When Richie Stephens recorded “Mary Jane” for his duets album “Life Your Life” earlier this year, little did he know that the song would find favor with fans, thousands of mile away in the country where the original song was recorded in 1971.
VP Records representative in Japan Koji Yawata said “Mary Jane” is still a big song in Japan. He said the song has been covered by many Japanese and for 2012 earned more than US$30,000 from master & publishing rights.
Celebrated Japanese singer/drummer Hiro Tsunoda wrote and recorded the original song, which became the biggest hit of his career. Tsunoda recently took to YouTube to pay tribute to Richie’s rendition of his song.
“Hi Richie…My name is Hiro” he said in his thick Japanese accent. “I heard your song. Of course my song is nice but your song is excellent. I love it! Someday I will see you.”
Richie, who had a chance to watch the video tribute, was moved to tears by what he saw and heard on the clip.
“When I first heard the song, I fell in love with it immediately” he recalled. “I feel its a great honor to receive such a powerful endorsement from the original singer. My heart is overjoyed to see Mr Hiro’s video message saying that he loves my rendition very much. Once again its truly a blessing.”
VP Records/VPAL Label Manager in New York, Donovan Williams said, “’Live Your Life’ is an excellent album produced by Danny Browine. The collaboration is a great accomplishment and achievement for Richie Stephens and Gentleman.”
Williams revealed that since the release of “Live Your Life,” many journalists and radio DJs familiar with “Mary Jane” have enquired about the story behind the song.
“A few months ago, I was asked to do the song in a dub plate style for a Japanese sound system” Stephens noted.
“When I listened to the song a few times, it felt like it was written for me. Truth be told, I was hooked! I was so into it, I didn’t wait long before I recorded the song. Hiro is someone who sings from the heart. I would love to record a song with him someday” he confessed.
So far the success of “Mary Jane” is opening up doors and opportunities that were not on the table a few months ago.
“Japan is a favorite country of mine to perform and based on conversations that are going on now with my booking agent and promoters in Japan, I think a tour is definitely in the making” he gushed.