04 (Remix))
- [2005.10.11] 1998-2005 All For You: UH Premium Single Box Set
- [2006.01.25] Kingdom Hearts II Original Soundtrack (Three Versions of Passion / Sanctuary)
- [1999.11.26] Now 10 (Cubic U - Close To You)
- [1999.12.18] Now Japan Best: Greatest Hits Of The Millennium (Automatic)
- [2000.02.01] 1999 Japanese TV Series Champion Theme Songs (First Love feat. David Sanborn)
- [2000.02.01] The 41th Japan Record Awards (Automatic, First Love)
- [2000.03.01] Japan Love Songs Collection 2 (First Love feat. David Sanborn)
- [2000.04.01] Japan R&B Pop Music II (Addicted To You, Automatic, First Love)
- [2000.12.06] NOW 11 (Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words))
- [2000.12.20] Dancemania DIAMOND COMPLETE EDITION (Fly Me To The Moon (VC2's Club Mix))
- [2001.01.01] NOW J-POP 2001 (Movin' On Without You)
- [2001.01.17] Dancemania X8 (Fly Me To The Moon (VC2's Club Mix))
- [2001.02.09] Tokyo Love Scenes 2001Endless Love (First Love)
- [2001.10.17] Original Songs (Automatic)
- [2002.05.29] The Japan Gold Disc Award 2002 (Can You Keep a Secret?)
- [2002.07.03] EARTH BEAT (Distance (PLANITb Remix))
- [2003.03.05] Sweet -for emotional memories- (First Love)
- [2003.04.23] 31 Hits -The Japan Gold Disc Award 2003- (Sakura Drops)
- [2004.04.23] Our Last Days -Casshern OST- (Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro)
- [2004.09.xx] Radioactive Rhythm and Top 40 - September 2004 (Devil Inside)
- [2004.10.xx] Radioactive Rhythm and Top 40 - October 2004 (Easy Breezy)
- [2005.03.09] The Japan Gold Disc Award 2005 (Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro, Easy Breezy)
- [2005.03.30] VENUS JAPAN (Traveling)
- [2005.05.18] Superstar Jazz (Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words))
- [2005.07.13] Prime Cuts - Issue #7 (Exodus '04 (Double J Radio Mix))
- [2006.03.01] The Japan Gold Disc Award 2006 (Be My Last)
(Not official albums, but these were inspired by Utada songs)
- [1999.09.01] Piano Sings Utada Hikaru Melodies
- [1999.09.22] Kenny James Trio - Utada Hikaru Songs (Jazz)
- [1999.11.01] Crystal Melody Utada Hikaru Collection
- [2000.xx.xx] Works on Music Box
- [2000.09.01] Miffy Orgel Collection first love - Wait and See
- [2000.11.22] Kenny James Trio - Utada Hikaru Songs II (Jazz)
- [2001.xx.xx] Works on Music Box Vol. 2
- [2001.07.18] Piano Sings Utada Hikaru Melodies Vol. 2 - Can You Keep A Secret?
- [2001.09.21] Kenny James Trio - Utada Hikaru Songs III (Jazz)
- [2002.xx.xx] Hikaru Utada Works - Relaxing Orgel - Letters
- [2002.07.22] Crystal Melody Hikaru Utada
-  (Yusen Awards) Top Award "Special Prize"
-  (Yusen Awards) Top Award "Best New Artist"
-  (Record Awards) Best Album (First Love)
-  (Record Awards) Best Song (Automatic)
-  (Golden Disc) Artist of the Year
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Automatic, Movin' on without you, Addicted To You)
-  (Golden Disc) Pop Album of the Year (First Love)
-  (Golden Disc) Music Video of the Year (SINGLE CLIP COLLECTION VOL.1)
-  (World Music Awards) Best-Selling Japanese Artist
-  (JASRAC) Gold Award (Automatic)
-  (JASRAC) Silver Award (time will tell)
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Wait & See ~Risk~, For You / Time Limit)
-  SSTV Best Art Direction Video (Traveling)
-  SSTV Best Female Video (Traveling)
-  SSTV Best Video of the Year (Traveling)
-  SSTV Best Music Video (Traveling)
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Can You Keep A Secret?)
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Traveling)
-  (Golden Disc) Pop Album of the Year (Distance)
-  JASRAC Silver Award (Can You Keep A Secret?)
-  (World Music Awards) Best-Selling Japanese Artist
-  J-WAVE Best Female Artist
-  SSTV Best Female Video (SAKURA Drops)
-  MTV JAPAN Best Female Video (SAKURA Drops)
-  (Golden Disc) Artist of the Year
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Hikari)
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (SAKURA Drops)
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (COLORS)
-  (Golden Disc) Rock & Pop Album of the Year (Deep River)
-  (Golden Disc) Music Video of the Year (Traveling)
-  JASRAC Silver Award (Traveling)
-  JASRAC Silver Award (Foreign Production) (Hikari)
-  AMD Award for Best Music Composer (UH LIVE STREAMING 20 Dai wa Ikeike!)
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro)
-  (Golden Disc) Rock & Pop Album of the Year (Utada Hikaru SINGLE COLLECTION VOL. 1)
-  (Golden Disc) Music Video of the Year (Utada Hikaru in Budokan 2004 'Hikaru no 5')
-  (Golden Disc) Song of the Year (Be My Last)
-  (Golden Disc) Rock & Pop Album of the Year (ULTRA BLUE)
- Official Website (Toshiba EMI)
- Official Website (Island Def Jam)
- Official MySpace
- U3Music (Official Message Site)
- Official Chuichi Website
- Wikipedia: Utada Hikaru) (English)
- U'BLOG (Fansite)
- UTADA.com.br (Brazilian Fansite)
- UtadaUnited.com (Fansite)
- UtadaNet.com (Fansite)
- Nippop Profile (Jpop Fansite)
- Utada on iTunes (USA Music Store)
- TIMEasia.com (Article)