Hikaru Utada (宇多田ヒカル) (born January 18, 1983), or "Hikki" as she is known to fans, is a Japanese pop music star. She was born in New York City, New York to Japanese parents who both had roots in the Japanese music industry. She made her first professional recording at the age of 12, and recorded her first album, Precious, in 1998 under the pseudonym "Cubic U."
She moved to Tokyo later that year and attended the American School there while continuing to record on a new contract with Toshiba/EMI. She soon made her mark on Japanese music with her successful single Automatic, soon followed by the album First Love, which sold over five million copies in a month in March and April of 1999 and placed Utada among the 100 wealthiest people in Japan.
Utada returned to New York in 2000 to attend Columbia University. She continued to record while in college, and her two subsequent albums, Distance (2001) and Deep River (2002), also went multi-platinum. Shortly after the release of the latter, she announced her engagement to a photographer named Akira Taniwa. The marriage slowed her musical career significantly, and she expressed a desire to escape the spotlight for a while.
She is best known in the West for singing the theme to the video game "Kingdom Hearts," an English translation of her popular song "Hikari." Other hit Utada songs include "First Love," "Automatic," "Wait and See," "Final Distance," "Time Limit," "For You," "Traveling," and "Sakura Drops."