Utada, Boa set sights on America with dueling English-language discs

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Big in Japan just isn’t big enough for at least two Asian singers in 2009. Hikaru Utada (pictured) and Boa, two of Tokyo’s top-selling artists, are releasing English language CDs this month in an attempt to win over American pop and R&B fans. 

For decades, Japanese music managers and American record labels have tried to crack the lucrative stateside market with top-selling artists, including Seiko Matsuda in the 1980s and Toshi Kubota in the 1990s. Each time, the endeavor invariably fails; last year, Universal didn’t even bother releasing an English-language record from one if its rising R&B stars, Ai, despite the fact that the singer was born in L.A., is fluent in English and can belt like Beyoncé.

While Boa and Utada are certainly not the first artists to dream of “making it” in the West, Utada’s “This Is the One” and Boa’s self-titled “The First Album” represent a potential watershed moment for Asian pop stars in America: Both offerings arguably surpass previous crossover attempts from the land of the rising sun. 

Los Angeles-based record producer Joey Carbone, who has worked in Japan with singers such as Yuki Koyanagi and Crystal Kay, stated in an e-mail that "both records are good...Boa is a great dancer and a good singer. Utada is a very good singer and a great

Charlie Amter Music Music Biz News
03/19/2009 11:22


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