Utada Hikaru (Ã¥Â®â€¡Ã¥Â¤Å¡Ã§â€Â°Ã£Æ’â€™Ã£â€šÂ«Ã£Æ’Â« Utada Hikaru, born January 19, 1983), also known as "Hikki" to her Japanese fans, is a J-Pop music star. She has gone by Hikaru Utada (where surname comes last) once, in credits for a joint song with Foxy Brown, Blow My Whistle on the Rush Hour 2 movie soundtrack. In a Time interview, she explains: "I just figured it's a good way to separate my English and Japanese personas." However, ever since Exodus (2004), her first album in the States after her Cubic U era, and on singles from that album, she has gone by simply as "Utada," while the press mostly refers to her as Utada Hikaru. Utada Hikaru is one of the most popular and successful Asian American artists today, given her personality, singing, songwriting, and producing ability, looks, lifestyle, and upbringing.
She was born in New York City, New York 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 "Keiko Fuji"). She made her first professional recording at the age of twelve, and recorded her first album, 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."