Adrian Grant ‘Michael Jackson was a normal guy’ -

Note: Michael Jackson detested the term that the UK pressed penned. We have removed that racially offensive term from the title of the original article and have refrained from hyperlinking the MetroUk url where this interview was posted Aug 10th 2014 in protest- However, we have hyperlinked Adrian Grant’s book to Amazon url for purchase.

Copy of article-

Jackson was a normal guy- 

When Adrian Grant, 40, launched a Michael Jackson fanzine, little did he know he would go on to befriend his hero. A producer of Thriller Live, he is also the author of Michael Jackson  A Visual Documentary, Tribute Edition (Omnibus, £19.95), out now

Was the coverage around Michael’s death over the top?
At the weekend they ran pictures of the bed where he apparently passed away. The intrusion into his life after death is as great as it was when he was alive. He was always concerned about his privacy and media intrusion and he despised the tabloids for it. Obviously, they are doing that even more so now and I can only hope his children are shielded from it.

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Adrian Grant: ‘Jackson was a normal guy’
Where were you when you found out about his death and what was your reaction?
I was at home and could not believe it. I knew he had been taken to hospital but I thought it was just exhaustion and not as serious as it turned out. It took a while to sink in; even when it was announced he had died, I still didn’t believe it. Being surrounded by his music constantly, it still feels like he is with us in spirit and I think he is a bigger star now in passing than he was before.

You went to the US for the tribute. Your thoughts?
It was good to be there. It was very emotional. I’m glad I went, I got to meet the family and have some time with Paris, who gave a very moving speech. It reminded people Michael was first and foremost a father figure. She is adorable, I gave her a copy of my book and she was very grateful. They have been brought up very well.

Are the children biologically Michael’€™s?
All I know is that Michael raised them 24/7, he was very much their father and the children adore him. They miss him very much obviously. The public and media perception of Michael is very different to the real person, who I spent a lot of time with. The person I met was caring and always liked to laugh. He was a genius in the studio and I don’t think he got enough credit for that when he was alive. People focused mainly on the headlines.

Lisa Marie has said he was much different in real life; that his voice was deeper and he was more regular. Was that true?
He was very aware of his image in public. I met him when he was with Lisa Marie and, again, the perception was that it was a fake relationship but it wasn’t. On the occasions I met them, they were very protective of each other. She asked Michael who I was and why I was there and he comforted her that I was a trusted person and then she opened up. They were like a normal couple. He would ask her opinion of his songs and play with her children. The Michael I knew was regular person away from the cameras but very shy.

What was it like the first time you met him?
I didn’t know what to expect. You have a press perception of what Michael is like and he is a massive superstar. The first time I met him, he came into a recording studio, he had no make-up on and he invited me to Neverland for the weekend.

How old were you?
I started the Off The Wall fanzine when I was 19 and he invited me over when I was 21. I have a lot to thank him for, I did not think I would start a fanzine and go on to produce a West End show. He was the inspiration and I took perfectionism from his lead. He told me to always do the best I could. He could be a tough person when he needed to be. He took a lot of knocks but always got back up again.

What are your thoughts on the paedophilia allegations?
The Michael Jackson I spent time with was an innocent man.

Would you have been comfortable to leave your children with him for the night?
I have a daughter and I have been to Neverland many times. My daughter has sleepovers and Michael was a great father. If you know someone and trust them and feel comfortable then I do not see anything wrong with it.


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A Place With No Name

Epic Records and The Estate of Michael Jackson, announced today that “A Place With No Name,” the next single from this year’s critically acclaimed, chart-topping Michael Jackson album XSCAPE [MJJ Music/Epic Records], will make history when it premieres on Twitter ( At 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday August 13, 2014 the short film will be tweeted through @MichaelJackson allowing the Twitter universe to be able to view the video within a tweet. And for those fans in New York City, “A Place With No Name” will be shown on the massive Sony screen in Times Square at the very same moment.

Throughout his entire career, Michael has always stood on the cutting edge of groundbreaking technological advancements. With “A Place With No Name” as the very first music video to launch through Twitter, he continues to set the pace of pop culture and music yet again. Follow @MichaelJackson to watch the historical moment from the “King of Pop” unfold.

Increasing anticipation, a preview of the video is set to make its network television debut on the special Michael Jackson themed episode of FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance broadcast that same evening beginning at 8PM ET. The show will open with a Top Eight group performance featuring “A Place With No Name” choreographed by the Emmy award-winning Travis Payne, who worked as both back-up dancer and choreographer for Michael Jackson. During the program, all of the Top Eight remaining contestants will compete with new all-star partners and each performance will feature a different Michael Jackson song, including songs from XSCAPE.

Michael re-envisioned America’s 1972 classic “A Horse With No Name” to convey a narrative following a man whose car breaks down and is led by a mysterious woman to a utopian place where “no one is in fear” and “no people have pain”. It was a collaboration with Elliott Straite [Dr. Freeze] done in 1998 at Record Plant Recording Studio.

The beautifully shot short film, directed by iconic award-winning director Samuel Bayer, whose credits include seminal videos from Nirvana and The Rolling Stones, has been created by following Michael’s overall vision for short films which tell the song’s story, in this case, of a man enticed into a magical “place” by a mysterious woman. The short film also includes outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage of Michael shot during the production for “In The Closet” short film, which have been kept in the vault since 1992.

Upon its May release, XSCAPE reached #1 in 52 countries and went Top 5 in 87 more territories. Stateside, it debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200, simultaneously landing at #1 on Amazon and Spotify. The album’s first single, “Love Never Felt So Good,” a duet by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake soared to the Top in the U.S. and achieved 17 #1 and 67 Top 5 positions around the world. The single also made for Michael’s highest Billboard chart debut since 1995 and fourth highest ever at #20 as his 49th smash hit. The album also generated his 50th top 10 Billboard chart with “Slave To The Rhythm” making Michael the first artist to ever have a Top Ten hit in each of six consecutive decades.
Michael Jackson is one of the most beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artists of all-time. He was also a dedicated philanthropist and an astute business professional. To date Jackson has sold 1 billion records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and “Thriller” as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 17 Grammy Awards including 8 in one year, a record in itself, and received 26 American Music Awards, including the Artist of the Century Award. Jackson defined the art form of music video with such ground-breaking short films as “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and the classic “Thriller,” which in 2009 became the first and only music video inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. In his short films “Black or White”, “They Don’t Care About Us”, “Bad and “Smooth Criminal” and others, Jackson set an aesthetic standard for video production that remains unsurpassed even today. The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil have produced two top shows: Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour is one of the top grossing tours of all time; and MICHAEL JACKSON ONE, a permanent show at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, which is breaking box office records and receiving critical raves. Jackson’s sound, style and dance moves continue to inspire today’s performers and new generations of fans worldwide

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Michael Jackson Creative Genius – Dr. Arturo Hernandez

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 12.02.40 PMMichael Jackson, 10,000 hours, and the roots of creative genius -
By Arturo Hernandez

That any person could become an expert in something if they simply spend about 3 hours per day for ten years learning it is an appealing concept. This idea, first championed by Ericsson and brought to prominence by Gladwell, has now taken root in the popular media. It attempts to discuss these differences in terms of the environment. The idea is that practice with the purpose of constantly gathering feedback and improving can lead any person to become an expert. If becoming an expert requires 10,000 hours, does a prodigy need 20,000.

Lets consider, Michael Jackson, as an example of a prodigy. He grew up in a musical family in Gary, Indiana just outside Chicago. His father Joe played in an R&B band. All of his siblings played music in one way or another. Unlike his siblings and father, Jackson did not really play any instruments. However, he would compose songs in his head using his voice. One morning he came in and had written a song which eventually became ‘Beat It’. In the studio, he would sing each of the different parts including the various instruments. Then the producers and artists in the studio would work on putting the song together, following his arrangements.

Work in cognitive neuroscience has begun to shed light on the brain systems involved in creativity as being linked to psychometric IQ. Work by Neubauer and Fink suggests that these two different types of abilities, psychometric IQ and expertise, involve differential activity in the frontal and parietal lobes. They also appear for different types of tasks. In one study, taxi drivers were split into a high and low group depending on their performance on a paper and pencil IQ test. The results showed that both groups did equally well on familiar routes. The differences appeared between groups when they were compared on unfamiliar routes. In this condition, those with high IQs outperformed those with low IQ. So expertise can develop but the flexibility to handle new situations and improvise requires more than just practice.

Reports of Michael Jackson’s IQ are unreliable. However, he is purported to have had over 10,000 books in his reading collection and to have been an avid reader. His interviews reveal a person who was very eloquent and well spoken. And clearly he was able to integrate various different types of strands of music into interesting novel blends. If we were to lay this out across time, we have perhaps the roots of early genius. It is a person who has an unusual amount of exposure in a domain that starts at an early age. This would lead to the ability to play music very well. Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 11.53.32 AM

Jackson came from a family filled with many successful musicians. Many were successful as recording artists. Perhaps Michael started earlier than his siblings. One conclusion we can draw from this natural experiment is that creative genius requires more than 10,000 hours. In the case of Michael Jackson, he read profusely and had very rich life experiences. He tried to meld these experiences into a blended musical genre that is uniquely his and yet distinctly resonant with known musical styles.

The kind of creativity is not restricted to prodigies like Michael Jackson. Language, our ultimate achievement as a human race, is something that no other animal species on this planet shares with us. The seeds of language exist all over the animal kingdom. There are birds that can use syntax to create elaborate songs. Chinchillas can recognize basic human speech. Higher primates can develop extensive vocabularies and use relatively sophisticated language. But only one species was able to take all of these various pieces and combine them into a much richer whole. Every human is born with the potential to develop much larger frontal lobes which interconnect with attention, motor, and sensory areas of the brain. It is in these enlarged cortical areas that we can see the roots of creative genius. So while 10,000 hours will create efficiency within restricted areas of the brain, only the use of more general purpose brain areas serve to develop true creativity.

Arturo Hernandez is currently Professor of Psychology and Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience graduate program at the University of Houston. He is the author of The Bilingual Brain. His major research interest is in the neural underpinnings of bilingual language processing and second language acquisition in children and adults. He has used a variety of neuroimaging methods as well as behavioral techniques to investigate these phenomena which have been published in a number of peer reviewed journal articles. His research is currently funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development. You can follow him on Twitter @DrAEHernandez.

Image credit: Michael Jackson with the Reagans, by White House Photo Office. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Source :

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Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall Was the Perfect Pop Record by Prof. Marc Anthony Neal

By Marc Anthony Neal – Die-hard Michael Jackson fans know that before Thriller, Off the Wall—released 35 years ago this week—was his signature achievement.

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What is Michael Jackson’s greatest album? The answer helps establish whether you were introduced to Jackson via Thriller, the crown jewel of his commercial legacy, or whether you were riding with him long before he donned the sequined glove—since Off the Wall, the classic album released 35 years ago this week that represents Jackson at his most brilliant musically and that may be the most perfect pop recording of the late 20th century.

Off the Wall is remembered as the first in a series of collaborations between Jackson and producer-arranger Quincy Jones that would redefine pop. Yet when Jackson and Jones first began to work together, on the set of The Wiz, Jones was actually focused on another young black male vocalist, Luther Vandross, who had contributed “Brand New Day” to The Wiz soundtrack and who was featured on Jones’ 1978 recording Sounds … and Stuff Like That.

That Jackson’s youthful professionalism impressed Jones—himself a veteran of the same chitlin circuit that produced Jackson and his brothers, in the form of the Jackson 5—is no surprise, but Jones also detected a certain something that Jackson possessed—charisma, genius, brashness—that would allow them to push music forward. And “You Can’t Win,” from The Wiz, was the first fruit of their partnership.

READ full article: TheRoot 

Mark Anthony Neal is a professor of African and African-American studies at Duke University and a fellow at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. He is the author of several books, including Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities. Follow him on Twitter- @NewBlackMan

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Special Story Behind the Statues at Neverland


Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 4.04.35 PMTaking a closer look at ~ the Statues at Neverland. ~ “Circle of Peace” by Utah artist Gary Price. A beautiful piece chosen by Michael, the life-sized bronze sculpture depicts children from different ethnic backgrounds, including a child with Down syndrome, holding hands in a game of Ring Around the Rosie.

Artist Price described the work as ‘Portraying children from all walks of life playing with and enjoying each other. The circle that the children form represents the continuum of humanity. The clasped hands represent the interaction and cooperation, together with compassion and respect, which engenders humanity. Respect for each other’s uniqueness bridges the gap between any indifference.

I created a space in the circle and it is fascinating to watch children interact with the piece. Quickly, they notice the gap and instantly clasp the two outstretched hands and complete the circle. Each and every person is a vital element in this wonderful circle of life’. This piece is a popular piece of artwork and is commissioned in 3.5. and 7 children making up the circle.

The ‘Circle of Peace’ has been returned to Neverland and now surrounds a bed of flowers [pic 5]

Source: UKLovesMJ facebook

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Michael Jackson Needed A Place to Stay – 2004

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.10.45 PMAnother lovely but little known story about Michael Jackson and his interactions with people with generous hearts.

In April 2004, Jackson was to receive an award from the African Ambassadors’ Spouses Association for his humanitarian work. But few of the journalists seeking credentials for the event cared about his work in Africa—they wanted to ask him about what had happened at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. So a routine trip to Washington became anything but routine. Jackson needed a place to stay, and those closest to him were finding that there was no acceptable room in a Washington hotel. The real-estate agent assigned to locate lodgings for him was running out of options. Stopping for a bite to eat, she saw the April 2004 Washingtonian.

It featured a “Great Places to Live” article with me, my wife, and our two children on the cover. The story talked about how we had designed a house near Leesburg with no walls and plenty of open space. The agent knew us well enough to pick up the phone and ask whether we’d consider allowing Michael Jackson and his children to stay in our home. What would you have done if a friend had called out of the blue and suggested that Michael Jackson might be interested in staying at your home? We first assumed she was joking. But she was serious. On the previous Sunday, the sermon delivered by our minister, Reverend Dr. Norman A. Tate, had been about the Good Samaritan. Reverend Tate was the first person we consulted. Should we offer Michael Jackson safe haven?

That night, following a lengthy family discussion and vote, we ironed out the details and began preparing for the Jackson family’s arrival. Michael Jackson travelled with an entourage of 14. There were two cooks, three nannies, three children, personal assistants, tutors, security men, and Jackson himself. He moves in, you move out. (We stayed at a hotel.) Those who surrounded him called him the Client or the Principal. Rarely was he referred to by name. There were stretch Hummers and Suburban’s that suggested a visit by a head of state—which is what our neighbours suspected. Before he moved in, the house had to be prepared. His entourage covered all glass windows and doors. He was to have white bed linens and towels only. His favourite scent, a mountain fragrance, was sprayed everywhere and lingered for weeks after his departure. Then, under the cover of darkness, he arrived. His private jet flew in and out of the Leesburg airport.

That evening as he moved in, we dined at a local restaurant, courtesy of the entertainer, and wondered whether he was enjoying our house as much as we did. We wondered whether he admired the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the deck and whether he took a stroll and noted the seven species of birds that call our acres home. Did he play the baby grand piano? Did his children frolic in the small dance studio? Would he enjoy the pool and hot tub and five acres, or would he just hole up and hide? The next morning brought invitations for us to attend several events, including a BET reception and the African ambassadors’ reception. Before Jackson’s arrival at the BET affair, a who’s who of Washington’s African-American elite waited patiently. There were plenty of nasty remarks; some couples talked about how they wouldn’t let their children anywhere near Jackson. Then he arrived and the stampede began. Those who had ridiculed him the most were first in line.

His assistant ushered us to the front of the receiving line. We were told Jackson wanted to meet us first to thank us for allowing him and his children to use our home. He talked about the family pictures on the walls and how comfortable the place felt. It was all very pleasant, but you could tell there was something unsettled about him. You could tell what he coveted most: He’d grown up without a childhood, and our house is filled with the kind of childhood memories money can’t buy—baptisms, first-birthday parties, family adventures. To keep his stay at our house secret, we arrived there in the morning in time for the school bus to pick up one of our two daughters. We were always met by one of Jackson’s bodyguards dressed in all black. I finally told him that if he wanted Jackson’s presence to remain secret, he shouldn’t meet us every morning looking like Mr. T. Reporters were in high gear searching for Jackson. We feared a media circus in our neighbourhood. Our daughters, then 13 and 15, went to school each day wondering if their world would unravel.

On day eight, we were surprised Jackson wasn’t ready to leave, as the agreement had called for. That night, he arranged for a private wine-and-cheese reception at our own house so our children could meet his. He was more than gracious. While I worked, my wife and daughters were greeted by Jackson and his three kids. They spoke of childhood and normality. His children were very talkative; he was soft-spoken but playful. My wife described him as a gentle soul who obviously loved his children and they him. He also was willing to discipline his kids. He posed for pictures and agreed to autograph many things, including CDs. By day nine, Jackson and his children were gone. As word of Michael Jackson’s death on June 25 spread, my family mourned the man we’d met not as the King of Pop but as a person trapped inside a world that was and was not of his own creation, a man who came to us through his representatives in need of a place to stay. As I sat on our deck and looked west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains, I hoped he now was seeing what I see each and every night—a perfect sunset.
Story by Del Walters

A video of the some of the award presentation to Michael Jackson by The African Ambassadors’ Spouses Association
Source:  Remembering The Times  facebook post dated 7/29/2014

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Michael Jackson “was a big kid” – Michael R. Thomas

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Michael Jackson’s Make-Up Artist for “The Wiz” Michael R. Thomas recalls memorable experiences with Michael on and off the set.

Every morning I began Michael’s make-up by applying a bald cap to keep his hair, which was in very small braids, in place. Next I would apply the foam-latex pieces: a forehead piece, two cheek pieces, a nose piece (which was supposed to look like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrapper), a chin piece and a neck ruffle. They went on in the morning and had to be maintained during the day.Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 3.15.36 PM

Because the Scarecrow was a very cartoon-y character, Michael made lots of exaggerated facial expressions to bring the Scarecrow to life. The facial calisthenics looked great, but they also loosened the foam-latex pieces, so I would have to re-glue and re-paint the make-up. To remove the make-up at the end of the day, I would stand behind Michael, lift the back of the bald cap and peel it up over his head. The cap and the foam-latex appliances would come off pretty much all in one piece.

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But then I’d duck down behind his chair so he couldn’t see my reflection in the mirror, put the make-up (which now looked like a spooky mask) on my hand, slowly raise it up behind his head and jiggle it, going, “OOODLE-OOODLE-DOOODLE-DE-OOOOHHH!” He would laugh like crazy, as if it were one of the funniest things he’d ever seen. I really enjoyed his childlike sense of humor; I could say or do any dumb thing and it would get a big laugh. I would then remove the remainder of his make-up, glue and adhesives and that would be it. We’d go home and get ready for the next day’s shooting

When we were talking one day, I told Michael that when I was a little boy, I taught myself how to draw, which was pretty much the beginning of my becoming a make-up artist. He asked to see an example. I took a pen and drew a quick sketch of the Frankenstein monster. He liked it. He said that he and his brothers and sisters sometimes played a game to fight boredom: One of them would draw a few abstract lines on a piece of paper, give it to another sibling and say, “OK, now make a fire engine out of this, or a tree,” etc. and the other sibling had to complete the drawing in a certain amount of time.

When I played the game with Michael, I tried to trick him by drawing a few curvy lines that I felt did not suggest a cat. As far as I was concerned, these curvy lines looked nothing like a cat. So I said, “Go ahead, make a cat out of these lines!” And within 30 seconds he had drawn a cat. Not as I would have pictured one, standing on all fours, but a pussycat curled up asleep. Then he made a couple new drawings on the spot, and I kept them with his blessing. One of the drawings was of a man’s face. It’s pretty sketchy and kind of impressionistic. Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 3.22.20 PM

There’s a phenomenon that frequently occurs when a make-up artist and an actor work together: instant intimacy. Make-up artists and hairstylists are kind of like psychiatrists or bartenders. You’re in the same room, physically close for hours at a time, sometimes for many days. Because people usually have the urge to talk, the subject matter often changes from chitchat to some very serious subjects. And though the two of us were only together to work on a movie, we got to know each other pretty well.

I asked Michael over for dinner one night. We had to keep quiet about it, because if anybody found out, word would spread like wildfire. It was 1978 and at age 19, Michael was already well-known around the world. So he came over to our apartment in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his armed bodyguard, Spence. Dinner was Cornish game hens and, by Michael’s request, Stove Top Stuffing, which he said the folks in his home town of Gary, Indiana referred to as “dressin’.”

We had a great time that night. Because I play guitar a little, I showed him how to play some easy chords on my acoustic guitar. He had always admired people who could play musical instruments and had often fantasized about being the lead guitarist in a rock band.

At that time, the comedian Robert Klein had made an appearance on Saturday Night Live; he came out with a harmonica, gave the band the downbeat by stomping his foot, and cried, “Lemme hear some blues!” The band struck up the introduction to a blues number and he began playing the harmonica with them, stomping his feet, leg pumping in time. After the opening 16 bars, he pulled the harmonica from his lips and, foot still stomping, sang, “I can’t stop my leg, little darlin’.. I can’t stop my leg, little guurrl!” Well, Michael got a big kick out of this. So while I played a blues chord progression on my guitar, Michael stomped his foot and sang, “I can’t stop my leg!” At one point while he was singing, he said, “Now listen to me, people” and I broke up because he was really getting into it.

So I got to know the great Michael Jackson a little. He told me once that whatever he happened to be doing—working on a movie, cutting a record, appearing live on stage—it was the most important thing in his entire life while he was doing it. It really showed. No matter what he was doing, his talent spoke—and sang, and danced—for itself.

Michael was a very special person whose life was a combination of extremes. He enjoyed normal, down-to-earth things, but he also earned lifetime membership to a very exclusive club. His talent, tempered by lifelong discipline, reached the hearts of countless admirers and reshaped music for all time. He was denied his childhood; I think he spent the rest of his adult life trying to live it for the first time. He was a big kid!

Note: Michael R. Thomas died in August 24th 2009, just 2 months after Michael Jackson…RIP

From Michael Jackson- Remembering the Times facebook

Source: A Tale of Two Michaels

To See More great pix of Michael as The Scarecrow visit


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