Born in New York City, Utada spent most of her life in transit, going back and forth to Tokyo, where she has become hugely successful.
The young talent, often referred to by the media as the Britney Spears of Japan for being a huge pop sensation there, is very different from the once-troubled pop diva.
Instead, Utada has proven she can also be a focused, straight-A student. She attended Columbia University for a short time and told Time magazine back in 2001 that, someday, she could see herself studying neuroscience, and pictured herself in a long, white lab coat working long hours in front of test tubes.
Utada returned to the Big Apple and stopped by The Early Show Saturday Edition's "Second Cup Cafe," making his U.S. television debut, to perform her hit songs, "Come Back To Me" and "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence."
Music is in her blood: Her father, Teruzane Utada, was an accomplished musician and producer, and her mother, Keiko Fuji, was a successful Japanese enka (ballad) singer.
The past decade has been nothing but noteworthy for Utada. Her 1999 debut album, "First Love," is Japan's biggest-selling album ever. Three of her albums rank among the Top Ten best-sellers. She also has had twelve number-one hits, including four songs in Japan's all-time Top 100. Overall, she's sold more than 52-million albums.
"When I start making a song, for one second I see an amazing view - and in that instant, it cracks and falls to pieces," Utada said on her official Web site. "Then, the rest of the process is trying to put the pieces back together. So when it feels familiar, when I see what I saw in that moment the song was conceived, then I know it's done."