Hironobu Kageyama is immensely popular all over the world, not just as the leader of super group JAM Project, but also as a solo artist. He is celebrating his 40th anniversary since his debut, and A.O.R., his original 40th anniversary album produced by the multiple Grammy Award-winning David Foster, will be released today (July 25th) to celebrate this milestone year.
The Untold Story Behind the Making of Hironobu Kageyama’s 40th Anniversary Album
In Part 1 we asked him more questions about JAM Project. In Part 2 we want to know more about his artistic side, such as anecdotes from his new original album produced by Canadian producer David Foster whom he had wished to work with, about his past, and about his plans for the future.
If you haven’t checked out our previous article of his interview, read it here!
The title of the album expresses my wish to always and forever continue my music journey.
First, please tell us about your new original album, A.O.R. that celebrates 40 years of activities. Is AOR, or ‘Adult-Oriented Rock’, the style with you chose to express your own musicianship?
Kageyama: That’s right. I seized this opportunity when I worked on ‘Beginning’, one of the tracks included in the album, together with David Foster whom I have long adored. It was a dream-come-true that my old friend and president of Lantis, Shunji Inoue, and I had hoped for.
When my old band LAZY split up in the past, there was this new music movement called Adult-Oriented Rock, or AOR for short. It was the hottest rock genre back then that we went after. It’s been more than 30 years since then, but considering my own originality that I’ve cultivated, I’ve found it important to dig my music style based on this genre and decided to work on it.
It had been your dream to work with David Foster for a while?
Kageyama: That’s right. It was around the fall before last that we started talking about it. We were chatting at a job-well-done party and Inoue said to me, ‘The year after next is your 40th anniversary and we should release an anniversary album. Is there anything specific you want to do?’ and I said ‘Anything? Then I’d love to make an album with David Foster.’ When we had that conversation, I thought it was just one of those light jokes over drinks. But Inoue proposed to David Foster a serious job offer through his coordinator in Los Angeles, and the coordinator replied back that he could spare time around a certain period if we could make it to Los Angeles. We hurriedly sent him my demo song on an acoustic guitar alone. We didn’t receive any reply from him for a while, and Inoue and I assumed that it hadn’t worked out well and thought he was too big for us. One day, we received an almost fully-arranged track of the song back from him. It was a real surprise for us to learn that he actually accepted the offer.
I imagine you had a happy shriek of joy.
Kageyama: Indeed. To top it all off, David Foster even suggested that I try singing in English, and I wrote English lyrics myself to complete ‘Beginning’. That was the first step for this album.
If David Foster hadn’t taken up the offer, the title of this album might not have been ‘A.O.R.’. Of course, what I wanted to do with this album was feature this genre, Adult-Oriented Rock, and that’s why I named it so, but I also wanted to provide a guidepost for myself in the album title. The fact that I could work with David Foster made it possible for me to express my wish in the title, ‘Always On the Road’, as in ‘I will always and forever continue my music journey.’
（Next page: Challenging English Lyrics）