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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Michael In The Mirror (USA Today, 2001) USA Today, November 2001

Interview with USA Today (2001) Thursday, 01 November 2001

Michael In The Mirror (USA Today, 2001) USA Today, November 2001 By Edna Gundersonn      
BEVERLY HILLS — The first words from Michael Jackson seem to portend a
candid dialogue. "Excuse my skin," he says. "I just came from the dermatologist. So
pretend you don't see it." That instruction is tough to obey when dealing with the most
scrutinized figure in entertainment, especially one whose many eccentricities include
donning disguises in public and heavy cosmetics for the camera. While Jackson is
sporting little literal makeup today, figuratively the mask never drops completely.
What was billed as a no-holds-barred interview at times entails jousting with two
fiercely protective handlers determined to keep the focus on Jackson's artistry, despite
earlier assurances by an Epic Records publicist of unfettered access. All topics were
declared fair game except "the pedophilia issue." The settlement of a 1993 suit against
Jackson, alleging sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy, forbids parties to discuss details.
Jackson vehemently denied allegations at the time and has not addressed it since.

The subject is never broached during this hour-long interview. Less scandalous
matters — his ex-wives, his plastic surgery odyssey, even concerns he's discussed in
the past — are deemed off limits as they arise.
One roadblock is hit after Jackson waxes nostalgic about famous friends. "Frank
Sinatra lived right above us. He'd see us playing basketball every day. And Fred
Astaire lived around the bend. I would have a chance to talk to them and learn and
listen. Those were golden moments. When I was 16, we were doing Las Vegas every
night, and Elvis (Presley) and Sammy Davis Jr. would sit me and my brothers in a
row and lecture us. 'Don't ever do drugs,' they told us. I never forgot it."
Reminded of his own painkiller habit, Jackson goes quiet. Manager Trudy Green,
monitoring the interview with Epic executive Steve Einczig, forbids him to respond,
even though he confessed the addiction and subsequent treatment in a TV statement
nearly a decade ago.

She interrupts again when talk steers to Debbie Rowe, who bore Jackson two children
during a marriage from 1996 to 1999. He appears to have sole custody of Prince, 4,
and Paris, 3, his constant companions. Asked to comment on persistent rumors that
the marriage was arranged to provide offspring, Jackson falls silent.
"No, no, no!" Green protests. "This isn't what we're here for."
A second stab: Do the kids spend time with their mother?
"He doesn't want to talk about that," Green interjects. "This is about Michael as an
Granted, the entertainer often is overlooked in the cultural obsession with Jackson's
offstage life. If he agrees to dwell on personal areas, Jackson laments, "that will
become the whole story."
Fair enough. Jackson's professional accomplishments during his 38 years in show
business merit notice, to say the least. He's sold 65 million albums in the USA, racked
up 44 solo hit singles and still holds title to history's best-selling album, 1982's
Thriller, the global champ with 26 million copies.

Invincible, released Oct 30, entered Billboard at No. 1 with sales of 366,000 copies,
about 25,000 shy of 1995's HIStory. The album spawned radio hits You Rock My
World and Butterflies but fell out of the top 10 after four weeks despite a selfpromotion
flurry capped by the Nov. 13 airing of Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary
Special. The two-hour CBS special, culled from a pair of New York concerts toasting
his three decades as a solo artist, reached 25.6 million viewers, proof aplenty that
Jackson remains an object of fascination.
Today is no exception. Onlookers at the Beverly Hills Hotel strain to glimpse Jackson
as a path is cleared and he's swiftly ushered into a bungalow, his face concealed under
a hat, sunglasses and black surgical mask. He spends 40 minutes "settling in," as
Green puts it.
Finally prepared for an audience, Jackson greets his visitor with a handshake, a shy
smile and the odd comment about his complexion. The makeup seems confined to his
cheeks and jaw line. His eyebrows are darkened and groomed; the deep brown eyelids
could be eye shadow or vestiges of his original skin tone. Vitiligo, an autoimmune
disorder characterized by loss of skin pigment, has left much of his face and hands
pale. His tiny nose is bandaged. He offers no explanation, and questions later about
his skin condition are summarily shot down by Green.

Tall and slender, Jackson wears a brown leather jacket, red shirt, pinstripe trousers
and his signature white socks with black loafers. Prince, his dark hair bleached blond,
is clad in similar footwear and a kiddie police uniform, complete with plastic
handcuffs hanging from a belt loop.
"These keys work!" he announces before returning to his drawings at a nearby table.
Seated in an upholstered chair in the softly lighted suite, Jackson appears relaxed and
poised, if a tad weary. He is generous in praising peers. He's flattered by copycats and
loves Alien Ant Farm's cover of Smooth Criminal, including the video send up of
Jackson's quirks. His eyes light up at talk of upcoming movie projects, especially
plans to co-direct a film with director/actor Bryan Michael Stoller in May. He laughs
about his earthquake phobia, turns glum when reflecting on a domineering father and
gives weight to theories of his eternal boyhood in enthusiastic chatter about toys and
theme parks.
Jackson radiates unshakable self-confidence about his musical skills and flashes
irritation only when pressed about the press. A rare interview subject, he agreed to
this encounter in hopes of emphasizing a message that's frequently obscured by
"All I'm saying is heal the world, save our children," he says.
Jackson aggressively courts media attention, yet remains frustrated by the level of
scorn and speculation directed at him. It's a pet peeve that gets a rise out of the usually
soft-spoken star.

"The guy who hits the most home runs is always the target," he complains. "It's
human nature."
As he did in Leave Me Alone and Tabloid Junkie, Jackson condemns the prying press
in Invincible track Privacy: "You keep on stalking me, invading my privacy. ... Stop
maliciously attacking my integrity."
Flanked by chaperones, Jackson faces interrogation with genial resignation and no
hint of butterflies.
Q: How do you respond to inaccurate articles about you?
A: I don't pay any attention. The fans know the tabloid garbage is crap. They always
say to me, "Let's have a tabloid-burning." It's terrible to try to assassinate one's
character. I've had people come to me, and after meeting me, they start crying. I say,
"Why are you crying?" They say, "Because I thought you would be stuck up, but
you're the nicest person." I say, "Who gave you this judgment?" They tell me they
read it. I tell them, "Don't you believe what you read."

Q: Do these rumors persist because you don't refute them?
A: No. I've done so much in the past. I did the most watched TV interview in history
with Oprah Winfrey (in 1993). But (the media) tend to want to twist what you say and
judge you. I want to keep it on the music and the art. I think about some of my
favorite people who ever lived. If I could stand face to face with Walt Disney or
Michelangelo, would I care what they do in their private life? I want to know about
their art. I'm a fan.
Q: How do you shield yourself from being hurt by criticism?
A: Expecting it, knowing it's going to happen and being invincible, being what I was
always taught to be. You stand strong with an iron fist, no matter what the situation."
Q: Critics refer to you as the self-proclaimed King of Pop. Did you choose that title?
A: I never self-proclaimed myself to be anything. If I called up Elizabeth Taylor right
now, she would tell you that she coined the phrase. She was introducing me, I think at
the American Music Awards, and said in her own words — it wasn't in the script —
"I'm a personal fan, and in my opinion he is the king of pop, rock and soul." Then the
press started saying "King of Pop" and the fans started. This self-proclaimed garbage,
I don't know who said that.
Q: The New York concerts marked your first U.S. shows in 12 years. Were you
A: No. It was an honor to be back with my brothers again. The producer wanted a
cavalcade of luminaries from different fields of endeavor. It was a great honor to have
them salute me. It was heartwarming, a happy, fun occasion.

Q: Would you consider another tour with your brothers?
A: I don't think so. I would definitely do an album with them, but not a tour. They
would love to tour. But I want to move on to other things. Physically, touring takes a
lot out of you. When I'm on stage, it's like a two-hour marathon. I weigh myself
before and after each show, and I lose a good 10 pounds. Sweat is all over the stage.
Then you get to your hotel and your adrenaline is at its zenith and you can't fall
asleep. And you've got a show the next day. It's tough.
Q: If you don't tour, how will you satisfy public demand as well as your need to
A: I want to direct a special on myself and do songs that touch me. I want something
more intimate, from the soul and heart, with just one spotlight.
Q: How did you react when Invincible topped the chart here and in a dozen countries?
A: It was a lovely feeling. I cried happy tears to see all the love.
Q: Invincible was several years in the making. Does your perfectionism slow the
A: It did take a while because I'm never happy with the songs. I'll write a bunch of
songs, throw them out, write some more. People say, "Are you crazy? That's got to go
on the album." But I'll say, "Is it better than this other one?" You only get 75 minutes
on a CD, and we push it to the limit.

Q: Did you approach Invincible with a single theme in mind?
A: I never think about themes. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of
all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everybody, from the farmer in
Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.
Q: Has it become easier to write songs over time?
A: It's the most effortless thing in the world because you don't do anything. I hate to
say it like that, but it's the truth. The heavens drop it right into your lap, in its totality.
The real gems come that way. You can sit at the piano and say, "OK, I'm going to
write the greatest song ever written," and nothing. But you can be walking down the
street or showering or playing and, boom; it hits you in the head. I've written so many
like that. I'm playing a pinball machine, and I have to run upstairs and get my little
tape recorder and start dictating. I hear everything in its totality, what the strings are
going to do, what the bass is going to do, the harpsichord, everything.
Q: Is it difficult translating that sound to tape?
A: That's what's frustrating. In my head, it's completed, but I have to transplant that to
tape. It's like (Alfred) Hitchcock said, "The movie's finished." But he still has to start
directing it. The song is the same. You see it in its entirety and then you execute it.
Q: After such a long absence, did you have doubts about your current relevance?
A: Never. I have confidence in my abilities. I have real perseverance. Nothing can
stop me when I put my mind to it.

Q: After Sept. 11, you wrote a benefit song, What More Can I Give? What's the
A: It's not finished. We're adding artists, and I'm getting myself satisfied with the
Q: Is it your belief that music is a tool for healing?
A: It's a mantra that soothes the soul. It's therapeutic. It's something our body has to
have, like food. It's very important to understand the power of music. Whether you're
in an elevator or a department store, music affects the way you shop, the way you
treat your neighbor.
(Prince hands Jackson a drawing. "I appreciate it," Jackson says. "Do you have to go
to the bathroom?" Prince: "No.")
Q: Invincible hasn't enjoyed record-breaking sales. Does Thriller cast too big a
A: Absolutely. It is tough because you're competing against yourself. Invincible is just
as good or better than Thriller, in my true, humble opinion. It has more to offer. Music
is what lives and lasts. Invincible has been a great success. When The Nutcracker
Suite was first introduced to the world, it totally bombed. What's important is how the
story ends.
(Prince surfaces again with another picture. "What did you promise me?" Jackson
asks. "To be quiet?" Prince responds, then retreats.)

Q: How has fatherhood changed you?
A: In a huge way. You have to value your time differently, no doubt about it. It's your
responsibility to make sure they're taken care of and raised properly with good
manners. But I refuse to let any of it get in the way of the music or the dance or the
performing. I have to play two different roles. I always wanted to have a big family,
ever since I was in school. I was always telling my father I would outdo him. He had
10 children. I would love to have like 11 or 12 myself.
Q: What have you taught your children?
A: I try to make sure they're respectful and honorable and kind to everybody. I tell
them, no matter what they do, work hard at it. What you want to do for a lifetime, be
the best at it.
(Prince is staring. "Stop looking at me," Jackson says, smiling.)
Q: And what have your kids taught you?
A: A lot. (Parenthood) reminds you to do what the Bible has always told us. When the
Apostles were arguing among themselves over who was the greatest in Jesus' eyes, he
said, "None of you," and called over a little boy and said, "until you humble yourself
like this child." It reminds you to be kind and humble and to see things through the
eyes of children with a childlike wonderment. I still have that. I'm still fascinated by
clouds and the sunset. I was making wishes on the rainbow yesterday. I saw the
meteor shower. I made a wish every time I saw a shooting star.
Q: What are your wishes?
A: Peace and love for the children. (Prince returns, gazing intently. "Stop that," says
Jackson, gently turning the boy's head away. "Can you be still?")

Q: You've said you plan to home-school your kids. Given your fame, how can you
provide a normal life for them?
A: You do the best you can. You don't isolate them from other children. There will be
other kids at the school (on his property). I let them go out in the world. But they can't
always go with me. We get mobbed and attacked. When we were in Africa, Prince
saw a mob attack in a huge shopping mall. People broke so much stuff, running and
screaming. My biggest fear is that fans will hurt themselves, and they do. I've seen
glass break, blood, ambulances.
Q: Are you resentful that stardom stole your childhood?
A: Yeah. It's not anger, it's pain. People see me at an amusement park or with other
kids having fun, and they don't stop and think, "He never had that chance when he
was little." I never had the chance to do the fun things kids do: sleepovers, parties,
trick-or-treat. There was no Christmas, no holiday celebrating. So now you try to
compensate for some of that loss.
Q: Have you made peace with your father?
A: It's much better. My father is a much nicer person now. I think he realizes his
children are everything. Without your family, you have nothing. He's a nice human
being. At one time, we'd be horrified if he just showed up. We were scared to death.
He turned out really well. I wish it wasn't so late.

Q: Did music offer an escape from childhood worries?
A: Of course. We sang constantly in the house. We sang group harmony while
washing dishes. We'd make up songs as we worked. That's what makes greatness.
You have to have that tragedy, that pain to pull from. That's what makes a clown
great. You can see he's hurting behind the masquerade. He's something else
externally. Chaplin did that so beautifully, better than anyone. I can play off those
moments, too. I've been through the fire many times.
(Prince is back. He leans against the chair to gawk at the king of pops. "Stop looking
at me," Jackson implores, clearly unnerved by the tyke's scrutiny. "You're not making
this easy." Both of them chuckle, and Jackson warns teasingly, "You may not get that
piece of candy.")
Q: Do your religious beliefs ever conflict with the sexy nature of your music or
A: No. I sing about things that are loving, and if people interpret it as sexy, that's up to
them. I never use bad words like some of the rappers. I love and respect their work,
but I think I have too much respect for parents and mothers and elderly people. If I did
a song with bad words and saw an older lady in the audience, I'd cringe.
Q: But what about your trademark crotch-grabbing moves?
A: I started doing that with Bad. Martin Scorsese directed that short film in the
subways of New York. I let the music tell me what to do. I remember him saying,
"That was a great take! I want you to see it." So we pushed playback, and I went
aaaah! I didn't realize I was doing that. But then everyone else started doing that, and
Madonna, too. But it's not sexual at all.

Q: How are you spending your free time these days?
A: I like to do silly things — water-balloon fights, pie fights, egg fights. (Turning to
Prince) You got a good one coming! I don't think I'll ever grow out of that. At my
house, I built a water-balloon fort with two sides, a red team and a blue team. We
have cannons that shoot water 60 feet and slingshots that shoot the balloons. We got
bridges and places to hide. I just love it.
Q: After 38 years in show business, fans still mob you. Are you immune to adulation?
A: It's always a good feeling. I never take it for granted. I'm never puffed up with
pride or think I'm better than the next-door neighbor. To be loved is a wonderful
thing. That is the main reason I do this. I feel compelled to do it, to give people some
sense of escapism, a treat to the eye and the ear. I think it's the reason I'm here.
Q: Why do you think people are jealous?
A: If you look back in history, it's the same with anybody who's achieved wonderful
things. I know the Disney family well, and Walt's daughters used to tell me it was
difficult when they were in school. Kids would say, "I hate Walt Disney. He's not
even funny. We don't watch him." Charlie Chaplin's kids, who I know well, had to
take their children out of school. They were being teased: "Your grandfather is stupid.
He's not funny. We don't like him." He was a genius! So you have to deal with this
jealousy. They think they're hurting you. Nothing could hurt me. The bigger the star,
the larger the target. At least they're talking. When they stop talking, you have to

Q: How did you gear up for the physical demands of your special concerts (which
aired as a two-hour CBS special)? Do you exercise?
A: I hate exercise. I hate it so much. The only thing I do is dance. That's an exercise.
That's why I like some of the karate stuff or kung fu. It's all a dance. But sit-ups? I
hate it.
Q: Were you intimidated by and of the other superstars on the bill?
A: No. I enjoy watching performers. It's all school for me. I never stop learning. It
was really inspiring.
Q: Are you more enamored with modern music or vintage stuff?
A: I like the earlier stuff. It's more melodically conscious. Today people rely on a beat
or a rhythm, which is nice, but I said this time and time again, melody will always be
king. You have to hum it.
Q: You've teamed with a huge variety of musicians. What attracts you to a particular
A: If I see some potential in their ability as an artist or musician, I'll give them a hook
or a line or a phrase and see how they play it or execute it. Sometimes we go all day
and it's still not right.

Q: Did you learn that lesson from your parents?
A: Our parents taught us to always be respectful and, no matter what you do, to give it
everything you have. Be the best, not the second best.
Q: You are often pursued by mobs of fans. Are you ever scared for your own safety?
A: Never ever. I know exactly what to do when it gets really rough, how to just play
them. As long as they can see you, they're crazy, but you can put yourself in the eye
of the hurricane. If you duck and they can't see you, they calm down.
Q: Your inner circle seems to consist of very young friends and much older ones.
What connects you to people like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor?
A: We've had the same lives. They grew up in show business. We look at each other,
and it's like looking in a mirror. Elizabeth has this little girl inside of her who never
had a childhood. She was on the set every day. She loves playing with a new gadget
or toy, and she's totally awe-inspired by it. She's a wonderful human being. So is

Q: What happened to your plans to build theme parks in Europe or Africa?
A: We're still working on a couple of projects. I can't say right now where. I love
theme parks. I love seeing children coming together, having a good time with their
parents. It's not like it used to be, when you put your kids on the merry-go-round and
sat on the bench eating peanuts. Now you enjoy it with them. It builds a unity to the

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Michael Jackson Interview on Steve Harvey Radio Show March 08, 2002.

On March 8, 2002, Michael called in to an LA radio Station, 100.3 The Beat LA, in
Los Angeles, California.
Steve Harvey: This is the single best call ever on this radio station. This one is bigger
than president Clinton calling. Ladies and Gentlemen, on the phone, put your hands
together and show your love.
For the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. You don't hear don't hear think I'm don't feel what I'm
saying...hey Mike?

Michael: Steve?
Steve: How you doin' playa?
Michael: are you?
Steve: What's up playa. How you feelin' man?
Michael: I went to bed early so I could wake up and speak to you. I'm a really big fan
of yours.
Steve: Hey man.
Michael: I told you, I saw your show 'The Kings of Comedy' and you did a skit about
the Titanic, and I thought that was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my
Steve: [laughs]. Um, Michael and I met, uh...
Michael: Yea, in my trailer.
Steve: On the set of Rock my World.
Michael: Yeah
Steve: Yea, this year....he invited me. And I didn't come on the air and tell anybody,
because I considered that a private thing just between us, you know. I'm not goin' yea
I was in Michael Jackson's know, the brotha invited me to his trailer, and
I met his kids. Great kids man...Michael, great kids man.
Michael: Thank you very much

Steve: Can I pay you this compliment? Your kids didn't act like little rich kids.
Michael: Ok...[laughs embarrassed]
Steve: You know what I mean? They have manners they were real nice. I was playing
ball with your little boy. He didn't want to stop, man. He just kept throwing me the
ball. After a while I just got right in to it. I said alright little Prince here you go.
Michael: [laughs]
Steve: I'm goin' throw you a hot one - catch it!...Mike?
Michael: Yes…
Steve: Man, I can't tell you how big this is man, for us here at The Beat, man.
Michael: Well, God bless you, you're just a great talent. You're really're very funny. Gosh, seriously, you have me screaming when I watch
your thing man, I watch it all the time...
Steve: [laughs]
Michael: [Laughs]
Steve:...This dude is funny man, when we were in his trailer...
Really really nice people in this business man, really nice people in this
business....and I tell you what, I got something for you. I talked to your personal
assistant, and I got this new DVD out, and I'm sending you that. You have that today.
Michael: Wow! Cool! Thank you.
Steve: ...Playa, playa....thank you Mike. Mike Jackson on the phone! I don't even
know what to ask....

Hey, Mike I got another one for you!
Michael: Yea?
Steve: Hey man, let me ask you this question. When you were performing on the 30th
anniversary special. Did you have an emotional moment when you and your brothers
was on stage? Cause there was a moment when you were performing and you kneeled
down and you stayed there and your brothers were looking at you like, OK Mike,
come on. Was that real, dog?
Michael: It's always real...and I take that moment and I try not to cry, and I usually
do. But it all goes back for me, you know, to conception, you know, when we were
really little babies and children. And we see all the adulation and notoriety...and it
just…it's a work from God, and it all goes through me really fast.
Steve: Oh yea.
Michael: And it all goes through's a real blessing. I just break down and I cry
at that moment...I try not to show it to the audience, but I can't help it. You know?
Steve: Yea. Well, I saw it and I thought that was real you know. I think, uh, I think
people, when they see those things in you brotha, when you let them see a glimpse of
the real Michael Jackson that oftentimes your closest friends only get to see...I
thought that was my favorite part of the show. I always said if I get a chance to talk to
this bro' I'm going to ask him about it.

Michael: Yea.
Steve: That was hot man, that was real hot. Hey man, there's so much man, that we
can talk about. Your career and everything….Your sister called the radio station.
Michael: Oh yah?
Steve: Janet called. About a few months ago, Janet called...First of all Michael, let me
introduce you to uh, my co-hosts on the show; Shirley Strawbery and Dominique
De'Creme, cause they are busting to say hi.
Shirley/Dominique: [laugh] Good morning Michael!
Michael: Good morning!
Shirley/Dominique: Hi Michael!
Michael: How are you?
Shirley/Dominique: Great! Oh, we are such big fans of yours.
Michael: Oh! Thank you so much.
Shirley/Dominique: Huge fans. Oh, I love your album. I really, really do love your
Michael: Thank you so much.
Steve: The new album Mike!
Shirley/Dominique: We really love it, seriously!
Michael: Thank you so much.
Shirley/Dominique: Break of Dawn...I keep playing Break of Dawn over and over
and over again.
Michael: Oh, thanks!

Shirley/Dominique: It's so sexy....ah!
Steve: Hey Mike, listen to this. We had the O'Jays on the show on Monday, and we
were talking about your album.
Michael: Uh huh.
Steve: And the O'Jays...this is Eddie Levert's take on your album. He said, "Mike
threw 'Rock My World' out there at 'em. Then, just said hold up, you ain't seen nothin'
yet. Then you drop 'Butterflies'..."
Shirley/Dominique: Oh! Ah!
Steve: ...and Butterflies man, I'm telling you, on this station right here, I play
Butterflies at least twice a morning, and in 4 hours that ain't right on the radio.
Michael: [laughs] Thanks!
Shirley/Dominique: Sounds right to me!
Steve: [laughs] Hey Mike, where did you get Butterflies from?
Michael: Well, Butterflies is was these 2 girls named Floetry, and they came
with the song, and uh, we kinda worked together. Uh, it's mainly these other 2 girls
who mainly composed that one.

Steve: Wow.
Michael: And um, I think they're British. Yea, they're British girls...They're black
British girls, and they were just phenomenal. And I thought it was something that I
just really, really liked and we did some kind of counter hooks and lines, and just
kinda painted it with different sounds and everything, different colors, and so we
produced it, and I produced it, and just created something that was just acceptable and
it ended up going on the album. 'Cause I'll do at least over 100 songs, until I come up
with about 20 or 30 that I like.
Steve: No doubt...
Michael: And I'll decipher it down...
Steve: Wow, 100 songs, dog, before you come up with 20 or 30 you like?
Michael: Yea, it was more this time, actually, than 100.
Steve: Gee.
Shirley/Dominique: Well, he is Michael Jackson, you know....he's Bad...he's
Dangerous....he's working day and night, that's what he is...Yes he is!
Steve: Wow! [laughs] Yea....hey man, Mike, I know you ain't this kind of bro' but I
am, so I'm just going to put it out there real like that....ever since you came back, I
told Usher and Sisquo that they gotta go put their shirt back on!
Michael: [laughing]
Steve: [laughs] Put your shirt back on....Mike is back!! You take that glove off your
elbow, and all that man, the King is back, baby!! [laughs] That's how we be rockin'
that one. Hey man, we have gotten over the years, all of us...your true fans, Michael...
Michael: Aw...

Steve: ...are still out there in the streets man, and I can't even tell you, um, I speak at
prisons across the country often times, and I was at Pritchard's Detention Centre out
here, and one of the brothas that was locked away said 'Steve, the love that you be
givin' Michael Jackson on the air...he said, if you ever, ever talk to him, tell him that
we up in here, man, we been feeling his music for a long time'.
Michael: Wow, that's beautiful.
Steve: Yea man, that's a great compliment, man. For what you've been to people,
Mike, for all these years, man...I mean, brotha, I don't know if any body's ever said
thank you to you for the way you put it down, for all of the music that you gave us
that's still in our hearts, man, and I don't know if nobody ever said thank you to you
Michael: Well god bless you, that's so beautiful...I appreciate it. It's not easy being in
my position because; you create so much sensationalism and tabloids...people lie.
Steve: Come on man...
Michael: The create rumors and stories and none of it's true.
Steve: Yeah.
Michael: And it's very, very difficult, you's not easy, it's very hard. And
you end up, you hurt sometimes, and you try to be as resilient as possible...

Steve: Right.
Michael: But it's very, very difficult because there's tabloids and lies...they
hate....they're very jealous.
Steve: Yea, I dig it.
Michael: They just...when you read this stuff, it's a lie, don't believe it. Burn it. We
should have a tabloid burning...
Steve/Shirley/Dominique: [laugh]...Yea, dig it.
Michael: We should have a tabloid burning. Make a mountain of them and just throw
the match....cause they...
Steve: Yea, man!
Michael: …'cause they just hate to see us grow and build and build, and there's
nothing wrong with that. They can, but that's OK. But, what can I do but to reinforce
the talent God gave us, and that's all I wanted to do.
Steve: Yea...
Michael: Just share the love and gifts of entertainment. That's all I want to do. I don't
want to hurt anybody.

Steve: No. That's real, and man, you know what, I'm just going to say this
man, um, I talked with your mom off the air before through Jermaine...he and I had a
conversation on the air, and then he called me off the air and I was talking to you
mother, Mrs. Jackson, off the air...
Michael: She's wonderful.
Steve: Aw, man, your mother is....and I gave her her propers too. I told Ms. Jackson, I
said a phenomenal job you've done in raising as many talented children that you have
and still maintain them as a family. And she was uh, thanking me because I had came
forward on your behalf on more than one occasion, concerning several issues, man,
and they were just totally false about you. And I prompted everybody to go get a copy
of the GQ article, from 1994.
Shirley/Dominique: Oh, yea...
Steve: And uh, GQ had a lot of back issues re-ordered because of this. And um, a lot
of people read the article and found out the real truth behind a lot of things that were
so false man, and um, your mom was thanking me for saying that on the radio. And I
just wanted to say man, that there are a lot of people out here man, that really feel you
playa, and wish that they could just feel you some more, and a phone call like this
Mike. I gotta tell you playa, it goes a long way, man.
Michael: Well thank you so much. I don't do it often at all. I never do it, I never do it.

Steve: Thank you Mike.
Micahel: This is a first.
Steve: [laughs] Yea!
Shirley/Dominique: It is the first and thank you! Wow!
Michael: Well, I'm happy to do it for you. And it's from the bottom of my heart.
You're just so kind, and wonderful to me. Somebody...people used to tell me different
places; there's this guy who talks about you everyday!
Steve/Shirley/Dominique: [laugh]
Michael: And he uh...and I'd go, 'Who is it', and they'd go, 'His name is Steve'. I'd go
'Steve'...and then I saw the Kings of Comedy show, and I go 'This is the guy?'
Steve/Shirley/Dominique: [laugh]
Michael: And I said, Oh my god, I said, I'm a fan of him now!
Steve: Yea, and it was...and you gave me a call and it was like really crazy. Cause
you know going to see Mike ain't don't just walk up and go 'Hey, Mike,
how's it going'. No, you gotta go through some channels. But it was great, man, and
you helped me out.
Hey Mike, listen man, um, can you tell us exactly what is Never, Never land. Can you
clear that up for the listeners?
Shirley/Dominique: NEVERland!
Michael: Sure, sure...

Steve: Oh, I thought it was Never, Neverland...but that ain't right, no...
Michael: That's OK too if you want to call it Never, Neverland. It's just a serene and
tranquil place, to just relax and enjoy yourself and leave your troubled mind and those
things that irritate you in your heart and your soul, behind. And once you enter the
gates, you're just in a very wonderful, quiet, loving place. And there's lakes, and you
know, rolling hills and grass and trees and, you know, rides and trains, and....
Steve: How big is it Mike?
Michael: It's 3000 acres.
Shirley/Dominique: Woo hoo...sounds like paradise!
Michael: Yes, well...
Steve: Yo, 3000 acres...
Michael: Yes.
Steve: I got 70 acres in Texas, and I thought I was king!
Michael: [laughs]

Steve: I got 70 acres, you got 3000!
Michael: Well, I get to compensate for the loss, you know in my childhood that I
never got to enjoy those child-like things, but it''s for everybody. And we have
handicapped, kids with cancer, terminally ill children, leukemia kids...Make A Wish
Foundation, Dream Street...we've been doing for like over 9, 10, uh...11 years!
Steve: Wow!
Michael: Yea, and uh, I did it before at my mother's house in Encino. We never wave
a flag, we never try to get press for it. I do it quietly.
Steve: Right, absolutely.
Michael: We the busloads they come. We don't allow cameras or videos. I
do it quietly. 'Cause real charity is from the heart, you know.
Steve: Yea.
Michael: Not to say, look at me, look what I'm doing. But I do it quietly from the

Steve: Oh, yea, that's real.
Michael: And uh, I've done this for years. Many, many years. And uh, one day maybe
you can meet me there and we can say hello.
Steve: You know, that would be great. You know what Mike. I've got a....for
everybody who's just tuning in, we're interviewing live on the radio Michael Jackson.
I mean this is like, this is the bomb, this is the bomb interview, this tops it for me!
You know Mike, I've had President Clinton call me from Air Force One before, and
uh, it did not have this impact! Believe me, cause Clinton cool and everything, but....
Michael: I really like him.
Steve: Yea, he ain't Michael though. He ain't one bit Billie Jean, and Beat It and
Michael: [laughs]
Steve: [singing] ..."looking through the windows, window..." wow!
Michael: [laughs]

Steve: That was my jam....[singing] "I'll be there....come on everybody...I'll be
Michael: [laughing]
Steve: That was my jam, Mike!
Shirley/Dominique: Aw, man.
Steve: [still in the background, singing] ..."Man in the Mirror"...ow!
Michael: [laughing loudly on top of Steve's singing]
Steve: [singing]..."I'm asking him to change his ways”....ow!..."and no message could
have been any clearer"..."if you wanna make a change, da da da da da...."
Michael: [laughing loudly]
Steve: ...Man, I got the King of pop on the, I am the king! Hey Mike man,
you invite me out to Neverland but let me ask you this.
My wife and I, we got a foundation, it's called the Steve and Muriel Harvey
Foundation, and we been trying to put together man, you know there are so many
children out here in the LA school districts that just don't have books. They just do not
have a book, man...
Michael: Wow.

Steve: ...and they, with all these budget cuts that goin' down. Most of these uh,
schools that's in, uh, really, really impoverished neighborhoods and they just not
getting the education.
We, for example, Mike, I walked into classrooms with children in it, where they had
38 children, 23, 23 desks, and 8 books. With 38 kids, 23 desks and just 8
books, and it broke my heart man. So I took some news cameras down there. So,
instead of having me come to Neverland, because I know it would be great for me,
but, if my foundation got together a bus of really, really, uh, inner-city kids, man, that
were real young and had never been out of their neighborhood and never saw
anything great, if I could arrange it through your people man, if I paid for the bus and
everything...If we could get a bus load of kids man....
Michael: You got it, we'll do it. That's what we do.
Shirley/Dominique: Oh! Wow! [clapping]
Steve: Thanks, man.
Michael: I would be more than pleased and happy to do that.
Steve: Yea, so...
Michael: That's what we do.

Steve: Mike, what I will do is, I'll put a little contest together on the radio and we'll go
to the schools that have the least and we'll....because if these children man, if they
could get a chance to see something outside of their neighborhood, something - some
of these kids have never been to the beach out here. Some of these kids never been to
Beverly Hills out here. If we could get that worked out man, at the top of the year, my
foundation would happily pay for the busses and the lunches, but I know you'd take
care of them out there.
Michael: Of course!
Steve: I think that would be great...
Michael: Wow, I'd love to do it.
Steve: Cool that's what I mean man.
Michael: I'd love to do it!
Steve: That's the bomb deal right there. Hey Mike, hey man, if you could,
the new album's out, and it's called Invincible for those of you who are listening...
Shirley/Dominique: It really is good!
Michael: Thank you.

Steve: ...and he didn't call in to promote the album, that's not what the call is's just playa to playa...
Michael: Mmmhmmm..
Steve: ...brotha to to dog...
Michael: [laughs]
Steve: ...Steve to King.....king to king...
Shirley/Dominique: We just want him to know we appreciate it, that's all. I mean the
good music, he's still as good as he was years and years ago, we just love it!
Michael: Thank you so much.
Shirley/Dominique: We're big fans of you Michael, big fans.''
Michael: Thank you, thank you, God bless you...thank you so much.
Steve: Hey man, that's the one thing, man that I want to get across to people, that the
brotha on the phone has been a real brotha the whole time. Regardless as to what you
hear in the media, or what you read about...the tabloids, they're garbage, they print
stuff about everybody false all the time.

Michael: False, false.
Steve: They just...this cat right here is one of the nicest people in this business, and
been that way a long time. And has not harmed a hair on anyone's head, but people
have gone after him for monetary gains, just to get money, man....
Michael: That's right.
Steve: If you read the GQ article in 1994 [see EMJ's Interviews/Speeches page for
this article] get a copy, and send off, and read the article...with the cover, with
Michael Jackson on the cover, it will tell you this whole story and exactly what
happened. And I mean man, it was very revealing, and I was stunned, but then not
really, cause I know how people are. 'Cause I only get a taste of it, and I ain't even, I
ain't even Michael Jackson...I mean, I'm dangerous. When you come in here, I cuss,
spit, and do all kinds of things....
Michael: [laughs]
Steve: I got, friends in low places....hey Mike, if you need a couple of them friends,
roll out some hammers and fight....but no, real Michael, the tabloids they really on
your nerves, we can get the tabloid building burnt down!
Shirley/Dominique: You are such a thug.
Michael: Good...We need to...we need to do it.
Steve: Let's be real Mike, let's be real...

Michael: We need to do it!
Steve: I've got some boys that can get over there dog, I'm talking from low places...
Michael: Yea, they're disgusting. Then there are those that disguise themselves as
legitimate, and they're just as tabloid, no they're worse!
Steve: Yea! I've read a couple of 'em newspapers, too!
Michael: Yea, they're worse!
Steve: Yea, I bet them that! Hey man, I think it's great for the masses to hear you, and
man every now and then Mike, just give me a call. My interview with you is always
this way. The morning show is motivational and always uplifting. We're not here to
tear nobody down...
Michael: Wow!
Steve: poke fun, I got about a million jokes, I can do about anything else, but I
know I don't get off on any body's personal lives, but you brotha, you have meant a lot
to people man.
Michael: Well, thank you so much.
Steve: And I want to say something special to you too man, cause a lot of people
don't give this one to you. But I gotta tell you somethin’' you mean something to black
people, man. Don't ever think you don't and you haven't.
Michael: Wow!
Steve: Cause you have made a difference for a lot of minorities across this country,
and you remember that about your music, man, you remember that about your videos.
You touch us that way. And I'm giving you something man, just from one brotha to
another that the mainstream American can't give to you. That is, what you have done
in representing black people...

Michael: I'm proud of my heritage.
Steve: Go on and say it...
Michael: I'm proud to be black, I'm honored to be black. And I just hope that one day
that they will be fair, and portraying me the way I really, really am; just a loving,
peaceful guy, wanting to make a wonderful, unprecedented entertainment in songs
and music and film, uh, for the world.
Steve: Yea.
Michael: You know, and that's all I want to do. No threat, I just want to do that, you
know? That's all I want to do, bring joy to the world.
Steve: You been doing it man, you been doing it for a long, long time....
Michael: Thank you.
Steve: ...Usher, put your shirt on! Mike is back...the King of Pop is back!
Michael: [laughing]
Steve: ...put your shirt on, and let's put your hair back on...
Shirley/Dominique: He's crazy, Michael, he's crazy!
Steve: ....put your hair in a bun, and put your hat back on....cause the King is back!
Michael Jackson, Steve Harvey and the morning show....We've got big love for you

Michael: I love you more.
Steve: Big love brotha, call us again.
Michael: I love you all, thanks...
Steve: You all show your love for the one and only King of Pop...
Shirley/Dominique: Michael Jackson!! [screams]
Michael: I love you!
Steve: We love you too, man.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I first met Michael Jackson some 33 years ago when Diana Ross introduced the
Jackson 5 - then a brand-new Motown act - to 350 music and media folk at the Daisy
Club in Beverly Hills. My husband, Ken, and I were then publishing Soul, one of the
first national black-entertainment newsmagazines.
Ten year old Michael already knew how to charm a crowd. Acknowledging Diana's
support, he said, "After singing for four years and not becoming a star, I thought I
would never be discovered - this is, until Miss Ross came along to save my career."
Just four months later, the Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back," soared to the
top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts, followed two months later by "ABC". Thousands
of letters from across the country poured into our mailbox. Responding to the
Jackson's first tour, one reader wrote: "Those youngsters performed in a manner that
could be harmful to one's health. The heart can only stand so much soul, and their
performance was definately an overdose."

Over the next decade, Soul kept up with the Jackson family as a guest at parties,
weddings, and concerts. We were also regular visitors to the family home, where
Michael - soft-spoken, polite, curious, and quiet - was usually off by himself, drawing
or playing with his snakes and other pets, while his older brothers, cousins and
visitors played basketball. But when Soul stopped publishing in 1980, I lost touch
with the family.
And then Michael became a pop-culture superstar, changing the face of music, dance,
fashion, and music video with hit after hit. He was idolized and chased by fans and
media wherever he went. He took an art form, refined and packaged it, and became an
international icon. The American Music Awards recently named him the Artist of the
Century. When it comes to the King of Pop, the world is insatiable.

You can tell a lot about someone by the people who work for him. Arriving at
Michael's 2700-acre Neverland Valley Ranch in Los Olivos, Calif., north of Santa
Barbara, I'm greeted by some of the 70-odd members of Michael's exceedingly
friendly staff, which helps the self-proclaimed King of Pop maintain the comples and
welcomes busloads of visitors a year, mostly kids who suffer terminal illnesses.
Dressed in black slacks, white socks, black loafers, and a soft yellow shirt, Michael
greets me with a warm smile hello and a big hug. He then excuses himself to see
about his son, Prince, 5, and daughter Paris, 3, who have just returned from a long
walk and are excitedly chattering to their dad about their day. The governess, who
closely resembles Michael's mother, Katherine, suggests I have a brief look around
the ranch before dark. So I take off in a battery-powered golf cart, while Michael
spends some time with his babies.

I discover an amusement park, playground, train station, arcade, swiming pool,
Jacuzzi, bumper-car tent, and various areas where anumals roam free. I spot a llama, a
parrot, a cheetah, a pony, and several deer.
Michael is ready to talk when I return 45 minutes later. I've brought along a bound
volume of Soul, and he looks at the old photographs and laughs at himself, his
brothers and a picture of Diana Ross. "Do you remember interviewing me when I was
little?" he asks, reminding me of the time Soul talked to him through his "interpreter,"
Janet. "It wasn't a game, it was real," he says. "I felt afraid. I felt that if my sister was
there, the person would go easier on me."
Often very animated, Michael goes from a whisper to raucous laughter in a split
second. The only matter that he refuses to address is his plastic surgery. "That's a
stupid question," he says. "That's one reason I didn't do interviews for years."
At a time when stars routinely boast about their Bentleys and blingbling, Michael is
singularly modest. He brushes off a question about his financial health - there have
been recent reports of trouble - saying only, "I'm taken care of fine." Michael makes
money when he sleeps. He owns half of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, which includes
most of the Beatles catalog as well as songs by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Miles
Davis, Babyface, and Elvis.

At 43, Michael is indisputably back. Invincible, his first album in four years, was No.
1 on the Billboard 200 chart. His two sold-out tribute shows at Madison Square
Garden last September (just before the terrorist attacks) were later aired as a CBS
special watched by more than 25.7 million viewers, making it that network's highestrated
music special of all time.
As we resume the conversation that began so many years ago, I discover that, in spite
of all the flash and tumult of Michael's time in the spotlight, he's remarkable
unchanged - still caring, inquisitive, and sensitive.
VIBE: How is it to be competing for sales with the likes of 'N Sync and Britney
Spears, children who were basically born at the height of your fame?
MJ: It's a rarity. I had No. 1 records in 1969 and '70, and still entered the charts in
2001 at No. 1. I don't think any other artist has that range. It's a great honor. I'm
happy, I don't know what else to say. I'm glad people accept what I do.
VIBE: What are your thoughts on the current state of R&B?

MJ: I don't categorize music. Music is music. They changed the word R&B to rock n'
roll. It was always been, from Fats Domino to Little Richard to Chuck Berry. How
can we discriminate? Its what it is - great music, you know.
VIBE: Are you feeling hip hop?
MJ: I like a lot of it, a lot of it. I like the music. I don't like the dancing that much. It
looks like they're doing aerobics.
VIBE: How did you decide to feature Biggie Smalls on "Unbreakable", off
MJ: It wasn't my idea, actually. It was Rodney Jerkins's, one of the writer/producers
working on the album. It was my idea to put a rap part on the song, and he said, "I
know just the perfect on - Biggie." He put it in, and it worked perfectly.
VIBE: Why did you choose Jay-Z for the remix of the first single, "You Rock My
MJ: He's hip, the new thing, and he's with the kids today. They like his work. He's
tapped into the nerve of popular culture. It just made good sense.
VIBE: What was it like for you to appear at New York's Hot 97 Summer Jam concert
as Jay-Z's guest?
MJ: I just showed up and gave him a hug. There was a tumultuous explosion of
applause and stomping, a lovely, lovely welcome, and I was happy about that. It was a
great feeling - the love, the love.

VIBE: Does it bother you to see people emulate you, such as Usher, Sisqo, Ginuwine,
and even Destiny's Child?
MJ: I don't mind it at all. These are artists who grew up with my music. When you
grow up listening to somebody you admire, you tend to become them. You want to
look like them, to dress like them. When I was little, I was James Brown, I was
Sammy Davis Jr., so I understand. It's a compliment.
VIBE: Did you know that you were creating timeless classics when you were
recording Thriller and Off The Wall?
MJ: Yes, not to be arrogant, but yes. Because I know great material when I hear it,
and meoldically and sonically and musically, it's so moving. They keep the promise.
VIBE: Do you feel there's a greater acceptance of black artists these days?
MJ: I think people have always admired black music since the beginning of time, if
you want to go back to Negro spirituals. Today, the market is just accepting of the fact
that that's the sound. From Britney to 'N Sync, they're all doing the R&B thing. Even
Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees he always tells me [immitating a British accent], "Man,
we do R&B." I say, Barry, I don't categorize it, but it's great music. I understand
where he's coming from. I love great music - it has no color, it has no boundaries.

VIBE: You seem to be enjoying life as a single parent.
MJ: I never had so much fun in all my life. That's the truth. Beacause I'm this big kid,
and now I get to see the world through the eyes of the really young ones. I learn more
from them than they learn from me. I'm constantly trying things and testing things on
them to see what works and what doesn't. Children are always the best judges to
monitor something. If you can get the kids, you've got it. That's why Harry Potter is so
successful - it's a family-oriented movie. You can't go wrong there. We want a wide
demographic, and that's why I try not to say things in my lyrics that offend parents. I
don't want to be like that. We weren't raised to be like that. Mother and Joseph
[Michael's father] wouldn't say stuff like that.
VIBE: What do Prince and Paris listen to?
MJ: They listen to all of my music, and they love classical, which plays all around the
ranch. They like any good dance music.
VIBE: How would you feel about your children becoming pop icons, based upon your
MJ: I don't know how they would handle that. It would be tough. I really don't know.
It's hard, since most of the children of celebrities end up becoming self-destructive
because they can't live up to the talent of the parent. People used to always say to Fred
Astaire Jr., "Can you dance?" And he couldn't. He didn't have any rhythm, but his
father was this genius dancer. It doesn't mean that it has to be passed on. I always tell
my children, You don't have to sing, you don't have to dance. Be who you want to be,
as long as you're not hurting anybody. That's the main thing.

VIBE: Which artists - past and present - inspire you?
MJ: Stevie Wonder is a musical prophet. All of the early Motown. All the Beatles. I'm
crazy about Sammy Davis Jr., Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill
"Bojangles" Robinson - the real entertainers, the real thing, not just gimmicks,
showstoppers. When James Brown was with the Famous Flames, it was unbelievable.
There are so many wonderful singers - Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Johnny
Mathis. Real stylists. You hear one line, and you know who it is. Nat "King" Cole,
great stuff. Sam Cooke - they are all ridiculous.
VIBE: How involved were you in selecting the artists to perform in your 30th
anniversary special?
MJ: I wasn't involved at all.
VIBE: How were you able to let go of something so big and so special?\
MJ: Trust.
VIBE: What was your experience on September 11?
MJ: I was in New York [after performing at Madison Square Garden on September 7
and 10], and I got a call from friends in Saudi Arabia that America was being
attacked. I turned on the news and saw the Twin Towers coming down, and I said, Oh
my God. I screamed down the hotel hallway to our people, Everybody get out, let's
leave now! Marlon Brando was on one end, our security was on the other end. We
were all up there, but Elizabeth Taylor was at another hotel. We all got out of there as
quickly as we could. We jumped in the car, but there were these girls who had been at
the show the night before, and they were banging on the windows, running down the
street screaming. Fans are so loyal. We hid in New Jersey. It was unbelievable - I was
scared to death.

VIBE: On another tip altogether, what do you do for recreation?
MJ: I like water-balloon fights. We have a water-balloon fort here, and we have a red
team and a blue team. We have slings and cannons, and you are drenched by the time
the game is over. There's a timer, and whoever gets the most points is the winner. If
I'm going to do some kind of sport, I have to laugh. I don't do anything like basketball
or golf. Basketball is very competitive, and so is tennis; they make you angry. I'm not
into that. It should be therapeutic. I also like to go to amusement parks, hang out with
animals, things like that.
VIBE: Do you have a fantasy of something that you'd like to see in your lifetime?
MJ: I would like to see an international children's holiday to honor our children,
because the family bond has been broken. There's a Mother's Day, and there's a
Father's Day, but there's no children's day. It would mean a lot. It really would. World
peace. I hope that our next generation will get to see a peaceful world, not the way
things are going now.
VIBE: Has singing ever stopped being fun and become work?
MJ: It's always been fun. Unless I get physically sick, it's always fun. I still love it.
VIBE: Many of us see you as a historic figure, an innovator who has set a standard
that still exists in music. Where does Michael Jackson go from here?
MJ: Thank you, thank you. I have a deep love for film and I want to pioneer and
innovate in the medium of film - to write and direct and produce movies, to bring
incredible entertainment.

VIBE: What kinds of movies? Are you looking at scripts?
MJ: Yes, but nothing has been finalized yet.
VIBE: Are you ever lonely?
MJ: Of course. If I'm onstage, I'm fine there. But you can have a house full of people
and still be lonely from within. I'm not complaining, because I think it's a good thing
for my work.
VIBE: Tell me about the inspiration for "Speechless". It's very loving.
MJ: You'll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big waterballoon
fight - I'm serious - and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in
their house and wrote "Speechless". Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because it's
such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in it's
entirety right there. I felt it would be good enough for the album. Out of the bliss
comes magic, wonderment, and creativity.
VIBE: Do you collect anything?
MJ: I like anything to do with Shirley Temple, the Little Rascals, and the Three
Stooges. I love Curly. I love him so much that I did a book on him. I got a hold of his
daughter, and we wrote the book together.

VIBE: Is there anything that you would like to say to VIBE readers?
MJ: I love Quincy Jones. I really do. And also, I want to tell the readers not to judge a
person by what they hear, or even what they read, unless they hear it from the person
himself. There is so much tabloid sensationalism. Don't fall prey to it, it's ugly. I'd like
to take all he tabloids and burn them. I want you to print that! Some of them try to
diguise themselves, but they are still the tabloids.
VIBE: Finally, how do you channel your creativity?
MJ: I don't force it, I let nature take its course. I don't sit at the piano and think, I'm
going to write the greatest song of all time. It doesn't happen. It has to be given to
you. I believe it's already up there before you are born, and then it drops right into
your lap. It's the most spiritual thing in the world. When it comes, it comes with all
the accompaniments, the strings, the bass, the drums, the lyrics, and you're just the
medium through which it comes, the channel. Sometimes I feel guilty putting my
name on songs - "written by Michael Jackson - because it's as if the heavens have
done it already. Like Michelangelo would have this huge piece of marble from the
quaries of Italy, and he'd say, "Inside is a sleeping form." He takes a hammer and
chisel, and he's just freeing it. It's already in there. It's already there.