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〜コラボレーションに至った経緯〜
HOWIE Dのソロデビュー・アルバムが日本でリリースされることについて、
「スペシャルなコラボレーションをしたい」というアイデアをHOWIE本人、レーベルスタッフとともに話し合っていた中、生まれたアイデアが
「BACKSTREET
BOYSと同じく国際的なアイデンティティを持ち、世界にも通用する日本人アーティストとのコラボレーション」というものだった。
そこで、スタッフがそれに該当する日本人アーティストを探していたとき、候補に上がったのが『U』こと城田優だった。
城田優といえば、日本人の父とスペイン人の母を持つダブルで、日本語、スペイン語に加え英語も駆使するトリリンガルというパーソナリティを持ち、
俳優としての活躍はもちろん、2011年5月に城田優ではなく世界を目指すアーティスト『U』としてエイベックスからデビューし、新人とは思えない歌唱力と音楽性の高さを見せつけ話題となった。
もともとファンということもあり、カラオケなどではBACKSTREET BOYSの楽曲を歌っていたという。
実はHOWIE自身もアメリカ国籍ながら、スペイン語が話せるバイリンガル。
両者の音楽性の高さと「スペイン」という国際的な共通項を見い出して「コラボレーションの相手は彼以外には考えられない!」と思ったスタッフは早速、
HOWIEにUとのコラボレーションを提案。HOWIEはUの歌声と音楽性を「GOOD!」と評し、それを受けてU側にラヴコールを送り、晴れてコラボ
レーションが成立することになった。
そして同時にレコーディングを行い出来上がった楽曲が「If I Sayfeat. U」だ。

Translation:
Backstory of the Collaboration

As Howie D (was preparing) for the release of his Japanese CD, Howie personally said "I want to do a special collaboration".
Working with the staff from the label (Avex), in keeping with the idea that Backstreet Boys had an international identity, they decided that they should use a Japanese artist who had an international identity as well.
As the staff corresponded while searching for a Japanese artist, Shirota('s name) popped as a candidate.
Shirota who has a Japanese father and a Spanish mother, is trilingual, speaking Japanese, Spanish and can communicate in English.
While he acts of course, he made his debut on May 5th, 2011, releasing music under the stage name "U", an Avex artist who was still (relatively unknown) and possessing high musical skills.
Howie himself while American, is bilingual, speaking Spanish as well.
Since both possess such high skills and with discovering this common "Spanish" background. The staff thinking "Having anyone other partner for this collaboration is unimaginable". So they suggested U to Howie.
On commenting on U's singing, Howie said "Good" [1]
So sending out a "Love Call" to you, the collaboration was born in public. [2]
The resulting song, (written and recorded simultaneously) is  「If I Sayfeat. U」

Notes: I did this in like 5 mins or less. It's just the gist.
[1] He might have said other stuff but it was in English so this is all you need to know, it's totally not that we didn't understand it.
[2] Does Shirota still have his radio show?

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