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[NEWS] Nylon Magazine, July 2004, US/Canada Version
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Re: [NEWS] NYLON Magazine, July 2004, US/CANADA Version
Here's the article
As Japan's biggest pop star- who is also just a normal student in Manhattan- Utada Hikaru has the best of both worlds. But for how much longer?
By Jeffrey Rotter
Nylon Magazine; June/July 2004
The woman in this picture led a double life. In New York City, her hometown, she's a Tolstoy fan who just took a leave of absence from Columbia University. She's unassuming, even a bit bookish. She shops at Gap. But in Japan she's got more fans than Yugi Oh. She sells out stadiums, and she did an MTV Unplugged.
Her name is Utada Hikaru, and she's one of Japan's biggest pop stars. Hikaru's debut album, First Love, sold about 10 million copies. A recent deal with Island Def Jam may put an end to her stateside anonymity. The singer-songwriter's first big US effort has a lot going for it. For one thing, Hikaru has reenergized her sound- gone is the precious pop of her Japanese releases, replaced by aggressive beats and an air of dance-floor sexuality that's strung with sonic gewgaws. For another thing, she called a Top-40 expert for a few of the tunes. Ten days in Miami with the can't-miss producer Timbaland resulted in three of the funkiest numbers on the record. "The whole time, I couldn't believe I was working with him," she says, obviously a bit star struck. "He said, 'You know, Utada, you're pretty dope.' I said, 'Thanks. You're pretty dope, too.'"
But the singer's trump card is her Japanese-American identity- a singular perspective in pop music. In "The Workout," Hikaru sings, "I was dancing with a dirty blond Texan/I showed him how people in the Far East get down." She's well aware of her transcultural allure, and she works it. "Yeah, well, it's so fun to!" She says, "It's natural, because it's a big part of what I think about in my daily life. And it's something I can really take advantage of. It's a bit of a reaction- sometimes with their second album, people write songs about how they're famous but they haven't changed. But I already have this position that I can react to: I am Japanese, and it's really fun to be Japanese right now. I flip through the channels and I see all the old animes that I use to watch when I was really small- and I think, 'They're playing this in the US?'"
The singer has an excellent pop pedigree. Her mom, Keiko Fuji, was one of Japan's most beloved singers in the 1970s. Her father, producer Teruzane Utada, gives her guidance in the studio and manages Hikaru's career.
By any measure, Utada has it good. She can enjoy Xtina-scale adulation in Japan, but back home in Manhattan she can live like a normal twenty-something. So, why would she ever want to raise her profile on these shores? "My mom has actually asked me, 'What are you going to do if you do get famous here?'" She says, "Part of me is like: 'Yeah, right.' Then part of me is like: 'What if I do get famous?! I can't just walk into a deli at night wearing my pajamas!'"
Still, Utada insists that American provides a kinder climate for fame. "I feel a bit freer here," she says. "Japan is the kind of place where if you get caught with weed, your records get taken off the shelves. I feel like there's a bit more room to find your own position here." And if American fame starts to drive her crazy? "I can go to Fiji or someplace."
Posted on: 2004/6/4 5:42
|Re: [NEWS] NYLON Magazine, July 2004, US/CANADA Version||Hikki-Rulz||2004/6/4 5:42|
|Re: [NEWS] NYLON Magazine, July 2004, US/CANADA Version||Q||2004/6/7 23:58|
|Re: [NEWS] NYLON Magazine, July 2004, US/CANADA Version||Gokie||2004/6/8 3:41|
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