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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Utada cracks top 20 list on iTunes


Staff writer

After a humiliating setback in the United States, a Japanese diva has staged a comeback.

News photo
Comeback: The cover of the album "This is The One" by Hikaru Utada is shown in this file photo. COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL MUSIC INTERNATIONAL

Hikaru Utada's latest album, "This is The One," has grabbed 19th place overall and second in the pop music genre in the U.S. for downloads at the iTunes store, Universal Music International's Japan unit said Friday.

The achievement, the best by a Japanese musician, may help kick-start Utada's second attempt to break into the U.S. music market after her meek debut five years ago.

"Exodus," the album she released in 2004, ended up 160th in the Billboard rankings. Sales of Exodus amounted to only 55,000 copies in the U.S. but totaled 1.5 million in Japan.

Utada, one of the most popular singers and songwriters in Japan, was born and raised in Manhattan and is perfectly bilingual.

Her latest album was released Tuesday on the iTunes Web site, the largest music retailer in the U.S., Universal said in a press release. It will debut as a CD in the U.S. in May.

Utada, who is touring the U.S. to promote the album, joined a listening event at beauty goods shop Sephora in New York City that attracted more than 3,000 people, a press release said.

The CD debuted in Japan on March 14.



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The Japan Times

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