Hikaru Utada (宇多田ヒカル)

UH

© 宇多田ヒカル. All rights reserved.

Updated 14th August 2019.

Biography

Despite being a Japanese artist, she is originally from the US. Born to Japanese parents (one being a producer and the other an enka singer), a music career was always destined for her. It was in 1998 she made her major debut with her first album setting the highest record for sales in Japan of all time (still unbeaten to this day). In her career she has released 9 albums, and her first album on Epic Records (subsidy of Sony Records) is set to be released this year. Further to her general music success, Hikaru Utada is well-known for singing the theme songs for the Kingdom Hearts games (in Japanese and English). She has toured all over the world, which has included the UK and we hope for many more repeats.

Sound

Hikaru Utada is known for her strong and powerful voice, in a way she is the Japanese version of Adele. It is along these lines, her songs have a typically slow tempo. The arrangement of the music has a typical RnB feel to it. The drums are usually an electronic drum kit, with synths playing either rhythms or small melodies just to provide a backing for a vocals. Although the more recent songs have a more orchestral backing, giving the songs a grander feel. I do have a preference for this style as it better suits her voice, giving her more room to give a song everything she has. These more stripped back instrumentals work as her vocals are what is need to be the centrepiece of the tracks, particularly with a voice like hers.

With the two instrumentals, she has two styles to her vocals. The first is soft and smooth, with a relaxing tone. The other is more powerful and ballad driven. In both styles, she is effortlessly tuneful and has such a pure sound. You can imagine from her background, she is fluent in both Japanese and English, which adds a new dynamic to her tracks. Indeed, two of her albums are even in English and she sings the Kingdom Hearts theme songs in both languages. An effect which is added to in the way she adds English phrases into her Japanese songs and despite her powerful voice the transitions are smooth. This gives her a world-wide appeal, making her music accessible for those who prefer to hear songs in English. It just goes to demonstrate how truly talented she is.

My Top 5 Hits

  1. Passion
  2. Forevermore
  3. Flavor of Life
  4. Simple and Clean
  5. Prisoner of Love

Availability

While her music is widely available digitally in the UK, physical copies have to be imported.

Links

Website  –  Twitter

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