Dig into the liner notes for Drake’s new album and you’ll come across a name familiar to perhaps a different segment of music fans: celebrated Canadian crooner Paul Anka.
On the Toronto rapper and singer’s latest album Scorpion, released on streaming services Friday, the track Don’t Matter to Me features the late Michael Jackson’s unmistakable voice. Anka is listed as a co-writer.
Back in 1983, the Ottawa-born Anka teamed up with Jackson for about a month to work on a planned duets album. Later that year, Jackson went on to release his iconic Thriller and much of their shared material from those sessions remained in the vault.
A few months after Jackson’s death in 2009, however, Sony unveiled This Is It, a reworked version of the tune I Never Heard that he’d co-written with Anka.
That fruitful 1983 session also gave birth to Love Never Felt So Good, included on Sony’s 2014 album Xscape, a posthumous collection of previously unreleased Michael Jackson music.
Jackson’s vocals on the new Drake track come from It Don’t Matter to Me, another product of the Anka-MJ partnership.
Teased for months
Anka teased that he was working with Drake back in February, when he shared a photo of himself alongside the Toronto rapper-singer.
He offered a shout-out of sorts when stopping in Drake’s hometown in May, while accepting a lifetime achievement honour during Canadian Music Week.
Anka further elaborated on this latest collaboration, a track he described as ” kind of left field, it’s so cool,” in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen published last month.
“There was apprehension when we got together [because] you want to know people and you want to like them. I’m at the stage in my life that I don’t want to waste my time [but Drake is] a good human being,” Anka said working with the 31-year-old performer.
“It just came together with him creatively and intellectually. We’ve got a great record.”
The 76-year-old Anka also told the Ottawa Citizen that he doesn’t believe in retirement, saying that continuing to work has kept him young.
“When you’re in our industry and you do what you do on your terms, art has no time.”