Kenji Ozawa — the iconic ’90s Japanese singer-songwriter who suddenly released his first single in 19 years, called “Ryudotai ni Tsuite,” in February — is following up with a new song, “I Hear an Owl,” released Wednesday (Sept. 6).
The song was written in collaboration with the pop band End of the World (aka <a href=”/artist/5878940/sekai-no-owari/chart”>Sekai no Owari</a>) and marks another milestone for the 49-year-old artist as his first collaborative work in 23 years since the pop/hip-hop crossover megahit “Konya Wa Boogie Back” with the rap trio Scha Dara Parr.
Ozawa started out in the late 1980s as the member of the pop duo Flipper’s Guitar with Cornelius (Keigo Oyamada). After going solo, he released a string of pop hits in the mid-’90s and became one of the biggest-selling artists of the time. The aforementioned “Konya Wa Boogie Back” sold over half a million copies and has become a pop standard covered by many artists over the years.
End of the World is currently one of the most popular bands in Japan, and the unlikely collaboration between the millennial band and the elusive former pop icon is nothing short of extraordinary.
Apparently, Ozawa was the one who invited the group to make the record with him. He was working on “Fukuro” in New York at the time and met with the band many times there, as they are currently working on setting foot in the U.S. market. They all got to know one another and found that they shared the same interests despite their age differences, which naturally led to their recording together.
The cover art for the new single, featuring a pensive owl, is by the veteran manga artist Taiyo Matsumoto, known for such works as Tekkonkinkreet and Ping Pong.
Watch Kenji Ozawa and Sekai No Owari’s “I Hear an Owl” short film:
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