Mar. 13 - Japan's pop princess, Utada, makes her third attempt to crack the U.S. market with her new album, "This is the One."
In her new album, she goes back to Western-style pop and R&B. Critics say she has a good shot at making it in America. Fred Katayama reports from New York.She has come back to her real self. And now, this musical megastar from Japan hopes that on her third try, she'll finally succeed in the United States. Known in Japan as Utada Hikaru, she has sold 26 million albums. But the pop princess flopped when she debuted in the U.S. five years ago with "Exodus," an electronically fueled, alternative work. It only sold 55,000 units.(SOUNDBITE)(English) Utada, singer-songwriter, saying:"I'm not surprised my first English album, Exodus, didn't sell. It wasn't the kind of thing that would sell. It was a very experimental album."Partly raised in her native New York City and Tokyo, the Columbia University dropout has P-O-P in her DNA. Her mother, Keiko Fuji, is a famous ballad singer; her father, Teruzane, a record producer. At 15, she cut a single that went nowhere. The next year, the singer-songwriter's first big work, "First Love," sold more than 9 million copies, becoming the best selling album in Japanese history. In the title track, she comfortably swings between English and Japanese.Now, at 26, she says her recent divorce from her husband has given her a fresh perspective.(SOUNDBITE)(English) Utada, singer-songwriter, saying:"After that, I did a lot of maturing again. This new life experience, and I became single again, and I think that was a good opportunity to figure out who I was to begin with, am true, and become more of an individual."And that's reflected in her new album. She goes back to Western-style pop and R&B. Critics like Christopher John Farley of the Weekend Wall Street Journal says she has a good shot. SOUNDBITE)(English) Christopher John Farley, culture editor, Weekend Wall Street Journal, saying:"The only thing that stands between Utada and stardom in the U.S. is really good marketing. That's just about it. Because the talent is there. She has songwriting ability."Used to selling millions, Utada hopes Americans respond when her album goes on sale in the U.S. this month. Fred Katayama, Reuters, New York.