posted by Juhcy
VIBE: How is it to be competing for sales with the likes of āN Sync and Britney Spears, children who were basically born at the height of your fame?
MJ: Itās a rarity. I had No. 1 records in 1969 and ā70, and still entered the charts in 2001 at No. 1. I donāt think any other artist has that range. Itās a great honor. Iām happy, I donāt know what else to say. Iām glad people accept what I do.
VIBE: What are your thoughts on the current state of R&B?
MJ: I donāt categorize music. Music is music. They changed the word R&B to rock nā roll. It was always been, from Fats Domino to Little Richard to Chuck Berry. How can we discriminate? Its what it is ā 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 donāt like the dancing that much. It looks like theyāre doing aerobics.
VIBE: How did you decide to feature Biggie Smalls on āUnbreakableā, off Invincible?
MJ: It wasnāt my idea, actually. It was Rodney Jerkinsās, one of the writer/producers working on the album. It was my idea to put a rap part on the song, and he said, āI know just the perfect on ā Biggie.ā He put it in, and it worked perfectly.
VIBE: Why did you choose Jay-Z for the remix of the first single, āYou Rock My Worldā?
MJ: Heās hip, the new thing, and heās with the kids today. They like his work. Heās tapped into the nerve of popular culture. It just made good sense.
VIBE: What was it like for you to appear at New Yorkās Hot 97 Summer Jam concert as Jay-Zās 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 ā the love, the love.
VIBE: Does it bother you to see people emulate you, such as Usher, Sisqo, Ginuwine, and even Destinyās Child?
MJ: I donāt 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. Itās a compliment.
*Thriller & Off The Wall*
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, itās so moving. They keep the promise.
VIBE: Do you feel thereās 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 thatās the sound. From Britney to āN Sync, theyāre all doing the R&B thing. Even Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees he always tells me [immitating a British accent], āMan, we do R&B.ā I say, Barry, I donāt categorize it, but itās great music. I understand where heās coming from. I love great music ā 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. Thatās the truth. Beacause Iām 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. Iām constantly trying things and testing things on them to see what works and what doesnāt. Children are always the best judges to monitor something. If you can get the kids, youāve got it. Thatās why Harry Potter is so successful ā itās a family-oriented movie. You canāt go wrong there. We want a wide demographic, and thatās why I try not to say things in my lyrics that offend parents. I donāt want to be like that. We werenāt raised to be like that. Mother and Joseph [Michael's father] wouldnāt 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 experience?
MJ: I donāt know how they would handle that. It would be tough. I really donāt know. Itās hard, since most of the children of celebrities end up becoming self-destructive because they canāt live up to the talent of the parent. People used to always say to Fred Astaire Jr., āCan you dance?ā And he couldnāt. He didnāt have any rhythm, but his father was this genius dancer. It doesnāt mean that it has to be passed on. I always tell my children, You donāt have to sing, you donāt have to dance. Be who you want to be, as long as youāre not hurting anybody. Thatās the main thing.
VIBE: Which artists ā past and present ā inspire you?
MJ: Stevie Wonder is a musical prophet. All of the early Motown. All the Beatles. Iām crazy about Sammy Davis Jr., Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill āBojanglesā Robinson ā 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 ā Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis. Real stylists. You hear one line, and you know who it is. Nat āKingā Cole, great stuff. Sam Cooke ā they are all ridiculous.
*30th anniversary special*
VIBE: How involved were you in selecting the artists to perform in your 30th anniversary special?
MJ: I wasnāt involved at all.
VIBE: How were you able to let go of something so big and so special?
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, letās 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 ā 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. Thereās a timer, and whoever gets the most points is the winner. If Iām going to do some kind of sport, I have to laugh. I donāt do anything like basketball or golf. Basketball is very competitive, and so is tennis; they make you angry. Iām 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 youād like to see in your lifetime?
MJ: I would like to see an international childrenās holiday to honor our children, because the family bond has been broken. Thereās a Motherās Day, and thereās a Fatherās Day, but thereās no childrenās 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: Itās always been fun. Unless I get physically sick, itās 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?
*Films & Movies*
MJ: Thank you, thank you. I have a deep love for film and I want to pioneer and innovate in the medium of film ā 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 Iām onstage, Iām fine there. But you can have a house full of people and still be lonely from within. Iām not complaining, because I think itās a good thing for my work.
*The Song Speechless*
VIBE: Tell me about the inspiration for āSpeechlessā. Itās very loving.
MJ: Youāll be surprised. I was with these kids in Germany, and we had a big water-balloon fight ā Iām serious ā and I was so happy after the fight that I ran upstairs in their house and wrote āSpeechlessā. Fun inspires me. I hate to say that, because itās such a romantic song. But it was the fight that did it. I was happy, and I wrote it in itās 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. Donāt fall prey to it, itās ugly. Iād 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 donāt force it, I let nature take its course. I donāt sit at the piano and think, Iām going to write the greatest song of all time. It doesnāt happen. It has to be given to you. I believe itās already up there before you are born, and then it drops right into your lap. Itās 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 youāre just the medium through which it comes, the channel. Sometimes I feel guilty putting my name on songs ā āwritten by Michael Jackson ā because itās as if the heavens have done it already. Like Michelangelo would have this huge piece of marble from the quaries of Italy, and heād say, āInside is a sleeping form.ā He takes a hammer and chisel, and heās just freeing it. Itās already in there. Itās already there.