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The cover album commermorating Utada Hikaru's 15th anniversary since her music debut in Japan, "Utada Hikaru no Uta -13 kumi no ongakuka ni yoru 13 no kaisyaku ni tsuite-", released earlier this month in Japan. This commemorative album features artwork created by various artists & photographers, including an illustration created by Tetsuya Nomura, and various popular performers like Yasuyuki Okamura, Ayumi Hamasaki, LOVE PSYCHEDELICO, and many more.
One of the songs honored on the anniversary cover album includes "Sanctuary", produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and performed by Peabo Bryson.
For those of you unaware, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis are a famous R&B songwriting and record production team best known for their work with Janet Jackson, Usher, Mariah Carey, and foreign talent like Crystal Kay and Jyongri. They have won five Grammy Awards and have 11 nominations since the start of their music career in the 1980s. They are also responsible for producing one of Hikaru Utada's best-selling singles early in her career, "Addicted To You", which sold 1 million copies in its first week and became one of the highest first week sales for a female solo artist in Japan.
Disney fans might remember Peabo Bryson, a R&B and soul singer-songwriter, well known for his contributions to various Disney soundtracks where he performed the ending themes to Beauty and the Beast with Celine Dion and Aladdin with Regina Belle. Hopefully for many of you, this rendition of "Sanctuary" will remind you all of the riveting love ballads from the 90s that many of us grew up listening to on the radio or after our favorite films.
You can listen to a sample of "Santcuary" and read a touching message from Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, and Peabo Bryson below:
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis
Needless to say we're huge fans of Hikaru Utada so to be invited to creatively collaborate on this tribute project was a dream come true.
As songwriters and producers it's always a tremendous responsibility to remake another artists work. When asked to remake "Sanctuary" written by the iconic Hikaru Utada , that responsibility rises to a whole new level.
Upon studying "Sanctuary" we were struck by the haunting aspect of the original recording and knew we wanted to keep that element on the new version while adding different dynamic instrumentation. Because of the importance of space and silence crafted in "Sanctuary" we felt the trademark vocals of the legendary Peabo Bryson would be a perfect fit to add a soaring vocal component to complete the musical journey.
Always keeping in mind that pleasing Hikaru was our main objective, we along with our creative team of production partner "the great" John Jackson and Peabo Bryson set about crafting the perfect balance.
We are happy to say we believe we found it. We hope Hikaru loves this version of "Sanctuary" and her fans feel its a proper tribute to her incredible songwriting gift.
We look forward to working together again in the very near future.
Jimmy & Terry
I was first introduced to Utada Hikaru’s music by my business agent in Osaka many years ago and have been a fan ever since. When Jam & Lewis contacted me to record a song for the Tribute project I was truly happy and humbled to be given the opportunity.
Jimmy, Terry, John, and I spent a great deal of time trying to make the song mine, while also keeping it Hikaru’s. I think we accomplished it and I will be adding it to my set list in upcoming concerts.
It would be my dream come true, to sing a duet on my upcoming CD project, or any project with the lovely and multitalented Utada Hikaru.
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Source: Utada Hikaru official website