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    Remembering the times

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    Remembering the times

    Писане by andeli on Вто Юли 20, 2010 12:17 pm

    Those who worked with the icon share their memories of Michael
    By // Miki Turner

    Four people who worked with Michael Jackson, on stage and behind-the-scenes, answer some questions and share their thoughts on the man and his legacy:


    MICHAEL BEARDEN, Musical director, 'This is It' tour



    Q/ Can you describe what it was like meeting Mike for the first time?

    A/ I actually met MJ back in 1993 in Mexico while I was working for Madonna. The first time I met MJ in a professional capacity was in 2001. I worked with him, his brothers and all the artists for the 30th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He was not at all what I thought he would be. Michael was easy to talk to, engaging and not as shy as I had heard. His brothers were around, so maybe he was in his comfort zone. I found him to be extremely professional and very detailed oriented. Michael knew what he wanted and how to get it, his talent speaks for itself.

    Fast forward to 2009:

    When I found out I was on the short list of music director hopefuls for MJ's tour, surprisingly I was somewhat reluctant. I had been the music director for so many big stars in my career and wanted to pursue other musical endeavors closer to home. However, when it's Michael Jackson calling you have to at least explore the possibilities. First I met with the “This Is It” director Kenny Ortega; we had a great meeting and he invited me back down that evening to meet with MJ. I asked that there be keyboards in the room when MJ and I met. When they finally brought MJ in to see me I was already playing around on the keyboard, he walked in smiling broadly with pep in his step. Instantly, he started dancing and swaying to me playing his song "Working Day and Night." We hugged and began talking about what he was looking for and I told him what I was looking for. I interrupted him several times to have him sing songs as I played them, to his credit he did, and we had a great bond immediately. We did a concert for about a half hour just me and him. LOL. As I was leaving I asked him for the set list and he just laughed. They were looking at a few more guys after me. he said God bless you and I left the room. I wasn't even home good before I got the call to be his musical director. My life was about to be transformed forever.

    Q/ What do you think people would be most surprised to know about him?

    A/ I think most people would be surprised to know that MJ was very well read and very much into current events. He knew what was going on in the world and could speak in depth about various topics of the day. I think because he was a prisoner of his fame, people thought he was a recluse and I’m sure he was to a certain extent. However, I’ve actually seen him get out of his car to hug fans after rehearsal and take photos and sign autographs with great openness and appreciation. Although he had a lot of security around him everywhere he went, he loved people and he loved life.
    Another thing I think the fans would be surprised to know about MJ is that his trademark soft voice could actually go pretty low. He shocked me one day in rehearsal as he was testing his microphone. He was speaking in this very low, southern twang accent... I didn't see him doing it at first and thought one of my singers was goofing around. When I looked up from the keyboard I saw it was MJ. He cracked up when he saw me because I looked so shocked.

    Q/ It's been a year since his death, is it still so surreal to you? Why?

    A/ MJ's passing is still very surreal to me because I, like many people around the world, grew up with Michael Jackson. I never even thought of being in the world without MJ. He’s like a part of daily life like air and water. I was with him so much during the preparation of “This Is It” tour. We spent many, many hours working on giving the world the best show imaginable. When it all stopped I jumped right into the memorial and then directly into making the film with Kenny Ortega and Travis Payne. After that, I went directly into my current job as musical director for George Lopez's late night talk show "Lopez Tonight." I've never really had the proper time to deal with it. It's still very difficult for me to listen to certain MJ songs. I'm not sure when or if I’ll get back to the way I was before he passed. I just embrace the love and celebrate the time I did have with him.

    Q/ You were with him the night before he died. What were your thoughts as he left the building?

    A/ I was actually the last one from the company to see MJ as we left rehearsal. I will never forget my last moments with MJ. I was with him most of the day going over many different elements of the show with him and Kenny. Travis was busy working with the dancers and tech people. He had a little light dinner as we looked at the video elements that were being prepared for the show. The meeting was serious as all of the money people were there and MJ was giving his final approval on everything. He still found time to be silly while all of this was happening. He leaned over to me at one point and whispered in my ear, "who's your favorite 3 stooges?" I was cracking up because we were supposed to be concentrating on the business. I told him as he was talking to the people about the video and then he would lean over and whisper, "yeah, I like him too but my favorite is...".LOL...that was MJ.

    After that meeting we hit the stage. It was late. We worked until 11:30 or so, maybe a little later. MJ was amazing that night! He had full command of the stage and he seemed to be able to will his feet to do whatever he wanted. At one point he looked back at me as if to say yeah, I'm Michael freakin' Jackson! I got this! We're about to take the people on a journey they've never been on before. I'm back!

    As I was leaving Staples Center that evening, I had to wait for MJ before I could leave as his car and security team was blocking my car. I was extremely tired but I had to wait for the boss. When he arrived to get into the car I teased him about blocking me in. He laughed and hugged me. He said he felt great tonight. I told him he looked great and sounded great, too. He said God bless you as he often did and smiled that MJ smile. I asked what time he was coming in and he said around 2:00 with Travis. I told him have a good night and we shook hands as he told me he loved me. I replied the same way and said see you tomorrow. Although I never saw him again physically he's been with me every day of my life since then and will be until we meet again.

    Q/ Do you think this would have really been his last tour?

    A/ Yes! It would have been his last tour for sure, however, that didn't mean it was going to be over after our 2 year run at the O2 in London. He was starting to feel really good on the stage and having a great time performing. One day he expressed to me that he thought he might want to extend the tour 3 to 5 years. Maybe pick up and start over in another country. He did say he didn't want to go too much longer than that. He would have been 55 at the end of 'This Is It' if it all went well.

    Q/ What impact has his death had on you and the way you live your own life?

    A/ MJ's passing has transformed me forever. Moreover, his living had already changed me considerably. What could have been deemed corny by some who weren't as open as MJ, his constant talk of service and philanthropy and love for fellow man had a big major impact on the way I live my life today. I've embraced more of a service oriented focus in the way I approach my art. Everything I’m involved in now has to have a social redemptive value to it. He had many talks with me about humility and gratitude and I feel as if I’ve been validated by one of the greatest if not the greatest entertainer of my lifetime. There is something to be said for choosing to live your life by embracing love and making all of your daily choices in that light. It's been a very powerful awakening for me.

    Q/ What's your funniest memory of Mike?

    A/ Besides the "three stooges" moment and the low country voice I mentioned earlier, one of the funniest moments I’ve had with MJ, and there were many as he was very silly, was when he and I had a conversation about grits... lol... Here we are in his room at rehearsal talking over business and we get sidetracked into a back and forth about grits. What to put on them, where to get the best, and what city has the best, etc. His youngest son Blanket was looking at me and MJ like we were crazy. MJ tried to explain to him what they were. He just dissed both of us and went back to his spider man action figure. MJ and I had a good time that day.

    Q/ How do you think he'd like to be remembered?

    A/ It's always difficult to answer these types of questions because one is forced to guess what's in a person’s mind and spirit. However, I can say with almost 100% certainty that it would have something to do with saving the planet. Healing the world and the part he played in helping to achieve that goal.

    Q/ How will you commemorate this anniversary?

    A/ I will not commemorate it at all. I was there with him almost every day during the last days of his life. I lived it. This is an anniversary that is with me every day since it happened. I will do what I do every day I’m blessed to be upright on the planet. I'll say what I’m grateful for that day, I'll try to make someone's day better, and I'll probably talk to MJ in my own way and tell him I love and miss him. that's pretty much what I do everyday anyway. It's all for L.O.V.E.

    JUDITH HILL, backup singer, 'This is It' tour



    Q/ Can you describe what it was like meeting Michael for the first time?

    A/ Meeting Michael for the first time was so exciting. I was overwhelmed that the King of Pop was standing in front of me. I’ve seen him as an icon growing up, so to see him in person was like meeting a superhero.

    Q/ What do you think people would be surprised to know about Michael?

    A/ Michael had a very strong, sweet scent. I don’t know what type of cologne he used, but you could smell it from far away.

    Q/ It’s been a year since his death, why do you think it’s still so surreal to a lot of people?

    A/ I can’t believe it’s been a year. It still feels like yesterday. And I feel like the event has colored my life differently. Nothing has been the same since. It was the most inspiring experience in my career and yet the most tragic. The emotional intensity has never let up.

    Q/ Do you think 'This is It' really would have been his last tour?

    A/ This may have been his last tour, but not his last time on stage. As years go by, I’m sure he’d want to do it again. He was so passionate and excited during rehearsals. I think Michael would always have an itch to perform. He was born for it.

    Q/ What impact has his death had on the way you live your own life?

    A/ After his death, I remembered his sweet heart the most. He inspired me to be a kinder, loving person. That’s how he treated his team, and that’s what he sang about.

    Q/ What is your funniest memory of Mike?

    A/ My funniest memory of Michael was when he laughed at me when I stuffed my crazy afro in the hood of my grim reaper costume for Thriller.

    Q/ How do you think Michael would like to be remembered?

    A/ I think Michael wants us to remember him for the message he stood for. He really believed in bringing people together and healing the planet. I think we should all work towards doing that. That is probably the best way to pay respects to him.

    Q/ How will you commemorate the anniversary of his passing?

    A/ This anniversary I will be in Tokyo honoring Michael for the premiere of a documentary that was put together about his life. At the premiere, I will be performing a duet song I wrote with the very talented AI, soul singer/reporter for the Michael Jackson documentary. The song we wrote, For My Sister talks about being there for your sister when she needs a helping hand. This song carries the same sentiment as You Are Not Alone. For me, these types of songs remind me of Michael the most.



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    Re: Remembering the times

    Писане by andeli on Вто Юли 20, 2010 12:23 pm

    DARLENE DONLOE, HIStory Tour Publicist



    Q/ Can you describe what it was like meeting Mike for the first time?

    A/ When I got the position as publicist for the HIStory Tour, I was told not to speak to Mr. Jackson until he first spoke to me. I had been on the tour for two weeks before I met him. I thought it was a bit strange considering I had to accompany him whenever he made personal appearances. Finally, I decided to step up and introduce myself to MJ. I figured the only thing they could do is send me home. So, one day, while we were in a record store, I walked up to Michael and introduced myself. I said, 'hi, I'm Darlene. I'm your publicist." He said, "hi. are you going to do the whole tour?" I said, 'yes, unless you know something I don't know.' We both chuckled. He became comfortable with me rather quickly. He soon started telling his fans he would sign their autographs only if it was OK with me. I found that amusing. I found out later that before I introduced myself he knew exactly who I was. He had asked several people, "who is the black girl?"

    Q/ What do you think people would be most surprised to know about him?

    A/ That he was pretty normal. He also has an incredible memory.

    Q/ It's been a year since his death, is it still so surreal to you? Why?

    A/ It's totally surreal. I still find it very hard to believe he's gone. It just doesn't feel right. There is an emptiness. It's hard to believe because he was such a big, vibrant talent and personality. Sometimes when I hear his music on the radio, I get sad. But, then I remember that he left us all an incredible amount of music that we can listen to for the rest of our lives. The world has lost someone very special.

    Q/ Do you really think this would have been his last tour?

    A/ No, I don't think 'This is It' would have been his last tour. Michael loved to perform. His fans would have persuaded him to do more tours and he would have obliged them.

    Q/ What impact has his death had on you and the way you live your own lives?

    A/ It may sound like a cliche, but his death is a reminder that we're all here but for a moment. Live life to the fullest. Dance like no one is watching. It's a reminder for us to do what we love and to live each day like it's our last.

    Q/ What's your funniest memory of Mike?

    A/ Michael was making an appearance outside of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia. We were standing backstage waiting for him to go on when I noticed his pants were unzipped. I looked at him and pretended to zip my own pants. He looked down, turned around, zipped up his pants and then turned back and looked at me. He then looked at my pants as if to say my zipper was also down. I looked down. My pants weren't unzipped. I looked at him. We both laughed. He liked to joke. He loved to laugh.

    Q/ How do you think he'd like to be remembered?

    A/ As the King of Pop. No one did it better.

    Q/ How will you commemorate this anniversary?

    A/ By remembering the man and his music.

    My favorite memory: Standing in the wings night after night watching Michael Jackson perform. He was something to watch. He was magical. He was brilliant!


    DORIAN HOLLEY, vocal director and backup singer



    Q/ Can you describe what it was like meeting Mike for the first time?

    A/ Meeting MJ for the first time was funny. I had been working all day, (not singing) and was told on the phone he wanted to meet the band, like, right now. No time to clean up. No time to dress up. I was across town, all the way on one end of L.A. He was on the other. So, I was pretty raggedy. I didn’t have no kind of vibe. Total goober. Not at all prepared to meet the King of Pop for the first time. Most of the band didn’t have good paying jobs so we looked like regular nerds. So, we meet him. Michael looks us up and down and you could see this look of worry. He had that "I don’t know" look in his eyes. In retrospect it was hilarious. Presentation is everything. First impressions and all that. But back then, I didn’t have a clue.

    Q/ What do you think people would be most surprised to know about him?

    A/ That he was all the way in charge. As sweet as he was, as gentle and kind as he was, Michael Jackson knew what he wanted. And, he knew how to get it.

    Q/ It's been a year since his death, is it still so surreal to you? Why?

    A/ It is still beyond belief. Some days I have to remind myself that he is gone. Not only do I not believe it. I don’t want to believe it. It's very difficult to accept. And some days it still hits hard.

    Q/ You were with him the night before he died. What were your thoughts as he left the building?

    A/ I was thinking we only had a few days left in Los Angeles before moving to London for three months.

    Q/ Do you really think this would have been his last tour?

    A/ Just as this tour would have been a tour like no other, I believe Michael would have figured out another way to bring people to him rather than the other way around. When you boil it down, we're entertainers. We've got to entertain folks. Ten years from now MJ wouldn’t be able to perform in the same way he has in the past. So, he would have figured something else out. He would have created something entirely new for his audience.

    Q/ What impact has his death had on you and the way you live your own life?

    A/ It is as if an earthquake hit me in the heart. I am devastated and it still hurts. People walk up to me and say they saw me in the film 'This is It,' and they are excited and happy for me. But, it makes me feel sad. It just reminds me that MJ is really gone. So, it kind of cuts. It's rough.

    Q/ What's your funniest memory of Mike?

    A/ During the show some nights, after a song ended I would walk by Michael, headed towards my spot on stage. I'd lean over and whisper to him his zipper was down — just a stupid, childish prank. He'd gasp and look down at his pants. He fell for it every time.

    Q/ How do you think he'd like to be remembered?

    A/ No two ways about it. Michael Jackson will be remembered as one of the greatest entertainers in the history of music.

    Q/ How will you commemorate this anniversary?

    A/ I will be in concert in Paris at the Zenith. It is an homage to MJ and his musical legacy. My friend, Jennifer Batten, guitarist from the Bad tour, will join me and we'll perform together for the first time in 20 years. My wife, Shawn Chapman Holley and youngest daughter Olivia will come along, and we'll remember Michael and all he left us. We'll celebrate his music. //


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    Re: Remembering the times

    Писане by Tes on Вто Юли 20, 2010 6:17 pm

    /Darlene Donloe/
    Въпрос: Кой е най-забавният ти спомен с Майкъл?
    Отговор: Майкъл се беше явил отвън на оперния театър в Сидни, Австралия. Ние стояхме зад сцената, чакайки го да продължи, когато забелязах, че ципа на панталоните му е разкопчан. Погледнах го и се направих, че закопчавам ципа на моите панталони. Той погледна надолу, обърна се, закопча панталоните си и тогава се обърна и ме погледна. След това погледна моите панталони все едно и моя цип е разкопчан. Погледнах надолу. Не беше разкопчан. Погледнах го. И двамата се засмяхме. Обичаше да се шегува. Обичаше да се смее.
    ----------------
    /Dorian Holley/
    Въпрос: Кой е най-забавният ти спомен с Майкъл?
    Отговор: По време на шоу някои вечери, след като песента свърши отивах при Майкъл, насочвах се към моето място на сцената. Наведох се и му прошепнах, че ципът му е смъкнат – глупава, детинска шега. Той ахна и погледна надолу в панталоните си. Хващаше се всеки път.


    Very Happy това наистина си е забавнo Very Happy
    Hee-hee!!! :P

    Laughing


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    Re: Remembering the times

    Писане by smile on Вто Юли 20, 2010 6:58 pm

    Незнам как точно ще ви прозвучи, но това с разкопчаните ципове на Майкъл ми е любим момент!
    НАВСЯКЪДЕ!


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