Japanese Singer Hikaru Utada - The One That Got Away
Like other Asian artists, luck wasn't on Hikaru Utada's side when she made her US debut in 2004. Her album Exodus did not give her the fame and stardom that most Asian artists dreamt about. After few years, the Japanese-American singer-songwriter returns simply as 'Utada', with another English-language album entitled This is the One.
Despite the rapid expansion of South Korean culture internationally - also known as the Hallyu wave - several Korean artists have been equally neglected by Uncle Sam. Kpop stars like Rain, Se7en, and BoA didn't create as much of a ripple in the States as they did in the Asian area, allegedly due to inefficient marketing strategies.
Where most Koreans have failed, Utada had an advantage. The Jpop queen had better access to promotional machinery by signing with Island Def Jam, the world's largest record label that handles American rappers LL Cool J, Method Man, and Kanye West.
Promotions-wise, Hikki had some luck in different industries, ranging from music television to gaming. Her singles have won the hearts of many RPG boys through a video game franchise, while the J-drama girls were most familiar with her hit songs in Hana Yori Dango and Last Friends. She has also appeared in ads for a French beauty products chain.
'Though Utada has gathered a loyal American following, her vocal style in the carrier single 'Come Back to Me' sounded much like Mariah. Luckily, the copycat motif didn't lead to a downtrend like most of her Korean counterparts experienced.
The track 'This is the One' fuses radio-friendly urban and R&B beats, while 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence' and 'Me Muero' showed her penchant for experimentation. The songs were reminiscent of the musical genius displayed in her previous hits like 'First Love' and 'Automatic'.
Lyricism may not be her expertise, but Hikaru is still a well-packaged artist with much potential. Even though she hasn't joined the electronica-trance bandwagon yet, she already has three titles in the listing of the best-selling Japanese albums of all time.
Unluckily, Utada had to take a break due to health issues. When she gets back to continue promoting her album, let's keep our fingers crossed that This is the One will set her apart.