Ian Van Dahl, was a Belgian progressive house, electro house, and deep house music project fronted by Belgian singer Annemie Coenen and produced by DJ and record producer Peter Luts. The project first achieved success in 2008 with the hit singles “You Make Me Feel,” “Let the Feelings Go,” “Love Keeps Calling” and the 2010 debut AnnaGrace album Ready to Dare. Today, Coenen continues to tour worldwide as AnnaGrace and Ian Van Dahl performing her biggest house and trance hits.
Belgian singer-songwriter Martine D. J. Theeuwen, better known as Marsha, heard that brothers and musicians Erik and Geert Vanspauwen were looking for a vocalist with experience in dance music. After getting in touch, Marsha had a successful audition and began working with the brothers until Geert “felt he was no longer needed” and quit, leaving just Erik and Marsha. A year or so later, Christophe Chantzis joined the team and Marsha was given a demo that would ultimately become “Castles in the Sky”. According to Marsha, “The vocal melody and the lyrics of ‘Castles in the Sky’ are mine. No co-writers, the lyrics were taken as I wrote them. Although Christophe hated the lyrics and the vocals of mine, which he thought interfered with the music too much (mind his Absolom remix without any vocals), A&S recordings took my version of ‘Castles in the Sky’ with my vocals and complete lyrics on it to MIDEM, the biggest European music conference held annually in Cannes, France. I immediately turned out to be a success as the song was signed for eight countries right then.”
Controversially, however, Marsha was axed from any live performances, as three dancers (including Cindy Mertens) took her place. Later, Mertens and the dancers were also dropped, and Annemie Coenen became the frontwoman for the group. While initially lipsyncing to Marsha’s vocals in live performances as well, a version of the song with Coenen’s vocals was eventually released on the album Ace.