INSIDE THE MAN
“For someone who was so avant-garde in his music, Michael was a traditionalist when it came to painting. He always asked me to find him a William-Adolphe Bouguereau painting of angels and saints. When I did find one, he wanted to know if I could find one with more angels and saints.
I went to hear him sing in Romania in 1992. When he heard that there was an orphanage filled with children with HIV, Michael began to weep. Whether it was a beautiful painting that made him emotional, or the horror of children’s lives which made him cry…Michael felt deeply about things and wasn’t afraid to let that show.”
“Whenever I go to Paris, I rush to the Louvre. I just never get enough of it! I go to all the museums around the world. I love art. I love classical music. I’ve got so many different compositions. I guess when I was in kindergarten and heard Peter and the Wolf…I still listen to it. I’m a big classical fan. We’ve been influenced by all kinds of music…classical, R&B, folk, funk and I guess all those ingredients combine to create what we have now. I wouldn’t be happy doing just one kind of music or label ourselves. I like doing something for everybody. I don’t like our music to be labeled. Labels are like racism. I choose by feeling and instinct. I’d like to keep going and inspire people, try new things that haven’t been done before.”
The Dangerous Era, 1990-1994, ushered in a new decade, new sounds and the best in contemporary concert entertainment. Michael Jackson set new recording, filming and entertainment standards that remain legendary.
“Rolling Stone called the album a “triumph that doesn’t hide from the fears and contradictions of a lifetime spent in the spotlight…despite his off-stage Peter Pan image, Michael Jackson’s finest song and dance is always sexually charged, tense, and coiled-he’s at his most gripping when he is dangerous.”
“Michael was not angry with Quincy. He has always had an admiration for him and immense respect. But, with Dangerous, Michael wanted to control the creative process from A to Z. Simply put, he wanted to be his own boss. Michael was always very independent, and he also wanted to show that his success was not because of one man, namely Quincy Jones.”
“For Jackson, the full autonomy was invigorating and liberating. He began working on a range of experimental tracks with people such as Bill Bottrell, Brad Buxer, and Matt Forger at West Lake Studios. Many of the resulting songs from these sessions, including demos of BLACK OR WHITE, WHO IS IT, MONKEY BUSINESS, DANGEROUS AND EARTH SONG, were unlike anything Jackson had done before. Not only were the sounds and styles evolving, but the material was becoming more challenging. By the end of 1989, a planned double-disc greatest hits package called DECADE, which would feature four new songs in addition to the classics, was canned due to the influx of new material. Jackson was already reluctant to do a project that looked backward, but once Sony executives heard some of the early tracks for DANGEROUS, they were convinced it would be worth the wait.”
THE DANGEROUS ALBUM
~took more than three years
~primarily at Record One and Larrabee Studios, L.A.
~an estimated $10 million dollars (an unheard of amount in the music industry then and now)
~Michael recorded an estimated 100 songs
~Notable songs not included were EARTH SONG, SOMEONE PUT YOUR HAND OUT, BLOOD ON THE DANCE FLOOR, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE.
~March 1991 Michael renegotiated his contract with Sony…a 15 year 6 album deal with the largest royalty rates of 25%, his own record label all worth $890 million…landing Michael in the Guinness Book of Records for the Largest Entertainment Contract Ever.
Michael’s most successful album internationally, spending 117 weeks in the Billboard Top 200.
“Michael Jackson had certainly dominated the headlines in the Dangerous Era with spectacular performances and an amazing world tour. He had introduced a new sound to the 1990’s and had again changed the face of music videos, making use of new and expensive technology. The album Dangerous had dominated the charts for two years and had won 16 awards. Michael was honored everywhere he went with awards and ceremonies, setting an example in the music world and as an incredible humanitarian.”
All Michael Jackson.com
Our true voice comes from the heart… with each beat we are enlightened with the truth. Michael Jackson clearly understood that his artistry was a definitive way to bring this light to others. Acting in accordance with his true nature, channeling and creating through his dreams and visions, he gifted us mysteries. With surprise and wonder, seeds of understanding take root and begin to grow. The possibilities are infinite. With duration, fruits ripen. Carl Jung, Michael’s choice when studying psychology, said, “Nothing worse could happen to one than to be completely understood.” Along with Francis Bacon’s words: “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery”…Michael Jackson provides the ultimate life for both Jung and Bacon. This life, this artistry and this legacy will be endlessly examined. Many voices will speak for Michael, and in doing so, offer conflicting, sometimes detached explanations. The most straight-forward approach is obvious: the truth is waiting when the magic happens…and, that magic is the man HIMSELF. But, we must keep in mind, Michael Jackson never pandered to his audiences…EVER. He didn’t want us to passively listen or watch. He wanted to engage us in mind, body and soul. He risked going too far in order to see how far that was. Using his life, making his choices, he fully embraced life’s mysteries, finding opportunity in the midst of great difficulty. An artist is never satisfied. “OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER.” MJ & MLK He breathed life into big thoughts, choosing language that burned into our very core.
Storms rip us to shreds offering us the opportunity to decide how to put the pieces back together. Michael often spoke of the need to experience pain in order to create. These were not just empty words…Michael, as a young child and all through his life choose to see suffering. He internalized it. And, he experienced it first hand, himself. Each of the Eras in Michael’s catalog are thematic, representing the world as he saw it, felt it, lived it. He often reminded us that everything he wrote about wasn’t necessarily a personal story. He was a storyteller…choosing themes, unraveling life journeys, making high art out of every human experience.
“It always surprises me when people assume that something an artist has created is based on a true experience or reflects his or her lifestyle. Often, nothing could be farther from the truth. I know I draw on my experiences at times, but, I also hear and read things that trigger an idea for a song. An artist’s imagination is his greatest tool. It can create a mood or a feeling that people want to have as well as transport you to a different place altogether.”
Michael’s vision for his Dangerous album embraced the totality of who he was…as an artist, as a man, as a human being. The scope of his creative decisions, his personal and professional choices, the day-to-day life style he chose, all spoke to his character. If we accept that a person’s character is defined by the sum total of choices made…in good times and in bad, through thick and thin…the Dangerous Era offers yet another example of Michael’s ability to communicate through a universal language. It is an incredible human being who loves other human beings. Michael wanted his music, mission, his message of love, compassion, empathy and universal brotherhood to spread across the entire planet. In total agreement with Gandhi’s message: An eye for an eye only ends by making the whole world blind.” Michael loved specifically and abundantly.
Working with Mark Ryden, pop surrealist, the Dangerous Album cover fascinated fans even before the wondrous music joined the Pop Canon. As with everything Michael created, this album cover would find its place in the company of historic collectables. One critic said: “It was a sleeve so symbol-ridden, it would provide grist for an entire symposium of pop psychiatrists.” It is an unparalleled work of imagination combined with layers of message. We can only imagine the fun Michael had working with Mark and designing something that would be “the talk” for years to come, remembering how Michael loved to create something that would cause Fans to say: “Why did he do that? What does it mean?”
The playlist for Dangerous looks like this: JAM, WHY YOU WANNA TRIP ON ME, IN THE CLOSET, SHE DRIVES ME WILD, REMEMBER THE TIME, CAN’T LET HER GET AWAY, HEAL THE WORLD, BLACK OR WHITE, WHO IS IT, GIVE IN TO ME, WILL YOU BE THERE, KEEP THE FAITH, GONE TOO SOON, DANGEROUS. Of course, Michael’s vision for the album song list order is yet another opportunity for discussion. Discussions include the order of songs, the selection of songs, the themes, the sonic soundscapes, the messages, the vocal fields, the sounds never heard by the ear before…and, more. Each listen offers new revelations as we seek to solve the mysteries of life through the imagination of a musical genius. The sheer volume of sound and wonder, magic and music are proof positive of the tireless work ethic, patience and joyful bliss of the artist. The collaborations give us a metaphor for living, as scores of people come together with dedication and love, for a higher purpose. “It starts in this room and then goes all around the world.” MJ
Michael’s view of high art is seen in every detail…from composing, writing, recording, storytelling, short film production, dance, live performance as theatre, public appearance. His unerring eye, the final arbiter, gives every ounce of blood, sweat and God -given talent to every single detail. Mediocrity is not the game. Settling is not the game. Looking back is not the game. PERFECTION IS THE GAME. Because, Michael was devoted to us and believed that we deserved it. That devotion translates to everyone…every color, every race, every country, EVERY HUMAN BEING.
DANGEROUS ~the greatest show on earth
DANGEROUS ~presents the superstar in a fresh context
“DANGEROUS is a MASTERPIECE”
Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye, but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred. In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved, I become the victor and the vanquished, I become the master and the slave, I become the singer and the song, I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing…then it is the eternal dance of creation, the Creator and the creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep dancing…dancing…and dancing, until there is only…the dance.
Dangerous Album Michael Jackson
~To the children of the world, I love you.
“Dangerous is a sweeping survey of musical styles and themes, showcasing a vision, intelligence, and agility rarely seen in pop music.”
This concludes our first session of IMMERSION…The Dangerous Era