Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Michael Jackson drama over new song continues

  After members of the Jackson family and fans claimed that the new Michael Jackson song, "Breaking News", was sung by an impersonator, it was only a matter of time before the singer's Estate addressed this controversial matter. Howard Weitzman, attorney for the Estate of Michael Jackson released the following statement:

Dear Fans

  As the Michael album was being put together, it was decided to bring Teddy Riley on board to work on several songs, including “Breaking News,” a song Michael recorded with Eddie Cascio and James Porte in late 2007 while living at the Cascio family home with his children. Riley produced and submitted “Breaking News” to Sony for inclusion on the album. At that time, no one ever mentioned that the vocals we heard on the Cascio songs, which were basically in demo format, might not be Michael. It was known, however, that the background vocals were a combination of Michael and James Porte.

  After the tracks were submitted to Sony, three of these Cascio songs were selected to be on the album, and “Breaking News” was one of the three. The day after the submission and selection of the album tracks, for the very first time, the authenticity of Michael’s vocals on the Cascio tracks was questioned.

  Because of these questions, I was immediately asked by co-Executors John Branca and John McClain to conduct an investigation regarding the authenticity of the lead vocals on the Cascio tracks.

  Six of Michael’s former producers and engineers who had worked with Michael over the past 30 years - Bruce Swedien, Matt Forger, Stewart Brawley, Michael Prince, Dr. Freeze and Teddy Riley - were all invited to a listening session to hear the raw vocals of the Cascio tracks in question. All of these persons listened to the a cappella versions of the vocals on the Cascio tracks being considered for inclusion on the album, so they could give an opinion as to whether or not the lead vocals were sung by Michael. They all confirmed that the vocal was definitely Michael.

  Michael’s musical director and piano player on many of his records over a 20-year period, Greg Phillinganes, played on a Cascio track being produced for the album, and said the voice was definitely Michael’s. Dorian Holley, who was Michael’s vocal director for his solo tours for 20 plus years (including the O2 Concert Tour) and is seen in the This Is It film, listened to the Cascio tracks and told me the lead vocal was Michael Jackson.

  These are all engineers, producers and musicians who worked on tours and/or in the studio with Michael when he was recording Bad, Thriller, Off The Wall, Dangerous, Invincible, HIStory and Blood On The Dance Floor, and they all reconfirmed their belief that the lead vocals were Michael’s voice on the Cascio tracks.

  The Estate then retained one of the best-known forensic musicologists in the nation to listen to the vocals without any instrumental accompaniment (“a cappella”), and to compare them with a cappella vocals from previous Michael songs. This expert performed waveform analysis, an objective scientific test used to determine audio authenticity, on the Cascio tracks, as well as previously released tracks with Michael’s voice, and reported that ALL of the lead vocals analyzed (which included Cascio tracks) were the voice of Michael Jackson.

  Sony Music conducted their own investigation by hiring yet a second well-respected forensic musicologist who also compared the a cappella lead vocals from Cascio tracks against previously released vocals of Michael's, and found that Michael’s voice was the on all sets of the raw vocals. The Cascio tracks were also played for two very prominent persons in the music industry who played crucial roles in Michael’s career. Both of these individuals believed that the lead vocals were Michael’s.

  Just to be absolutely certain, I also contacted Jason Malachi, a young singer who some persons had wrongfully alleged was a “soundalike” singer that was hired to sing on the Cascio tracks, and I confirmed that he had no involvement with this project whatsoever.

  Sony decided that, given the overwhelming objective evidence resulting from the exhaustive investigations outlined above, they wanted to release a record that included three of the Cascio-Porte tracks - because they believed, without reservation, that the lead vocal on all of those tracks were sung by Michael Jackson.

  Although there still seem to be concerns being expressed in some quarters about the authenticity of the lead vocals, notwithstanding the opinion of those who worked with Michael, and two independent forensic analysts, ultimately, Michael’s fans will be the judges of these songs, as they always are. We take all fan comments very seriously, and as I’d stated above, there is nothing more important to the Estate than Michael’s music, his legacy and his fans.

  Michael’s fans are extraordinary in their quest for accuracy and their passions to raise their voices in a search for truth! We join with them in our care and concern for Michael. We are continuing to follow up with those who have worked in the studio or on tours with Michael, and if any new information comes to light, we will keep you and the fans advised.



   However,  fans all around the world are still suspicious as to how much of Jackson's original vocals remain on the song released on Monday on the singer's website and, apparently, they are not the only ones. Music producer Rodney Jerkins who co-produced Jackson's last studio album, "Invincible", took his twitter acount to express his escepticism over the song saying "doesnt sound like him to me". Cory Rooney, another important executive producer who used to work for Sony, took his Facebook and voiced his concerns about the recent statement. You can read it below:

   I have read the statement from the MJ estate and I have to say that it's just more bullshit!!! I was in that room, and the majority of the people mentioned did NOT agree that It was MJ!!! Some felt it sounded like him but all agree that there was nothing there that was consistent with any MJ habits like finger snaps, headphone bleeding, foot stomping or just simple things like his voice asking for another take.

   Both dr. Freeze and Teddy Riley sat with Taryll Jackson and myself and stated that they felt what we felt. As for the specialists that were brought in, I don't think anyone from the actual Jackson family got any direct confirmation that made them feel any different then what they have felt all along. If anyone wants to here directly from the family please follow Taryll, TJ, or Taj Jackson on Twitter. There are to many non Jackson's involved in the estate!!!!!

  So there you have it! It seems that the controversy is far from over and it remains to be seen if the album will finally include "Breaking News" and the rest of the Cascio tracks. To me the situation is crystal clear: If Sony and the Estate really cared about the fans as much as they claim to, they should release the demo versions of these Cascio songs without any production whatosever, just the raw acapella version and let the fans decide if it is real or fake.

  As far as the rest of Michael's unreleased music is concerned, they should leave the songs as untouched as possible and only release the ones that were finished or almost finished by him. The tracks that were left unfinished can always be released as rare material for fans on special editions. However, Sony and the Estate only care about money and profiting from the fans, even if this means selling fake songs with impersonators under the name of the late Michael Jackson. After all it´s business, right? Isn't it a little suspicious that of all the songs they could have released to promote the new record, they decided to chose the most suspicious one?

 What is your point of view in all of this? Who do you believe? Let me know in the comments below!

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