Sanz: The Olympics are magic that the world was missing

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FILE - Alejandro Sanz performs "Mala Gente" at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala honoring Juanes on Nov. 13, 2019, in Las Vegas. Sanz performed "Imagine" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with John Legend, Keith Urban and Angelique Kidjo via pre-recorded video at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, 2021. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

MEXICO CITY – Alejandro Sanz just earned another accolade to go with his 29 Grammys: Olympic performer.

The Spanish sensation joined John Legend, Keith Urban and Angelique Kidjo on Friday to spread the message of peace at the Tokyo Games in a pre-recorded rendition of “Imagine.”

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The John Lennon-Yoko Ono standard has become an unofficial Olympic anthem. In close up on video, the four crooned the song near the end of the opening ceremony.

The song's message, Sanz said, is necessary now more than ever.

“I think it is one of the most beautiful pop hymns that have been written in history. The message cannot be more conciliatory and more ad hoc at this time,” he told The Associated Press in a video interview from Andalusia, Spain, the land of his family.

“Sports and the Olympics represent the magic that the whole world was missing,” Sanz added.

The four were summoned by the German film music composer Hans Zimmer, who arranged and produced their version.

“They sent me Hans Zimmer’s arrangements that are spectacular. They are exciting like everything he does in the cinema,” said Sanz, who is also a composer and guitar player known for flamenco-influenced ballads and work in pop, rock, funk, R&B and jazz.

Sanz didn't attend the ceremony in person, but he felt its power when he watched.

“It is true that in the stadium there was no public. The ceremony at the beginning has logically started a bit cold,” he said. “But as the athletes have entered, they have filled everything with happiness and enthusiasm, with this spirit of improvement, with effort.”

Sanz has won 25 Latin Grammys and four Grammys. He is preparing to begin a tour of the United States in October that will include stops in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Houston, among other cities, after so many months without live performances due to the pandemic.

“I’m very excited to get on stage again, I don’t know if I’m going to remember how to do that, but I’m going to try not to show it,” he joked.

Sanz is also “giving final touches” to what will be his next album.

“I really want to be able to show everything that I have been doing during the pandemic,” he said. “A lot of music and a lot of lyrics.”

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