“Michael had an amazing eye. It was he who dreamed up the white glove, the bits of tape on his fingertips, the uniforms. It was he who thought that marching down steps with dozens of blue-suited policemen would look cool, that running through the streets with hundreds of men in uniforms would be dramatic and thrilling for the viewer. He sought out the best talent to work with and oversaw every aspect of his music videos, which he actually thought of as short films, and always referred to as short films.
I was with him a few times when people would come to the house to try to get his approval on merchandise they wanted to create. He wanted it to be of the finest quality, to be worth the money people would pay; he wanted it to last. He was a perfectionist. Look again at the music videos; really look at every detail, note the care taken with every shot, every outfit, the lighting. His hand was in everything, his unerring eye was always the final arbiter.”
“My attitude is if fashion says it’s forbidden, I’m going to do it.”
“It is nearly impossible to find someone Jackson worked with who didn’t walk away with a profound level of respect and appreciation. From producers to assistant engineers to fellow musicians, they describe him as possessing a certain ‘aura.’ down-to-earth, humble and polite. They describe his sense of humor and ‘boisterous’ laugh; they describe his curiosity; they describe his passion and excitement for each new project.
Making music for Jackson was rarely an isolated act. The idea might come in a moment of solitude, but it was realized in much the same way a director realizes a film: through dynamic, decentralized interplay of creativity. Once he found the right people, from the earliest OFF THE WALL sessions to his latest projects, the motto remained the same: music first.”
Joseph Vogel MAN IN THE MUSIC
~Jackson made “pop” multigenre, multimedia affair that was limitless in its range of sounds, styles and possibilities. J.V.
WORKING DAY AND NIGHT WITH MICHAEL!
“In the end, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and those you love, and work hard. I mean, work like there’s no tomorrow. Train. Strive. I mean really train and cultivate your talent to the highest degree. Be the best at what you do. Get to know more about your field than anybody alive. Use the tools of your trade, if it’s books or a floor to dance on or a body of water to swim in. Whatever it is, it’s yours. That’s what I’ve always tried to remember.”
Stepping behind the scenes is time spent in a wonderland of magical creativity. With a career spanning five and a half decades, not only were crowds mad for Michael, but, collaborators as well. Quite simply, it was exhilarating to be with him. A shy, humble man…who cherished art, appreciating those who made it…a man who is unequalled in work ethic, bringing with him a sense of joy and excitement for every detail of every project…one who channeled the music of the spheres…astoundingly birthed miracles before the eyes of all who shared in his visions.
“I know that the creator will go, but his work survives. That is why to escape death, I attempt to bind my soul to my work.”
If we take the time, not only will we find truth and purity in Michael’s performances…vocal, dance, live, film…we will realize that the behind the scenes work profoundly reveals the MASTER ARTIST at work…a chord of connection in our hearts drawn between artists and art lovers. Here, in CHOSEN VOICES, an attempt is made to gather truth and set it down for those who choose to find it. Words are the vehicle…and, words matter. It is a chance to once again marvel at KEEPSAKES.
“He changed my life. And, it never stopped feeling that way. When you did something Michael liked, he would say, ‘That’s it. That’s perfect. Lock this in cement.’ We called the versions that were special ‘Bible versions.’ We’d go through thousands of versions, but we’d put Bible by the best ones. It was just an extraordinarily, pleasant, fun time because of the musical freedom. You knew at the end of the day, you would have something. It never got old, it never got stale.” Producer Bill Bottrell
“Behind the curtain was no façade, but a very real man with a deep love and appreciation for art, someone who very much embodied the dreams he inspired in others. “
“He was a master at hiring the right people for what he needed done, perhaps because he had an uncanny ability to sense the highest potential in others and draw the best out of them.”
“Michael’s creativity transcended anything Dennis and I thought could be perceived in reality. He trained us to change the way we thought, the manner in which we looked around us, and helped us to understand what pushing the envelope really meant. We knew Michael didn’t like when we looked and didn’t notice. Michael made it clear that he wanted his clothes to encompass a whimsy that asked his fans, ‘Are you looking? Did you notice?'”
“Michael Jackson had the wisdom of a sixty-year-old and the enthusiasm of a child. He was a genuinely shy, handsome kid who hid his amazing intelligence with small smiles and giggles. But beneath that shy exterior was an artist with a burning desire, perfection and unlimited ambition to be the biggest entertainer in the world.”
“With Michael he never stopped creating. He wasn’t an artist who said, ‘OK, I’ve got an album coming up, I better start writing songs.’ The songs were constantly flowing from him, and if it wasn’t a song it was a poem, it was an idea for a short story or a short film. It was a constant creative process.”
“Michael loved finding sounds that the human ear had never heard. Often he would say, ‘Brad, get me a sound that hurts really bad.’ That meant he wanted something that shakes him inside. He simply heard music in everything (glass, metal, trash cans, baseball bat, basketballs…)and asked his collaborators to record it and store it for potential use.”
“In truth, I really didn’t want the album to be about old songs.(History Album) To me, greatest hits albums are boring. And, I wanted to keep creating. (The new album would be a powerful rebuttal to those who declared him dead: a record so strong, diverse, and bold that people would have no chance but to acknowledge it.)
Michael Jackson…Man in the Music
“It is amazing. The writing process was like that on all the songs we did together…he was very fast, very intense. Everything was written in a whirlwind. It just came to him. It was exhilarating.”
“Michael was at another level…and it was a hell of a level to go to.”
“He’s the only person in my life where, when I saw him, my whole voice-box went. I didn’t know what to say. My hands were trembling.”
“I don’t know that many people would have the patience or work ethic to create the records that Michael did. We’ll never have the budgets again, that’s for sure. There was this constant pursuit for sounds the ear has never heard.”
“There’s no other artist at his level…and, I’ve worked with many. He is great to work with because he knows exactly what he wants. He is so innovative…he doesn’t want the usual stuff that they play on the radio all the time, and he is very hands on. Everything has to be as he wants it.”
“You can just hear him having fun. His spirit and emotion are totally there. He knew in demos he didn’t have to be totally perfect in his execution. So, he’d be loose. He’d throw in adlibs and dance or sing or pop his fingers or clap his hands. You just hear him enjoying himself.”
A respite of solitude offers us excursions into creativity but, life is not lived in isolation. The chords that bind us to one another grow stronger when they are securely wrapped around our hearts. “Together! Together! Together!” Michael sang and danced those words across the stages of the world…embodying the dream he envisioned as he inspired a planet. Keepsakes he left for us…empower. With his generous confidence in the power of the people, he lavished upon us a belief that there is nothing we cannot do when we stand together. When we peek behind the curtain, we see Michael’s faith in people painted on a portrait of joyous collaborations. With each stroke, he lives out his dreams of a utopian world where every person is celebrated and the art in the painting lives forever. In reaching for his best, we are invited to reach for ours. He embraced potential in everything and everyone…even within the darkness of abuse and cruelty. Art Incarnate…Michael Jackson’s life…the final arbiter.
THIS LIGHT, THIS BLESSING IN MY DANCE
I TAKE THIS GIFT ONLY TO GIVE IT AGAIN
~exhilarated in his presence, Jude