Anthony DeCurtis: Hello Ladies and Gentlemen this is Anthony DeCurtis your on GetMusic.com and we’re here tonight for a very special event. The King of Pop, one of the greatest artists in the history of popular music, Michael Jackson is going to be joining us. He has a new record coming out on October 30 (2001) It’s called “Invincible” and you can check it out at MichaelJackson.com and you can pre-order it at GetMusic.com. Michael, it is a pleasure to talk to you man!
Michael Jackson: It’s a pleasure to talk to you.
AD: Tell us a little bit about the new album? You know it’s your first new record in 6 years. Do you still get excited when you have stuff that comes out? Obviously you have accomplished so much over the years, do you still feel that “Wow, I wonder what people are going to think?” or feel all of that kind of anticipation?
MJ: I kind of parallel it to like um, you know it’s like a gestation process of a birth. You know it’s like having children and having to raise them, bring them out into the world and once they get into the world they are on their own so it’s very exciting. I mean you never get too used to it. Never. It’s an incredible process but you leave it in the hands of God like you do when you’re having a child.
AD: Absolutely! We’ve got our questions that are beginning to pour in from your fans on the internet. We’ve got Electric Eyes Mail writing in and it says “Michael, you are in my mind the greatest artist of all time and the true King of Pop, Rock and Soul”, and he wants to know “What is your favorite song on the album?”
MJ: My favorite song on the new album. Can I pick two?
AD: Yeah, I think you could do that. You can pretty much do whatever you like.
MJ: It would probably be Unbreakable, I’ll pick three… Speechless and The Lost Children
AD: Tell us about a couple of those tracks? What was it like working with like special guests, were you working with new producers or how you wrote them you know something that gives us some flavor?
MJ: Well, the songwriting process is something that is very difficult to explain because it is very spiritual. It’s really just in the hands of God and it’s as if it’s been written already, that’s the real truth. It’s like it’s been written in it’s entirely before you were born and you’re just the source through which the songs come. Really, because they just fall right into your lap in it’s entirety. You don’t have to do much thinking about it and I feel guilty for having to put my name on the songs. I do write them, I compose them, I write them, I do the scoring, I do the lyrics, I do the melody but still it’s the work of God.
AD: Samantha from Canada sent us in a question and she would like to know “How would you describe the sound on Invincible and have you incorporated any other genres into the album?”
MJ: Well the sound is… Sonically we always try to make sure we have pristine, detailed you know the best sound, the best engineers and the best technicians available and of course, I try to make the album a potpourri of wonderful melodies of any style because I don’t believe in stylizing or branding of any type of music. I think a great artist should be able to create any style, any form, anything from rock to pop to folk to gospel to spiritual to just wonderful music. Anybody can sing from the Irish farmer to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem you know if you can whistle and hum it that’s the most important thing.
AD: Now when you’re working do you find or are you in a mode where you like to listen to other music or listening to the radio or maybe picking up people’s CD’s or when you’re working do you like to just shut it all out and concentrate intently on what you’re doing?
MJ: I pretty much… I always know what’s going on. On the radio, in clubs what people are listening to. Even though people think I live at Neverland, mentally I’m in Never Never Land all the time but (laughing) I’m always connected, I always know what’s going on in the music world ALL THE TIME! Not just in America, but internationally, you know all over the world and when I’m working though, I don’t think I’m influenced by a lot of the music today, I pretty much create what’s in my heart. It’s very original and I try to be as original as possible. I don’t say “Okay I’m going to make this a great R&B song or a great pop song” I just want to make a great song.
AD: Like the song takes it’s own form.
MJ: Yeah. Yes.
AD: Well, Amber here on the internet offers you lots of love and wonders if it was fun for you to make the Rock My World video.
MJ: Yes, that was a lot of fun. We stayed up all night working very hard (laughing) and it was fun hearing it blasting on the set with really big speakers. That’s one of my favorite things, just hearing the music really loud, because I like to play music loud. If you play something over the internet or small speakers, it doesn’t have the same punch that’s why you have to buy it. You have to buy that CD to really hear that punch, it makes a huge difference, a HUGE difference. There’s no comparison so buying the CD is the best thing you know. There’s no comparison. You don’t hear all the sounds if you hear it on a smaller system.
AD: So when you’re out on the video set you’re able to crank it up as loud as you want?
MJ: As loud as I want!
AD: (Laughing) Very good! We have Michael Matthew from Manitoba, Canada writing in he says “I just saw Ghosts on MTV and as always you were awesome Michael. Do you have any plans on releasing it as a DVD in America?”
MJ: Yes, it will be released in a DVD in America in it’s entirety and some of the making of Ghosts and that was one of my most favorite thing I have ever done because It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to do something kind of scary but comical at the same time and it has all the elements of just fun because I don’t want to scare people to the point where they’re afraid to go to sleep, I want it to have a little sense of humor. Within the laughter there is a tear. So it’s fun you know these ghosts weren’t really scary, they walked up the ceilings, little kids were laughing at them so it was fun, we didn’t want to horrify them. We gave this fat man, this mayor, his justice for coming into my house, which was private property you know, judging me.
AD: Absolutely! We have Cloudlee2000 who writes in and wonders “Why did you name the album Invincible?”
MJ: Well, Invincible is something, I think it was the proper name … it’s one of the cuts on the album. I’ve been an artist for… not to pat myself on the back, but the Guinness Book of World’s Records just enlisted me another time as the artist that has had the longest stretch career. Since I’ve been a little, little kid to this point with still hit records and number one records and I’m so proud and honored that I’ve been chosen from the heavens or whatever it is to be “Invincible” and continue to grow and to serve the people. To serve the people with wonderful entertainment.
AD: Now one of the kind of conventional wisdom these days in the music industry is that audiences really don’t have an attention span anymore. You know if an artist stays away for too long their audience wanders off and goes somewhere else. Was that a concern of yours with coming out with a record and taking a while to work on Invincible or are you convinced your fan base is still there and will be as strong as ever?
MJ: I’m… You know you ask me this question and it has never concerned me once and I’ve never thought of it because I have always known that if music is truly great or if a movie is truly great, people want to see it or hear it. No matter how long you’ve been away or whatever the situation is you know, greatness is greatness and if you really do a good job on what you’re doing, people want to hear it or they want to see it. It doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. As long as you’re an innovator and a pioneer that’s the most important thing and giving them what they want to hear.
AD: Now SlimsLady420US sends in a question and wonders “Which song on the Invincible album do you think you personally relate to the most?”
MJ: Umm. Unbreakable
AD: Talk a bit about that track because you’ve mentioned it a couple of times. I’m getting really curious about it. What can you tell us about it?
MJ: I’m one of the few people in show business that have been through the ins and outs of so many different things umm I’ve been through Hell and back. I have, to be honest, and still I’m able to do what I do and nothing can stop me. No one can stop me no matter what. I stop when I’m ready to stop and I’m just saying it you know.
Michael Jackson Interview with GetMusic.com on October 26, 2001 – Part 2
Now we have Warfull writes in: “Are you working or planning to do any more short films for Invincible, specifically for the really fast tracks such as 2000 Watts, Heartbreaker, Unbreakable and Invincible?
MJ: Absolutely and whoever said that said the right word “short film” and that’s what we try and make them short films with a beginning, a middle and an ending of a story. To take the medium to a new level and absolutely there is like an array, an encyclopedia of just great short films to make from the album. It’s exciting. I can’t wait to do Threatened which is the kind of scary one with Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone, I can’t wait to get my hands on that one.
AD: We have a question here from Napolean3 says his name is George really and it says “Michael, I think this is your most cohesive and impressive album since Thriller or really Off the Wall, what are some of your most memorable moments while recording the tracks for this album?”
MJ: Most memorable moments were… it was of all my albums I would say this one was the toughest because I was hardest on myself. I wrote so many songs, I don’t even want to say the number just to get to, how many are on there 16? Just to get to the 16 that I think are acceptable and it’s the album where I didn’t have children before the other albums so I caught a lot of colds so I was sick a lot because my children because my children had colds.
AD: Right they are like little incubators of viruses.
MJ: So we had to stop and start again and stop and start so it was a tough one but I’ve enjoyed it very, very much.
AD: Now when you describe yourself as being tough on yourself during the recording process — how does that — what is the process that you go to if you think that something isn’t quite what it ought to be or maybe you could do better or maybe you hear you want to move something in a new direction, what is that like?
MJ: If I truly told you I don’t know if the fans would like me anymore (laughing), I’ve had musicians who really get angry with me because I’ll make them do something several hundred to a thousand times until it’s what I want it to be but then afterwards they’ll call me back on the phone and they’ll apologize and they will say “you were absolutely right, I’ve never played better, I’ve never done better work. I’ve outdone myself” that’s what they’ll say. I said “that’s the way it should be because you have immortalized yourself. This is here forever. It’s a time capsule.” It’s like Michelangelo’s work, it’s like the Sistine Chapel, it is here forever and everything we do should be that way you know.
AD: To try and bring it to the best possible standard that it can be.
AD: Now SweetPea4236 wonders “Are there any surprises on the new album?”
MJ: Any surprises? Boy! I think it is what it is and you can interpret it the way you want to interpret it. That’s all I can say about that other than, maybe we will be releasing some surprise CD singles at some point. Something like that. Yeah. In the future though. That’s coming up.
AD: Very good. I wanted to ask you just as a performer you have recently done a couple of shows. You did a couple at Madison Square Gardens and you did a show at RFK Stadium – a benefit concert and obviously, live performances are one of the things that has distinguished you throughout your career and you’ve been offstage for a while, I wonder if you could talk a little about what it was like to be out there again in front of an audience and getting that opportunity to perform again?
MJ: It was.. ummm, kind of hard to explain. It was quite exciting to feel the audience and to see them and to be accepted so warmly by them. It’s just an incredible feeling, it really is. They are there to support you and to love you and to hear their favorite songs and you just stand there and you know, giving you so much adulation and love. It’s just full of love, it’s wonderful. It’s very emotional, it brings me to tears. It’s wonderful!
AD: I remember in your book, you described that sometimes on stage when you feel the most alive. That those are the moments that are really the most transporting for you.
MJ: It is. It’s being offstage that’s difficult for me. Being onstage, either writing music or writing poetry and being onstage and watching cartoons are my favorite things to do in the entire world. That’s what brings me to life, I love that. That’s what inspires me to do what I do you know.
AD: Excellent. We have a question here from someone who is calling himself “The best dancer in the world”. We’ve got you on the line and I’m not sure that we might have contest that a little bit but anyway “the best dancer in the world” wants to know “MichaelJackson.com said that Jay Z will appear with you on the new album. Is that true?
MJ: No, but we are talking about doing something in the future together.
AD: Is Jay Z an artist whose work you have liked or as a person, have you spent time with him? What’s your impressions of him?
MJ: I think he is excellent, he has incredibly rhythm, counter rhythms and he is just one of the newer contemporary artists that the kids really love. He’s really, really great.
AD: We have a question here from Sweden, Tony from Sweden writes in and says “Hi Michael, you are the most amazing artist of all time, I just love your music. Do you want to tour and will you do a world tour or a European tour?
MJ: Umm. Gee, we haven’t thought about it much right now but I don’t want to say it’s not in the works umm.. we’re concentrating on a lot of different things right now so I can’t quite say. You know what, in the near future there will be something that might come up. In the near future.
AD: So people should keep their eyes open for announcements on that front. We have a question from “Norea” who describes him or herself as a 32 year old Spanish fan writing from Los Angeles and would like to know if you have any plans to release any of your songs on Invincible in Spanish or any other language besides English?
MJ: Gee, as of now we haven’t but that would be a great thing to do. We haven’t written that off because there’s a big market so that’s a big possibility.
AD: Especially for someone like yourself with a BIG international following. For many people their following is in England or in the U.S. but your following is very international obviously.
MJ: Thank you.
AD: Talk a bit. One of the things that was kind of a little bit of a sensation this year was Alien Ant Farm’s cover of Smooth Criminal. I wanted to see if you paid attention to it. Did you enjoy it or how you felt about it?
MJ: I saw it and fell in love with it.
AD: Excellent (Laughing)
MJ: I loved it! I said, I just got to have it come out. So they wanted my permission, I saw it and approved it and gave it a triple A and said “go right ahead.”
AD: Fantastic. It must be interesting as a song writer to have other people do your songs and to come up with another interpretation. What is that like?
MJ: It’s a great compliment, it’s a wonderful compliment. It makes you feel worthy and that your music is reaching all the generations and all the different umm.. everybody’s out there listening and that makes me very happy.
AD: Now we have a question from Canada. Gary who is 19 writes in “what other artists did you collaborate with on Invincible?
MJ: What other artists did I collaborate with? Let me see, who was there?
AD: Did you have any special guests?
MJ: Oh yeah, Carlos Santana is on it. He and I have done like a duet and he plays the guitar and I sing and it’s something that we’ve written and it’s a really, really nice song.
AD: Now had you known him from over time or did you meet him recently?
MJ: I’ve met him before but we’d been talking a lot on the phone recently. After winning his Grammy award he said to the press that he would like to meet me and he was ready to work with me. Everybody was telling me that so I called him up and he said he really.. that it would be a dream come true and he is the nicest man. He is so kind. So spiritual. I found him to be so humble so I said to myself we have to make this work.
AD: And so you wrote a song together?
MJ: Well there’s a song that myself and two other people wrote and he was part of it an uhhh… Whatever Happens
AD: Oh ok. We have a question from Anisia.. “Michael are you a fan of Chris Tucker? Describes him being in your recent video.
MJ: I’m a huge, huge fan of Chris Tucker. He makes me laugh so hard. I’ve seen all of his films and he is just a funny guy and I like people that can make you laugh without using vulgarity or bad words. You know he’s for the kids for all demographics and all the corners of the earth. He’s just a funny man
Michael Jackson Interview with GetMusic.com on October 26, 2001 – Part 3
AD: We have another question from Canada. Tony who is 17 from Canada writes and wonders “How long does it take to produce a song from the initial conception to the final recording and editing phase”
MJ: Well.. (Laughing)
AD: (Laughing) I guess it probably varies from ….
MJ: Yes, it does vary and for me it’s really different than most artists because I’ll do a couple of songs, it could be 5, 6, 7 or 8 or 10 of them and throw them all away and start over so that’s a difficult question to ask me.
AD: I wonder is there a specific song on the album, say Invincible, do you remember getting the first inspiration for that song and then maybe the day you finally said “this is it, I’ve got it exactly the way I want it”
MJ: The song Invincible itself?
MJ: Umm… yes. I remember having the guys go back in and create more innovative.. because this is our thing.. we don’t have a lot of sounds on the album that are sounds from keyboards or that are programmed into the machine. So we go out and make our own sounds. We hit on things, we beat on things so nobody can duplicate what we can do. We make them with our own hands. We find things and we create things and that’s the most important thing to me to be a pioneer, an innovator.
AD: Absolutely. Now we have “vernay” who writes to us from Newark, Delaware from the good old USA and Vernay says “I’m so pleased with the new album, but I was particularly touched by Speechless. What was your inspiration for this song?
MJ: Speechless was inspired to me by umm… I spent a lot of time in the forest. I like to go into the forest and I like to climb trees. My favorite thing is to climb trees, go all the way up to the top of the tree and look down at the branches and whenever I do that it inspires me for music. There were these two sweet little kids, a girl and a boy and they are so innocent. They are the quintessential form of innocence and just being in there presence I felt completely speechless because I felt I was looking in the face of God whenever I saw them. They inspired me to write Speechless.
AD: Well that answer might touch on this next question that we have which wonders “Where do you look for inspiration when you write your songs? Does inspiration come from a variety of different places?”
MJ: Well the best songs that are written, write themselves. You don’t ask for them, they just drop in your lap. Then they are those songs that you kind of incubate you know you plant the seed and then let the subconscious take it’s course and within time you hope something comes and most of the time it does. I don’t believe in the concept of writer’s block, that is a bad word, you create it when you say it. There’s no such thing. It’s like any painter or sculptor, they do their best work when they are in their sixties or their seventies. Fred Astaire did his best dancing when he was in his seventies, Michelangelo sculpted late into his sixties and seventies doing brilliant and genius work but in the music business some of these artists have become stumped because they self abuse themselves at a young age with all these crazy things they drink and pills and things and that’s just not good. It’s not a good thing. I’d hate to say that to hurt anybody but we should take care of our body’s a little more.
AD: I think a lot of people realize that they’ve damaged themselves and you know many people have talked about it in recent years you know.
AD: We have a question from Allen here who “If you think that Rodney Jerkins and you have created a new sound for 2001?”
MJ: For the song 2001?
AD: He says do you feel that you and Rodney Jerkins, of course the Producer have created a new sound for 2001?
MJ: 2001? Oh…umm that would be a nice thought yes.
AD: (Laughing) What was it like working him, how did you guys meet and how did your collaboration go?
MJ: He was this guy who went around Hollywood and went around the industry saying his dream was to work with me. To everybody. I was at Carol Bayer Sager’s house who is this great songwriter and who has won several Academy Awards for her songwriting and she said “there is a guy you should work with his name is Rodney Jerkins and he’s been crying to me, begging to meet you, I mean why don’t you pick up the phone and say hi to him.” He came over that day and said “please me dream is to work with you, just give me two weeks and I’ll see what I can come up with” and we ended up working together.
AD: And what were your impressions of him, what did he bring? What did you feel his contribution was?
MJ: His contribution was he loves to create in the same kind of way that I like to create but I push Rodney. I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed him to create and innovate more, pioneer more. He’s a musician. He’s a real musician. He’s very dedicated and he’s real loyal and he has perseverance. I don’t think I’ve seen perseverance like his in anyone. You can push him and push him and he doesn’t get angry. He’s just a great guy, he really is.
AD: That is a great compliment.
MJ: And Teddy Riley is just incredible. He’s innovative too, I love working with him.
AD: And you had worked with him in the past of course.
MJ: Yeah, he’s one of my favorites. As a human being he is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s just a really, sweet, kind guy and Rodney is very funny. You laugh all day when you work with him. When he turns his music up in the studio and he starts dancing all around the room, it’s funny.
AD: Fantastic! I’d like to remind everyone you’re on GetMusic, we’re here talking with Michael Jackson whose new album Invincible is out on October 30th. You can check it out on MichaelJackson.com and you can pre order it on GetMusic. Now we have a question from “ItsJackson” who is really named Rachel from Connecticut wonders “Do you have any new dance moves that you’ve invented while you were making the album?”
MJ: For the first time working on any album I put a halt to dancing because I was just so engrossed and so infatuated with what I was doing that I did something that was very unusual but once the music started playing of course I would start to dance but it’s starting to now create itself and with the music playing I’m coming up with some new things but that’s coming in the future with the newer short films. They’ll be seeing all kinds of new innovative things in movement that will never have been seen before. We’ll go places that we’ve never gone in dance before because all the hip hop things that are happening now are beginning to look like aerobics. It’s kind of getting annoying.
AD: (Laughing) We have a question from Simon who you’ve already mentioned all the people that have wanted to work with you he wonders “Michael, who would you like to do a duet with. Past or present?”
MJ: Umm… past, it would be somebody like I would say Sarah Vaughan or Nat King Cole. Present, I think Whitney Houston is brilliant and Barbara Streisand has a beautiful voice, you know those kind of artists that are just wonderful.
AD: What’s your impression of some of the artists that have come on the scene just in recent years, people like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, you know young pop stars who are obviously hugely popular. Obviously Britney participated in your show at the Gardens, what was your sense about her?
MJ: I think for the new breed that are coming out they are doing a very good job and what impressed me most about any of these artists like Spears and Christina, they are so determined.
MJ: I have heard about the way they work on a dance step and I mean like for months to get it right you know. They’re just so determined and I’ve met Britney several times and she was very sweet and humble. She came to my room, we quietly talked for a couple of hours and she was just …
Michael Jackson Interview with GetMusic.com on October 26, 2001 – Part 4
AD: I imagine someone like you would be you know a kind of interesting and important resource for her. As someone who was a star when you were so young and I don’t think people necessarily understand the kind of strange reality that is you know within all the acclaim and fame and excitement, to be a kid and have all that attention focussed on you must be kind of scary also. Did you find it that way in your own experience?
MJ: Yeah because wherever I go umm I disguise myself now but now I cant, especially now with what’s going on in the world, I don’t wear a disguise people just go crazy, they really go crazy, they are just so happy to see you. It’s as though that they know you and you have to respond like you know them. They feel like they personally know you, they have my pictures on their walls, my music is playing in their house so they grab you and they snatch you and they touch you so I just respond back with hugs and love and kisses because I love, I truly love my fans. Truly, truly from the heart, that’s the real truth, I love them and the ones who ummm.. like if we go to a certain country and if they’re outside sleeping on the street, I throw them pillows and covers and everything and I have my security guards buy them pizza so they can all eat. We get them candles so we really take care of them. They are very, very, very sweet and supportive.
AD: Sam, who is twenty years old from Texas here in the US wonders “Will you release butterflies as a single? That’s one of your best songs”
MJ: Butterflies is the single that is released now. It’s the single now. Tell him thank you very much.
AD: What other plans do you have when you.. as somebody as has been kind of an innovator in terms of short films to accompany your songs, do you conceptualize that ahead of time or do you decide on a kind of step by step basis you know this is going to be the next single and I want to make a kind of visual statement to accompany that, how does that all proceed?
MJ: All right, the short film itself?
MJ: Well, I let the song pretty much speak to me and I get in a room and I pretty much start making notes… You know, I’ll speak to a writer — like Stephen King and myself, both of us wrote Ghosts, the short film Ghosts, and we just got on the telephone started writing it and let it create itself and go where it wants to go. But we try to do things that are very unusual and it’s… it’s not an easy thing to
do because you have to time it with the song, and you can’t spend too much time, and the special effects can take 5 months sometimes to execute. So, it’s just .. .it’s kinda difficult thing and the record company’s saying, “Come on, come on, come on, we have to go, we have to go.” So, I understand. So we try to do the best we can in the amount of time that we can execute it in.
AD: We have a question from Helen in Scotland says “If you could only perform one of your songs for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?”
MJ: Oooh, it would probably be… If I could pick more than one, if I could pick up to two or three?
AD: Yes, I think we could go that far.
MJ: Heal the World, Speechless, ummm and that’s a difficult one, I think ummm. hmmmm .. You are my Life.
AD: So you went for the ones that are kind of the biggest statements in a way, it seems to me.
MJ: Yeah because it is important they are very melodic and they have a great important message that’s kind of immortal. That can relate to any time and space you know.
AD: One of the things actually, I wanted to ask you is that we have had the horrible, terrorists attack here in New York City and in Washington D.C. What is the role you feel that artists can play in the wake of something like that. You did that big benefit show in Washington you know is there in music … can artist do something to help people to get through, what for many of us, has been a very difficult time.
MJ: Yeah, you give, you give of yourself. You give of your talent, of your ability. The talent that was given you by the heavens. That’s why we’re here, to bring a sense of escapism at a time of need and if you’re a painter you paint, if your a sculptor, you sculpt you know, if you’re a writer, you write. If you’re a songwriter you give song. If you’re a dancer, you give dance. You give people some love and some bliss, some escapism and just show that you truly care from the heart and be there for them, not just from a distance, but show you really care, you know take the long mile and be there for them. That’s what I did and many others who cared and helped and it’s an important thing.
AD: We have a question now from Chili Boy who wonders, “I’ve always wanted to know, how do you come up with a dance move, and how long does it take for you to put the choreography for a song together?”
Michael: I pretty much just get in a room and I start to dance, and uh, I don’t create the dance, the dance creates itself, really. You know, I’ll do something and I’ll look back… I’ll look back on tape and I’ll go, “Wow,” I didn’t realize I had done that. It came out of the drums. You become…. Dancing is about interpretation. You become the accompaniment of the music. So when you become the bass to Billie Jean, I couldn’t help but do the step that I was doing when the song first starts, because, uh, that’s what it told me to do. You know, if I turn around, spin, stop, move my legs to the side and then lift up the collar of my shirt, that’s for that moment in an accompaniment.
AD: I remember watching that moment on television and just leaping out of my chair. It was so extraordinary.
MJ: Oh, thank you very much.
AD: That was really one of the great, great moments.
MJ: It’s all spontaneous movement. Nothing in that piece was, on, uh, Billie Jean, was planned but the Moonwalk. Everything else was just, you know, improvising, really.
AD: We have a question from SJ Chams who wonders, “Do you think you’ll do another duet with Janet?”
MJ: I would love to! It depends on the song and the time. When she’s in one corner of the Earth, I’m in another place. It’s very rare that our ships pass in the night. So it’s not easy to do ’cause we’re both very busy. But that would be very nice. I love working with her. She’s a true real professional and a wonderful sister.
AD: Excellent. Ah, we have Sheik 33 who wonders, “Who was your idol when you were a child?”
MJ: I always went nuts for…. I could be asleep in Indiana, at like 5 years old, I’d be asleep and it’d be late at night, like 1 in the morning, some show on, I remember seeing my mother run to my room, “wake up , wake up! James Brown is on! James Brown is on!” Or “Sammy Davis Jr.’s playing” or “Fred Astaire! They got a good Fred Astaire movie on.” “Gene Kelly’s on right now!” And I’d sit there with my eyes just… I’d be awe-struck, just watching. So when videos came out, I had a collection. [giggles]
AD: Yeah, I understand that you have a, an extraordinary collection of a kind of old movies of all of the performers that you like and old music performances of the artists that you admire. You know, talk about some of those, and some of the stuff that you’ve got that you like to watch.
MJ: Well, I .. I like to, um, before I do anything, it could be any situation, I love studying the whole history of it before I take the first step to innovate. So, um, I love studying any Vaudevillian, you know, who came from that era, even though they didn’t have T.V. Uh, but they, uh, they transcended into television later on. I love people like Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, I’m crazy about the 3 Stooges, uh, anything Walt Disney… and as far as performers, uh, I love Anthony Newley, you know, like I said, Jackie Wilson, James Brown. They’re incredible! I mean, when James Brown was “James Brown and the Famous Flames” he was so incredible. I would watch him and cry. I’d be crying as I was watching him. I’ve never seen a person perform like that, ever.
AD: You know it must have been extraordinary for you, as a … you know, when you were young and making records and getting to meet some of your idols, you know, that must have been such a powerful experience.
MJ: Oh, it was… It truly was and to have them tell me that they … they thought I was incredible, and all my life I thought they were, like, the best. It was the best…I mean, it was the best compliment I could get, and no award could be given to me that could top that. You know. When Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, who I knew very well, or Frank Sinatra, told me I .. they think I’m amazing and I have an amazing career ahead of me.. As a child they would tell me this. ‘Cause they were my neighbors. They lived by me and uh, I felt very honored and happy to hear those kind of words from these legends.
AD: Yeah, that must have been very encouraging.
Michael Jackson Interview with GetMusic.com on October 26, 2001 – Part 5
AD: Now we have Mhagrice who is actually Margaret from the Netherlands, a 26 year old woman, says, “Is it true that you’ll star in Men In Black II, and will you record a soundtrack for that film?”
MJ: Uh, I don’t think we’re doing a soundtrack, but I did a .. a guest appearance, like a Cameo, for Men In Black, uh, 2, and we’re expecting to do part 3 as well. And it was a lot of fun, and exciting.. um, and it’s one of my favorite films of all time. Uh, I’m a big Men In Black fan. I love it very much.
AD: Well, weren’t you .. Now, I understand you’re also doing The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe. Could you tell us a little bit about that?
MJ: Yes, that one’s coming up. It’s about the great prolific American writer, Edgar Allen Poe.
AD: Kind of a scary guy himself, too.
MJ: He’s very diabolical, and very dark, and .. but he was a genius and it’s… but his own personal life was very interesting, and that’s what it’s about, you know. How he was, you know… what he had to go through to create such ingenious work. It’s a great story. And by the way, make sure the fans know, all tabloids should be out. Do not believe anything you read in a tabloid. It’s garbage and it’s junk. We should have a tabloid burning, like a big mountain — just set it afire.
AD: You heard it first here from Michael Jackson.
MJ: Don’t waste your time with it. It’s stupid.
AD: Now we have Rapmaster JA writes in, who is actually Jason from Illinois. He says, “Michael, you are undoubtedly the greatest artist in the history of the world. How do you do the Moonwalk. It’s the coolest move I’ve ever seen?”
MJ: Gee, it’s hard to explain on the phone [interruption from host]. I love moves and dancing. I’s like walking forward and backward at the same time, but not just walking, but as if you’re on a conveyer belt and it’s, uh, it’s hard to explain. If he was in the front of me, I could show him how to do it with my fingers, or with my feet, but. Maybe he could see at the end of the Jam video where I’m trying to show Michael Jordan how to do it step by step (laughing). That’s the only time I think I showed it.
AD: Now we have a Mark the Shark, uh, who asks, “How do you do that lean on the video to Smooth Criminal?”
MJ: Oh, Smooth Criminal, well. That one happened … it was in the middle of the shoot and it wasn’t .. I choreographed it right at the moment. Took us an hour to execute it. It’s a special effect that we kind of lean as far as we can and, uh, we let the conveyor belt do the rest you know.
AD: Now Glen from Toronto Canada asks, “Do you feel a special spiritual energy when you’re performing; do you feel you are connected to a higher force? Cause this is what you make many feel when they see you live?”
MJ: That’s exactly what it is, you’re connected to a higher source and you just go with the moment and you become one with, you know, the spirit. Not to sound religious or anything, but it’s a very spiritual… very much like religion, and it’s a God-given gift and you just go with it and I’m honored to have been given it and, uh, as fun to become one with the audience. It’s a oneness, you know?
AD: I was reminded of, ah, some of that when you were talking about the way you would work out your moves, you know, listening to … just listening to the music and kind of disappearing into it. You know, it has like a really mystical feel.
MJ: Thank you.
AD: Now Charlie sends in a question and says, “What achievement in your life are you the most proud of?”
MJ: Boy, uh, one of my biggest dreams since I was really, really little… I think around 6 or 7 years old, I use to always buy the Guinness World Book of Records. [Giggles] You know what the answer’s gonna be right? I said, “Hmmm, I love to dance and sing. Hopefully one day I can be in this book” and I believed that it was possible. So when Thriller became the biggest selling album of all time, and it was enlisted in the Guinness Book Of World Records, and, uh, there’s so many other lists… you know, they’ve enlisted me in there like seven different times now. It was my happiest time of my life. I was so happy.
AD: To what do you attribute that level of ambition and possibility that you felt when you were a kid. You know, I think it’s sometimes hard for people to feel… You know, you weren’t, obviously, rich as a kid or from some kind of fancy background, but still somehow you were able to envision a life of success. What do you attribute that to?
MJ: I attribute that to my parents who always taught us to persevere and believe in yourself, have confidence, no matter what you do. Even if you’re sweeping floors or painting ceilings, do it better than anybody in the world no matter what it is you do, be the best at it. Have respect for others and be proud of yours and be honorable you know.
AD: Absolutely. Now, you’ve been making records for a long time, you’ve been a force on the music scene for many years. What do you think are the biggest changes in music that you’ve seen?
MJ: Biggest changes?
AD: Yeah, what’s changed about the music industry or about, you know, the music that’s out there. What do you think is different?
MJ: Well, I think ummm I don’t think people thought the Rap music would last as long as it has. And it has gone through evolutional stages — there’s more melody in it now, it’s more acceptable, because melody will never die. Will never die and the rhythm– things are a little more rhythmic now because people want to dance. It’s part of the human condition; it’s part of our biological makeup. Our cells dance when we hear beats. You notice a.. a one year old child will start moving hearing music. How do they know to move? ‘Cause it’s biological. It’s not just hearing of the ear, it’s feeling, you know and playing music, the grass and the trees and the flowers… They’re all influenced by music. They become more beautiful and more vibrant in how they grow. Music is a very important and powerful substance, and all the planets in the universe make music. It’s called music of the spheres. They all make a different note; they make harmony. So there’s harmony even in the universe as we speak.
AD: Now we have a question from Holland, uh, Femka from Holland writes, “I love the special editions from Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous.” She loves you and asks, “Why does Invincible… Why will Invincible be coming out in different colors?
Michael: Because we wanted the fans to have some fun with it and collect them and, uh… It’s a, uh, a Limited Edition, I think and, uh, there’s albums that I love and I will buy them five times, even though I have the same cover. Like, five times ’cause I love that album so much. So, imagine if they did a different color or just changed the color, I would buy it five more times. We just wanted the fans to have some fun with the pictures and with the colors and… Just to try something a little different. That’s why we did it.
AD: Now we have TJ who’s 17 and from Australia, wants to tell you that, “You are still my hero,” and says, “How do you explain your ability to inspire so many people all around the world?”
MJ: I just do what I do and I love doing it And, uh, I love art. I love anything, any art. And, uh, if they’re inspired by it, I feel I’m … I pray that I’m doing my job; what I’m here to do on Earth Because I love the fans, I love the kids, I love the babies, and that’s what give me my inspiration, the children, the babies, the fans. I love them very much.
Michael Jackson Interview with GetMusic.com on October 26, 2001 – Part 6
AD: Now Michaela from Pennsylvania, who is 14, writes, “Michael, I’m only 14 but I’ve been a fan since I was 10. You’ve accomplished so much more than any artist ever. I was just wondering if you could change one thing about your life, what would you change?”
MJ: I would like to be able to go out in public and just be normal sometime, without people recognizing who I am, just to get a little bit of a feeling of what it’s like to, you know, be of the regular norm. To see how things are done; to learn what people speak about when they’re just casually talking. Cause soon as they see it’s Michael Jackson, the conversation changes; it all becomes about me and not about the situation — the moment, that’s happening at the moment. That would… I would learn a lot from that. I don’t get to see that unless I disguise myself and put on a lot of things, and then they stare at me, then it’s even different; it’s not the same even then. So, it’s a difficult thing to pull off. Tell him that’s a very great question he asked.
AD: That’s a really interesting question, actually. We have an interesting answer, as well. We have Greg from Glasgow, Scotland, wants to know, “When do you plan to release the charity song What More Can I Give?”
MJ: Well, it’s being, uh.. We’re putting the final voices on and, uh, it’s coming very, very soon. We’re putting it together now; the final touches. It’s a very important song for the world. To give some feeling and some loving and some caring to those people who were thrust into orphanage, uh, or just within a matter of seconds they lost their parents and their loved ones, you know?
AD: Absolutely. Um, what are some of the things you are looking forward to; what are your hopes for you know, the new year. You know, we’re coming down to the end of the year, you have this album coming out, we’ve had a lot of tragedies and crisis that we’ve all faced. Everybody’s trying to keep their spirit up. When you start thinking about 2002, what .. what kind of things come to mind for you?
MJ: Um, film. I love movies. To do more movies; to integrate the songs with the film. Dancing and more peace into the world. I pray for peace all the time and the most important thing I pray for is protection for children and babies. That’s the thing that concerns me the most, I want them to be protected and to have more children’s rights in the world, where children, you know, where there’s a day for children; a celebration for children. Give them a little more attention and love.
AD: Now Sergei from Russia writes in, says, “Michael, sing a cappella for us.”
MJl: [laughs] You know what, I would love to do it but believe it or not, I’ve been sniffling since this interview, I woke up with laryngitis, I caught a cold from the children the other day. My children were sick and I caught their cold. So, tell her I’d love to do it when I visit their town in concert and Speechless opens a cappella, on the album, the song Speechless. It’s one of my favorites.
AD: Opens with an a cappella part?
MJ: It opens and closes a cappella.
AD: Now we have a question here from Karen who says that you’ve helped her since she was a little kid. You’ve always been one to think about other people; to care for children around the world. “What could we do for you,” she wonders. “We give you all our love, but what more could we give to you?” Obviously one of your great fans here.
MJ: When I come to town, I would love to see a children’s festival, to hear children’s choirs, uh, you know, pretty much present when I come to different countries, singing some of their favorite songs of mine. Uh, we should forge and create a children’s day, a celebration Internationally, where children are honored. Where parents can take their children to the movies or to the toy store or to the park and that, alone, will create a bonding. Because the family bond has been broken. They don’t eat with their children or speak to their children much anymore, or mother their children and I would love to see a celebration for children.A Children’s Day; a holiday. We have Mothers Day, Fathers Day — no Children’s day and, uh, I would love when I come to town just to see them sing songs, or a parade or something. I would love that.
AD: Now Michael, we have one last question. It was a great pleasure talking with you. We have Emanuel, who is 16, from the US. Says, “Mr. Jackson, what would you say to all your fans that have dreams and goals of being a star like you?”
MJ: No matter what, the most powerful thing in the world is the human mind and prayer, and belief in your self and confidence and perseverance. No matter how many times you do it, you do it again until it’s right and always believe in yourself and no matter who’s around you that’s being negative or thrusting negative energy at you, totally block it off because whatever you believe, you become.
AD: They say that the thing that most affects people, or the way that you can really tell someone’s had a successful life is the way that they deal with success or the way they deal with failure or challenges. That sounds like what you’re saying.
MJ: Yes, and after all that, the most important — most important: Stay humble. The humbleness that a child, like a new born baby has. Even though you become powerful or have power with people, with your talent .. like with what Michelangelo did with sculpting, you know, underneath all that be as humble as a child, as a baby, and be as kind and as giving and loving. Never become puffed up with pride.
AD: I think we’re gonna sneak in one last question here from someone called Invincible103, “Halloween is coming up. Do you have plans to, uh, kind of dress up; do you have plans for a Halloween party?”
MJ: Uh, no. I was going to just go trick or treating (laughs). Go out, knock on some doors and get some candy. I love trick or treat. It’s one of my favorite ones. I love dressing up like some kind of monster or something and knocking on the doors. No body knows it’s me, and I get candy.
AD: So if Michael Jackson turns up at your door, people…..
AD: Be sure to be nice. ave some nice things on hand for him. Well, Michael it was great, great pleasure talking to you. A lot of fun, and uh, everybody wishes you the best with your new record. We’re all looking forward to it.
MJ: Thank you so much and God bless you. Thank you.
AD: Thank you very much. This is Anthony DeCurtis that was a chat with Michael Jackson here on GetMusic. If you want to check out Michael’s new album which will be coming out on October 30th, it’s called Invincible you can go to MichaelJackson.com and hear it online to get a first taste of it. You can also pre order it here on GetMusic