Singer-songwriter Utada Hikaru (27, profile) shocked her fans yesterday by announcing that she will be taking an indefinite break from music. In a blog update yesterday she didn’t give many details but said that she will complete her scheduled activities for the rest of this year, including the release of a second singles collection in the autumn. The album will also include 4 or 5 five new songs. She will then concentrate on other aspects of her life, “It could be two years, it could be five, I don’t know.”
Though still in her mid-20s, Utada already has a 12-year career under her belt, as well as an unfinished university course,a brush with cancer and a failed marriage. But she acknowledges that in some ways she has yet to grow up and says she needs to do so as a “person” rather than as a “musician.” She thanked fans and the staff at the EMI label for their ongoing support and asked for their patience and understanding.
The dream is finally realized. 18 years after X Japan held a press conference in New York to announce their U.S. concert debut, it finally happened as the band took to the stage at the Lollapalooza rock festival in Chicago yesterday. They stuck to their hard rock/speed metal numbers for a 5-song set that included English language versions of the classics “Rusty Nail” and “Kuranai,” the more recent “Jade” and “I.V.” and ended with the fan favorite, “X.”
The front rows of the audience were dominated by Japanese faces, some with the elaborate fashion, makeup and hair that X Japan and their fans established as the dress code of visual kei rock. And unlike many of the locals, they certainly didn’t need any encouragement to sing along or make the traditional X symbol with their forearms. Many were reduced to tears, especially when slow motion images of the band’s late guitarist Hide were projected on a screen during an interval.
X Japan return home for two shows at the Yokohama Nissan Stadium next week, before returning to the U.S. for a full North American concert tour. The tour was scheduled to start in October but the date for the opening show has been announced as September 25 in Los Angeles, where drummer and band leader Yoshiki is based. Plans to go on a European tour from January were also revealed yesterday.
X Japan Announce First US Tour (Jul. 9, 2010)
X Japan Named to Lollapalooza Lineup (Apr. 7, 2010)