Here are some of Michael's Interviews and Speeches including the ones from TV Guide and Beliefnet and his recent Online Audio Chat.

        01. Vibe Interview 2002
        02. USA Today Interview 2001
        03. Online Audio Chat 2001
        04. The Man In The Mirror - TV Guide 2001
        05. My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom 2000
        06. MTV Interview 1999
        07. TV Guide Interview 1999
        08. Grammy Legend Award Acceptance Speech 1993
        09. Talking About His Songs

Vibe Interview (2002)


Regina Jones interviewing Michael Jackson for the Vibe magazine.

She said she met Michael when she was 33 at the Diana Ross special. She wrote for "Soul"--and had kept in touch with the family as a regular guest until their magazine was canceled.

Michael's Neverland Valley Ranch is 2,700 acres. Jones said she was greeted by some of the 70-odd members of Michael's 'exceedingly' friendly staff. They help the King of Pop maintain the complex and welcomes busloads of vistors each year, mostly kids with terminal illness. Michael is dressed in black slacks, white socks, black loafers (tehe) and a soft yellow shirt who greets Jones with a warm hello and a big hug. He politely excuses himself so he can talk to his son Prince, 5, and Paris, 3 who had just returned from a long walk; they were chattering excitedly about their day.

While Michael went to spend time with his babies, Jones took a look around the ranch before it got dark out. She discovers the amusement park, playground, train station, arcade, zoo, pool, Jacuzzi, bumper-car tent, and various areas where animals roam free. The animals included: cheetah, a pony, a parrot, several deers, and a llama (where's the monkey?!?).

Michael is ready to talk 45 minutes later. Jones shows Michael old photos she took during her SOUL magazine times. He looks through them and laughs. He reminds her if she really remembers the interivew (Back then, he wouldn't talk to her directly. He made her talk to Janet who would repeat everything to Michael--then Michael would tell Janet what to tell Jones--this is because he refused to talk to any reporters at that time.) This is what he said about it, "I felt afraid. I felt that if my sister was there, the person would go easier on me." Often animated, Michael goes from a whisper to a raucous laughter in a split second. The only matter he refused to talk about is his plastic surgery. He quoted, "That's a stupid question, that's one reason that I didn't do interviews for years." Jones even asked about his financial health, and he brushed that subject off also by saying, "I'm taken care of fine." Of course he is, he owns half of Sony/ATV Publishing. Everytime someone performs one of the songs from the 'ATV Book' he gets half the money.

At 43, Michael is back with Invincible and it was number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. His Madison Square Garden was also CBS's highest-rated music special of all time. Jones addes that no matter what changed in Michael's life--he remains 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 '69 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 of the current R&B state?
MJ: I don't categorize music. Music is music. They changed the word R&B to rock 'n' roll. It's always been , from Fats Domino to Little Richard to Chuck Berry. How can we discriminate? It is 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. (lol)

VIBE: How did you decide to feature Biggie Smalls on "Unbreakable," off Invincible?
MJ: It wasn't my idea, actually. It was Rodney Jerkin's, one of the writer/producers working on the album. It was my idea to put a rap on the song, and he said, "I know the perfect one--Biggie." He put it in, and it worked perfectly.

VIBE: Why did you choose Jay-Z for the remix of the first single, "YRMW"?
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 the NY'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. 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 arrognant, but yes. Because I know great material when I hear it, and melodically and sonically and musically, it's so moving. They keep the promise.

VIBE: Do you feel there's 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 the fact that's the sound. From Britney to N'Sync, they're all doing all the R&B thing. Even Barry Gibb of the BeeGees, he tells me (imitating 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. Because I'm this big kid, and now I get to see the world through the eyes of really young ones. I learn more from them than they learn from me. I'm constantly trying new things and testing things on them to see what works and what doesn't. Children are always the best judges to monitor something. 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 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 do you feel about your children becoming pop icons, based upon your experience?
MJ: I don't know how they would handle that. It would be tough. I really don't know. It's hard, most children of celebrities end up becoming self-destructive because they can't live up to the talent of the parent. People always say that Fred Astaire Jr., "Can you dance?" And he couldn't. He didn't have any rhythm, but his father was a 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-the 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., and Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bill "Bonjanles" Robinson- the real entertainer, the real thing, not just gimmicks, showstoppers. When James Brown was the Famous Flames, it was unbelievable. There are so many wonderful singers-Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand, Johnny Mathis. Real stylists. You hear one line, and you know who it is. Nat "King" Cole, great stuff. Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke-they are all ridiculous. (eh? Did Mike really say that?!?)

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 the Madison Square Garden on Sept. 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 all 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, Elizabeth Taylor was at another hotel. 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 amusement parks, hang 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 love 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. 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 for scripts?
MJ: Yes, but nothing has been finished 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 water balloon 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 its 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 having 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 b y what they hear, or even what they read, unless they heard 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 the tabloids and burn them. I want you to print that! Some of them try to disguise 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 had to be given to you. I believe it's already up there before you are born, and then it drops 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,a nd you're just the medium through which it comes, the channel. Sometimes I feel guilty putting my names on songs-"written by MJ"-because it's as if the heavens have done it already. Like Michaelangelo would have this huge piece of marble from the quarries 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 there. It's already there.


Michael In The Mirror (USA Today 2001)

In December 2001 USA Today did an interview with Michael Jackson. Here are the questions posed by them and Michael's intelligent replies.

Q: How do you respond to inaccurate articles about you?

Michael Jackson: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 nervous?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 perform?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 process?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 status?

MJ: It's not finished. We're adding artists, and I'm getting myself satisfied with the instrumentation.

Q: Is it your belief that music is a tool for healing?

MJ: 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 shadow?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 dancing?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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: "You're 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 worry.

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?

MJ: I hate exercise. I hate it so much. The only think 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 any of the other superstars on the bill?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 collaborator?

MJ: 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?

MJ: 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 purused by mobs of fans. Are you ever scared for your own safety?

MJ: 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 or much older ones. What connects you to people like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor?

MJ: 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 Brando.

Q: What happened to your plans to build theme parks in Europe and Africa?

MJ: We're still working on a couple 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 family.


Online Audio Chat

Michael Jackson answered questions from fans during a live Online Audio Chat that took place on Friday, October 26 2001 at 7:00 PM ET. The one hour chat, presented by and, was hosted by music writer/critic Anthony DeCurtis. Fans had an opportunity to ask questions during the live chat, with DeCurtis posing fans' questions, as well as his own. Michael was very relaxed, open, thoughtful, and funny during the interview, often taking time to answer questions at length to explain or emphasize points.

Anthony: Hello Ladies and Gentleman, this is Anthony DeCurtis. You're on and we're here tonight for a very special event. The King of Pop, one of the greatest artists in the history of popular music, Michael Jackson, is going to be joining us. He has a new record coming out on Oct. 30, it's called Invisible [interviewer's error]. You can check it out at, you can preorder it at

Anthony: Michael, it's a pleasure to talk to you, man.

Michael: Pleasure to talk with you.

Anthony: Tell us a little bit about the new album. It's your first new record in 6 years. Uh, do you still get exited when you have something come out? Obviously you've accomplished so much over the years. You know, do you still feel that, like, "Wow, I wonder what people are gonna think" or, you know, feel all of that kind of anticipation.

Michael: I kinda parallel it to a, uh, you know... It's like the gestation process of, uh, birth. You know, it's a... You know, it's like having children, and having to raise them and bring them out into the world, and once they get into the world they're on their own. So, it's, it's, very exciting. I mean, you never get too used to it, ever. It's, uh, an incredible process. But you leave it in the hands of God, like you do when you're having a child.

Anthony: Absolutely. We've got questions already beginning to pour in from your fans on the Internet. We've got Electric Eyes, male, writing in. Says, "Michael, you are, in my mind, the greatest artist of all time. The true King of pop, rock, and soul." And he wants to know, "What is your favorite song on the new album?"

Michael: My favorite song on the new album. Can I pick two?

Anthony: Uh, yeah, I think you can do that. You can pretty much do whatever you like.

Michael: Uh, it would probably be Unbreakable... I'll pick three. Unbreakable, Speechless, and The Lost Children.

Anthony: Tell us about a couple of those tracks. You know, what was it like work... I mean, were there special guests, or were you working with new producers, or how you wrote them. You know, something that gives us some flavor.

Michael: Well, the songwriting process is something very difficult to explain because it's very spiritual. It's, ah... You really have it in the hands of God, and it's as if its been written already -- that's the real truth. As if its been written in its entirety before were born and you're just really the source through which the songs come. Really. Because there is... they just fall right into your lap in its entirety. You don't have to do much thinking about it. And I feel guilty having to put my name, sometimes, on the songs that I -- I do write them -- I compose them, I write them, I do the scoring, I do the lyrics, I do the melodies but still, it's a... It's a work of God.

Anthony: Samantha from Canada just sent us in a question. She would like to know, "How would you describe the sound on Invincible and have you incorporated any other genres into the album?"

Michael: Well, the sound is ... Sonically, we always try to make sure we have, you know, pristine, detailed, uh, you know, the best sound, the best engineers, the best technicians available. And of course, I tried to make the album a potpourri of just wonderful melodies of any style. Because I don't believe in stylizing or branding any type of music. I think a great artist should be able to just create any style, any form, any... any thing from rock to pop to folk to gospel to spiritual to just, just wonderful music where every, uh, anybody can sing it, from the Irish farmer to a lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem. If you can whistle it and hum it, that's the most important thing.

Anthony: Now, when you're working do you find, are you in a mode where you like to listen to a lot of other music, or you're listening to the radio and maybe picking up people's CDs. Or when you're working do you like to just kinda shut it all out and concentrate, you know, intently on what you're doing?

Michael: I pretty much... I always know what's going on, on the radio and in clubs, that people are listening to. Even though people think I live at Neverland -- mentally I'm in Never Never land all the time -- I'm always connected. I always know what's going on in the music world, all the time. Not just in America but Internationally. You know, all over the world. And uh, when I'm working though, I don't... I'm not in... I don't think I'm influenced by a lot of the music today. Uh, I pretty much create what I think is in my heart. Very original. I try to be as original as possible. I don't say, 'OK, I'm gonna make this a great R&B song, a great pop... I just want to make a great song.

Anthony: Like the song takes it's own form.

Michael: Yeah. Yes.

Anthony: Well, uh, Amber here on the Internet offers you lots of love and wonders if, um, it was fun for you to make the rock... the You Rock My World video.

Michael: Yes, that was a lot of fun. Uh, it was... We stayed up all night, which was very hard [giggling]. We, uh, it was fun hearing it blasted on the set on really good speakers. That's one of my favorite things, hearing the music really loud. 'Cause I like to play music loud. I mean, it's, uh... If you play something over the Internet or small speakers, it doesn't have the same punch. That's why you have to buy it. You have to buy that CD to really hear that punch. It makes a huge difference. Huge difference. There's no comparison. Buying the CD is the best thing. There's no comparison. [Interruption from host]... You can't hear all those sounds if you do it on a smaller system.

Anthony: And when you're, uh... So when you're out on the video set, uh, you're able to just kinda crank it up as loud as you want?

Michael: As loud as I want.

Anthony: Very good [laughing]. Well, we have Michael Mathew from Canada. He says, "I just saw Ghosts on MTV. As always, you are awesome, Michael. Do you have any plans of releasing it as a DVD in America?"

Michael: Yes, it will be released as a DVD in America in it's entirety, and some of the making of Ghosts. And that was one of my most favorite things I've ever done because it's been a dream of mine for a long time to do something like, you know, scary but comical at the same time, and, uh, it's all the elements, just fun. 'Cause I don't want to scare people to the point where they're afraid to go to sleep. I want it to have a little twist of humor. And within the laugher there is a tear, you know? It's fun, you know. These ghosts, they weren't really scary, they were fun. They walked up the ceilings. Little kids were laughing at them. They were fun. You know, we don't want to horrify them. But we gave this fat man, this Mayor, his justice, for coming into my house, which was private property, judging me. You know.

Anthony: Absolutely. We have Cloudlee2000 who writes in and wonders, "Why did you name the album Invincible?"

Michael: Well, invincible is something of... I think it's a proper name. It's one of the cuts on the album and I've been an artist.. uh, not to pat myself on the back but the Guinness Book of World Records just listed me, uh, another time, as the artist who's had the longest stretch career 'cause since I was a little, little kid to this point with still hit records from number one records, and uh, I'm so proud and honored that I've been chosen from the Heavens, or whatever it is, to be Invincible, and to just continue to grow and to be, you know... serve the people. It serves the people with wonderful entertainment.

Anthony: Now, one of the, you know, the kind of conventional wisdom in the music industry is, you know, audiences don't really have an attention span any more, you know. If an artist stays away for too long the audience wanders off and goes somewhere else. Was that a concern of yours with coming out with a record and taking a while to work on Invincible or do you, uh, are you convinced your fan base is still there and will be as strong as ever?

Michael: I'm, I'm ... No, the answer to your question is that has never concerned me once and I've never thought of it. Because I've always known if music is truly great or if a movie is truly great, people want to see it or hear it. No matter where you, how long you've been away, or whatever the situation is. You know, greatness is greatness and if you really do a great job on what you're doing, people want to hear it. Or they want to see it. You know, it doesn't matter, It really doesn't. Long as you're an innovator and a pioneer, you know. And that's the most important thing. Give them what they want to hear.

Anthony: Now Slimslady420 U.S. sends in a question and wonders "which song on the Invincible album do you think you personally relate to the most?"

Michael: Ummm, Unbreakable.

Anthony: Talk a bit about that track. Now you mentioned it a couple of times, I'm getting really curious about it. Could you... What could you tell us about it?

Michael: 'Cause, uh, I' m one of the few people, probably in show business, that have been through the ins and outs, you know, of so many different things. Um, I've been through hell and back. I have, to be honest, and uh, and still I'm able to do what I do and nothing can stop me. No one can stop me, no matter what. I stop when I'm ready to stop. You know, and uh, I'm just saying, you know, I will continue to move forward no matter what.

Anthony: Now we have Warful writes in, "Are you working or planning to do any more short films for Invincible, specifically for the really fast tracks such as 2000 Watts, Heartbreaker, Unbreakable, and Invincible?"

Michael: Absolutely, and she said... Whoever said that said the right word when they said said "short films." And uh, that's what we try to make them, short films: a beginning and middle and a ending of a story. Uh, to take the medium to a new level but absolutely. There's like a an array of, an encyclopedia of just great short films to make from the album. It's very exciting. I can't wait to do Threatened. It's a kind of scary one with Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone. I can't wait to get my hands on that one.

Anthony: We have a question here from Nepolian3, says his name is George really, and it says, "Michael, I think this is your most cohesive and impressive album since Thriller. Or, really, Off The Wall. What are some of your most memorable moments while recording the tracks for this album?"

Michael: Most memorable moments were, it was... of all my albums I would say this one was the toughest. 'Cause I was hardest on myself. Uh, I wrote so many songs, I don't want to say the number, just to get to uh, how many are on there, 16? Just to get to the 16 that I think are acceptable. And, um, it's the album where... I didn't have children before other albums, so I caught a lot of colds; I was sick a lot. Cause my children got [interruption from host]. So we had to stop and start again and stop and start and... constantly. But I enjoyed it very, very much.

Anthony: Now, when you describe yourself as being tough on yourself during the recording process. How does that, you know... what is the process that you go to. If you think something isn't quite what it ought to be or maybe you could do better or you know, maybe you want to move something in a new direction. You know, what is that like?

Michael: If I truly told you, I don't know if the fans would like me anymore [giggles]. I've had musicians who really get angry with me because I'll make them do something literally several hundred to a thousand times till it's what I want it to be. Um, but then afterwards, they call me back on the phone and they'll apologize and say, "you were absolutely right. I've never played better, I've done better work, I out-did myself," is what they'll say. And I say, "That's the way it should be because you've immortalized yourself. This is here forever. It's a time capsule." It's like Michelangelo's work. You know, it's like the Sistine Chapel, it's here forever. Everything we do should be that way, you know?

Anthony: To try to bring it to the best possible standard that it can be.

Michael: Absolutely.

Anthony: Now Sweetpea4286 wonders, "Are there any surprises on the new album?"

Michael: Any surprises? Boy. I think it is what it is, and you can interpret it the way you want to interpret it. Um, but uh, that's all I can say about that. Other than some ... we will be releasing some surprise CD singles at some point -- something like that, yeah. In the future, though. That's coming up.

Anthony: Very good. I wanted to ask you, just as... in performing... and recently you've done a couple of shows, you did a couple at Madison Square Garden and you did a show at RFK stadium, a benefit concert, and you know, obviously, you know, you.... live performance has been one of the things that has distinguished you throughout your career. You've been offstage for a while. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about what it was like to be out there again in front of an audience and, you know, getting that opportunity to perform again.

Michael: It was, um, it's hard to explain. It was quite exciting, to feel the audience and to see them and to be accepted so warmly by them. Um, it's just an incredible feeling. It really is. They're there to support you and to love you and to hear their favorite songs and you're just standing there and they're just giving you so much adulation and love and the sprit is just full of love, it's wonderful. It's very emotional. It, uh, brings me to tears. It's wonderful.

Anthony: I remember in your book you describe that like sometime on stage is when you feel the most alive, that those are the moments that, you know, really are the whole -- kind of the most transporting for you.

Michael: It is. It's being offstage that's difficult for me. Uh, being on stage ... either writing music or writing poetry, and being on stage, and watching cartoons are my favorite things to do in the entire world. Um, that's what brings me to life. I love that. That's what inspires me to do what I do, you know?

Anthony: Excellent. We have a question from someone calling themself The best dancer in the world. Well, we've got you on the line, I'm not sure that uh, we might have to contest that a little bit. But anyway, the best dancer in the world wants to know, " said that JayZ will appear with you on the new album. Is that true?"

Michael: No, but we are talking about doing something in the future together.

Anthony: Is JayZ an artist who's worked you've liked, is ah.. as a person, have you spent time with him? What's your impression of him?

Michael: I think he's excellent. He has incredible rhythms, counter-rhythms. And he's just one of the newer contemporary artists that the kids really love. He's really, really great.

Anthony: We have a question here from Sweden. Tony from Sweden writes in and says, "Hi Michael. You're the most amazing artist of all time. I just love your music. Do you want to tour, and will you do a world tour or a European tour?"

Michael: Um, gee, we haven't thought about it much right now, but uh, I don't want to say it's not in the works. Um, we're concentrating on a lot of different things right now. But I can't quite say.

Anthony: Fine. I wanted to ask...

Michael: You know what, in the near future I'm sure there'll be something that'll come up. In the near future.

Anthony: People should, ah, keep their eyes open for announcements on that front. We have a question from Noria, describes him or herself as a 32 year old Spanish fan, writing from Los Angeles, would like to know if you have any plans to release any of your songs in Invincible in Spanish or any other language besides English.

Michael: Uh, as of now we haven't but that would be a great thing to do. We haven't written that off. We think it's a big market, so that's a great possibility.

Anthony: Especially for someone like your self who has a big International following-- you know, for many people, their following is in England or in the US, but your following is very International obviously.

Michael: Thank you.

Anthony: Um, talk a bit... One of the things that was of kind of a little bit of a sensation this year was Alien Ant Farm's cover of Smooth Criminal. I wanted to see if you'd paid attention it, if you... Do you enjoy it, or how you felt about it.

Michael: I saw it and fell in love with it. I loved it. I said, I just gotta have this come out. So, they wanted my permission; I saw it and I approved it and gave it a triple A, and said "go right ahead."

Anthony: Fantastic. It must be interesting, as a songwriter, to have other people do your songs and come up with another interpretation. What is that like?

Michael: It's a great compliment. It's a wonderful compliment. It makes you feel worthy and that your music is reaching all the different generations. You know, and all the different, uh... I mean, everybody's out there listening and that makes me very happy.

Anthony: Now we have a question from Canada. Gary, who is 19, writes in, "What other artists did you collaborate with on Invincible?"

Michael: What other artists did I collaborate with on Invincible...

Anthony: Do you have any special guests.

Michael: Umm, oh yeah, Carlos Santana. He and I have done, like, a duet. He plays the guitar and I sing and it's something that, uh, we've written. And it's really, really a nice song.

Anthony: Now had you known him from over time or did you meet him recently?

Michael: I've met him before, but we've been talking a lot on the phone recently. After winning his Grammy award he said to the press that he would like to meet me and he's ready to work with me. So everybody's been telling me that, and uh, I called him up and he said he really would, it would be his dream come true. And he was the nicest man. He's so kind and so spiritual. I found him to be so humble, so I said to myself, "We have to make this work."

Anthony: And so you wrote a song together?

Michael: Well, there's a song that myself and two other people wrote and he was a part of it, and uh, Whatever Happens.

Anthony: Ok.. We have a question from Anicia. Says, "Michael are you a fan of Chris Tucker." Describes him being in your recent video.

Michael: I am a huge, huge fan Chris Tucker. He makes me laugh so hard. um, I uh, I've seen all of his films, and he's just a funny guy. I like people who can make you laugh without using vulgarity, or bad words. For the kids, they're for all different demographics, all the corners of the earth and he's just a funny guy.

Anthony: We have another question from Canada. Tony, who's 17 from Canada, writes and wonders, "How long does it take you to produce a song from the initial conception to the final recording?"

Michael: Well....

Anthony: [laughing] I guess it probably varies from...

Michael: Yeah, it does vary. And for me it's really different than most artists because I'll do a couple of songs, they'll be 5, 6, 7 or 8 or 10 of them; I'll throw them all away and start over. So, that's a difficult question to ask me.

Anthony: I wonder if... is there a specific song on the album -- say Invincible -- you know, how long... when... Do you remember getting the first inspiration for that song and then maybe the day when you finally said, "This is it, I've got it exactly the way I want it?"

Michael: On Invincible itself?

Anthony: umhum.

Michael: Ummm, yes. Yes. I remember having the guys go back in and create more innovative... 'Cause we don't... um, this is our thing, we don't, uh, a lot of sounds on the album that aren't sounds from keyboards, uh, that are, you know, pretty much programmed into the machines. We go out and make our own sounds. We hit on things, we beat on things, so nobody can duplicate what we do. We make them with our own hands, we find things and we create things. And uh, that's the most important thing, to be a pioneer. To be an innovator.

Anthony: Absoluteluy. Now we have Vernay who writes to us from Newark, Delaware, the good ole USA, and Vernay says, "I'm so pleased with the new album but I was particularly touched by Speechless. What was your inspiration for this song?"

Michael: Speechless was inspired to me by, um, I spend a lot of time in the forest. I like to go into the forest and I like to climb trees. My favorite thing is to climb trees, go all the way up to the top of a tree and I look down on the branches. Whenever I do that it inspires me for music. There are these two sweet little kids, a girl and a boy, and they're so innocent; they're the quintessential form of innocence, and just being in their presence I felt completely speechless, 'cause I felt I was looking in the face of God whenever I saw them. They inspired me to write Speechless.

Anthony: Well, that answer actually might touch on this next question which we have, which wonders, "Where do you look for inspiration when you write your songs. Does inspiration come from a variety of different places?

Michael: Well, the best songs that are written write themselves. You don't ask for them, they just drop into your lap. Then there are those songs that, you know, you kind of uh, incubate. You know, you plant the seed, let the subconscious take its course, and within time you hope something comes, and most the time it does. I don't believe in the concept of writer's block -- that is a bad word. You create it when you say it. There's no such thing. Um, like any painter or sculptor, they paint... they do their best work when they're in the 60s and their 70s. Fred Astaire did his best dancing when he was in his 70s. Angelo [Michelangelo] sculpted late into his 60s and 70s, doing brilliant ingenious work. But in the music business some of these great artists have become stumped because they self-abuse themselves at a young age, with all these crazy things they drink and pills and things, and uh, that's just not good -- just not a good thing. I hate to say that to hurt anybody, but we should take care of our bodies a little more.

Anthony: Naw, I think a lot of people have realized they've damaged themselves. You know, many people have talked about it in recent years, you know.

Michael: Yeah.

Anthony: We have a question from Allen here who asks if you think that Rodney Jerkins and you have created a new sound for 2001.

Michael: For the song 2000 Watts?

Anthony: He says, "Do you feel that you and Rodney Jerkins, of course the producer, have created a new sound for 2001?"

Michael: 2001?

Anthony: Yes

Michael: Oh. Um, that would be a nice thought, yes.

Anthony: What was it like working with him. How did you guys meet and, you know, how did your collaboration go?

Michael: He was this guy who went around Hollywood and around the industry saying his dream was to work with me to everybody. Then at Carol Bayer Sager's house, who's this great song writer; won several academy awards for her songwriting, said, "There's a guy I used to work with. His name is Rodney Jerkins, he's been crying to me begging to meet you. I mean, why don't you pick up the phone and say 'hi' to him." And he came over that day and he said, "Please, my dream is to work with you. Will you give me two weeks and I'll see what I can come up with." And uh, we ended up working together.

Anthony: And what were your impressions of him, like as just somebody... What did he bring; what did you feel that his contribution was?

Michael: His contribution was he loves to create in the same kind of way that I like to create. But I pushed Rodney. And pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed him to create... uh, to innovate more. To pioneer more. He's a real musician. He's a real musician and he's very dedicated and he's real loyal. He has perseverance. I don't think I've seen perseverance like his in anyone. Because you can push him and push him and he doesn't get angry. Yeah, I think he's a great guy, he really is.

Anthony: That is a great compliment.

Michael: And um, and Teddy Riely is just incredible. He's innovative too. I love working with him.

Anthony: And you had worked with him in the past, of course.

Michael: Yeah, he's one of my favorite... as a human being, he's one of my favorite people in the world. He's just a really sweet, kind guy. You know. And Rodney's very funny. You laugh all day when you're with him. He turns his music up in the studio and he starts dancing around the room. He's fun.

Anthony: We'd like to remind everyone, you're on Getmusic. We're here talking with Michael Jackson, whose new album Invincible is out on Oct. 30th. You can check it out at You can preorder it on Getmusic.

Now we have a question from ItsJackson who is really named Rachel from Connecticut, wonders "Do you have any new dance moves that you've invented while you were making your album?"

Michael: For the first time working on any album, I put a halt to dancing. Because I was just so engrossed and so infatuated with what I was doing um, I did something that was very unusual. But once the music started playing, of course, I started to dance. But um, uh, it's starting to now create itself and, uh, with the music playing I'm coming up with some new things. But that's coming in the future with the newer short films. They'll be seeing... they'll be seeing all kinds of innovative things and movements that have never been seen before. We'll go places where we've never gone in dance before. Cause all the hiphop things that are happening now are beginning to look like aerobics, it's kinda getting annoying.

Anthony: [laughs] We have a question from Simon who, you know, you've obviously mentioned you know, all the people who have wanted to work with you. He wonders, "Michael who wold you love to do a duet with, past or present?"

Michael: Uh, if it's past, it'd be somebody like, uh, I would say Sarah Vaughn [*] or Nat King Cole. Present, I think, uh, Whitney Houston is brilliant and Barbara Striesand has a beautiful voice. You know, those kinds of artists, they're just wonderful.

Anthony: What's your impression of some of the artists who've come on the scene just in recent years, you know, people like Britney Speares and Christina Aguilara. You know, young pop stars who are obviously hugely popular. You know, obviously, Britney participated in your show at the Garden, You know, what was your sense about her?

Michael: I think they're a new breed that are coming out. They're doing a very good job. And what impressed me more about any of these artists, like Speares and Christina, they're so determined. I've heard about the way they work. They'll work on a dance step, I mean, like, for months, and, uh.. to get it right, you know. Uh, they're just so determined. And I've met... I've met Britney several times and she was very sweet and humble. She came to my room. We quietly talked for couple hours, and she was just, uh, like a Barbie doll. She was very sweet, she was very kind.

Anthony: I imagine that someone like you would be a kind of interesting and important resource for her, you know. As someone who was a star when you were so young, and then when... I don't think people necessarily understand what a kind of strange reality that is, you know, within all the acclaim and the fame and the excitement, you know, to be a kid and have all that attention focused on you must be kind of scary also. Did you find it that way, uh, in your own experience?

Michael: Yeah, because where ever I go, um, I disguise myself, now -- but now I can't with, 'cause, you know, with what's going on in the world -- so I don't wear a disguise. And uh, people they just go... They really go crazy. They're very happy to see you. They feel as if they know you. You have to respond back to them like you know them. They feel they personally know you. My picture's on their walls, you know, my music is playing in their house, so they grab you and they hug you and they touch you and they... So I usually respond back with hugs and loves and kisses. Cause I love... I love... I truly love my fans. Truly, truly from the heart. That's the real truth. I love them. And the ones who are, um.... Like when we go to a certain country and they're outside, and outside they're sleeping on the street and I throw them pillows and cover and everything. And I have my security guards buy them pizza so they can all eat, and get the candles and, you know, we really take care of them. They're very, very, very sweet and supportive.

Anthony: Sam who is 20 years old and from Texas here in the US wonders, "Will you release Butterflies as a single? That's one of your best songs."

Michael: Butterflies is, uh, is a single that's released now. It's a single now. Tell him thank you very much.

Anthony: Great. What other plans do you have, you know, when you... As somebody who's been a kind of innovator in terms of making short films to accompany your songs, do you conceptualize all that ahead of time or, you know, do you decide, on a kinda step by step basis, you know, this is gonna be the next single and I want to make a, you know, a kind of visual statement to accompany it. You know, how does that all proceed?

Michael: All right, the short film itself?

Anthony: Yeah.

Michael: Well, I let the song pretty much speak to me and I get in a room and I pretty much start making notes... You know, I'll speak to a writer -- like Stephen King and myself, both of us wrote Ghosts, the short film Ghosts, and we just on the telephone started writing it and let it create itself and go where it wants to go. But we try to do things that are very unusual. And it's... it's not an easy thing to do because you have to time it with the song, and you can't spend too much time, and the special effects can take 5 months sometimes to execute. So, it's just .. .it's kinda difficult thing and the record company's saying, "Come on, come on, come on, we have to go, we have to go." So, I understand. So we try to do the best we can in the amount of time that we can execute it in.

Anthony: We have a question now, uh, Helen from Scotland says, "If you could only perform one of your songs for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?"

Michael: Ooh, it would probably be... if I could pick more than one, up to two or three?

Anthony: yeah, I think we can go that far.

Michael: Heal The World, Speechless, um, and that's a difficult one... I think, uh.. huh... ummm, You Are My Life.

Anthony: So, you went for the ones that are the... the kind of, uh, the biggest statements, in a way, it seems to me.

Michael: Yeah, because, uh, the point is that they're very melodic and if they have a great important message that's kinda immortal, that can relate to any time and space, you know.

Anthony: One of the things, actually, I wanted to ask you is, you know, we've had these, you know, horrible terrorist attacks here in New York City and in Washington, DC. What is the role that you feel, you know, artists can play in the wake of something like that. You know, I mean, you did that benefits show in Washington. You know, is there... In music and in... you know, can artists do something to help people get through what for many of us has been a very difficult time?

Michael: Yeah, you give of yourself. You give of your talent, of your ability... The talent that was given you by the Heavens. That's why we're here, to bring a sense of escapism in time of need. And, uh, if you're a painter you paint; if you're a sculptor, you sculpt; if you're a writer, you write; if you're a songwriter, you give songs; if you're a dancer, you give dance. You give people some love and some... some bliss and some escapism, and to show that you truly care from the heart, and be there for them. Not just from a distance, but show you really care. You know, take the long mile and be there for them. And that's what I did, and many others who cared and helped. And it's an important thing.

Anthony: We have a question now from Chili Boy who wonders, "I've always wanted to know, how do you come up with a dance move, and how long does it take for you to put the choreography for a song together?"

Michael: I pretty much just get in a room and I start to dance, and uh, I don't create the dance, the dance creates itself, really. You know, I'll do something and I'll look back... I'll look back on tape and I'll go, "Wow," I didn't realize I had done that. It came out of the drums. You become.... Dancing is about interpretation. You become.... You become the accompaniment of the music. So when you become the bass of Billie Jean, I couldn't help but do the step that I was doing when the song first starts, because, uh, that's what it told me to do. You know, if I turn around, spin, stop, move my legs to the side and then lift up the collar of my shirt, that's for that moment is an accompaniment.

Anthony: I remember watching that moment on television and just leaping out of my chair. It's so extraordinary.

Michael: Thank you very much.

Anthony: That was really one of the great, great moments.

Michael: It's all spontaneous movement. Nothing in that piece was, on, uh, Billie Jean, was planned but the Moonwalk. Everything else was just, you know, improvising, really.

Anthony: We have a question from SJ Chams who wonders, "Do you think you'll do another duet with Janet?"

Michael: I would love to! It depends on the song, the time. When she's in one corner of the Earth, I'm in another place. It's very rare that our ships pass in the night. So it's not easy to do 'cause we're both very busy. But that would be very nice. I love working with her. She's a true real professional and a wonderful sister.

Anthony: Excellent. Ah, we have Sheik 33 who wonders, "Who was your idol when you were a child?"

Michael: I always went nuts for.... I mean, I could be asleep... In Indiana, at like 5 years old, I'd be asleep and it'd be late at night, like 1 in the morning, some show on, I remember seeing my mother run to my room, "wake up , wake up! James Brown is on! James Brown is on!" Or "Sammy Davis Jr.'s playing" or "Fred Astaire! They got a good Fred Astaire movie on." "Gene Kelly's on right now!" And I'd sit there with my eyes just... I'd be awe-struck, just watching. So when videos came out, I had a collection. [giggles]

Anthony: Yeah, I understand that you have a, an extraordinary collection of a kind of old movies of all of the performers that you like and, oh, the music performances of the artists that you admire. You know, talk about some of those, and some of the stuff that you've got that you like to watch.

Michael: Well, I .. I like to, um, before I do anything, it could be any situation, I love studying the whole history of it before I take the first step to innovate. So, um, I love studying any Vaudevillian, you know, who came from that era, even though they didn't have T.V. Uh, but they, uh, they transcended into television later on. I love people like Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, I'm crazy about the 3 Stooges, uh, anything Walt Disney... And far as performers, uh, I love Anthony Newley, you know, like I said, Jackie Wilson, James Brown. So.. They're incredible! I mean, when James Brown was "James Brown and the Famous Flames" he was so incredible. I would watch him and cry. I'd be crying and watching. I've never seen a person perform like that, ever.

Anthony: You know, it must have been extraordinary for you, as a ... you know, when you were young and making records and getting to meet some of your idols, you know, that must have been such a powerful experience.

Michael: Oh, it wa... It truly was. And to have them tell me that they ... they thought I was incredible, and all my life I thought they were, like, the best. It was the best...I mean, it was the best compliment I could get, and no award could be given to me that could top that. You know. When Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, who I knew very well, or Frank Sinatra, told me I .. they think I'm amazing and I have an amazing career ahead of me.. As a child they would tell me this. 'Cause they were my neighbors. They lived by me. And uh, I felt very honored and happy to hear those kind of words from these legends.

Anthony: That must have been very encouraging.

Michael: Yes, very.

Anthony: Now we have Mhagrice who is actually Margaret from the Netherlands, a 26 year old woman, says, "Is it true that you'll star in Men In Black II, and will you record a soundtrack for that film?"

Michael: Uh, I don't think we're doing a soundtrack, but I did a .. a guest appearance, like a Cameo, for Men In Black, uh, 2, and we're expecting to do part 3 as well. And it was a lot of fun, and exciting. Um, and it's one of my favorite films of all time. Uh, I'm a big Men In Black fan. I love it very much.

Anthony: Well, weren't you .. Now, I understand you're also doing The Nightmare of Edgar Allen Poe. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Michael: Yes, that one's coming up. It's about the great prolific American writer, Edgar Allen Poe.

Anthony: Kind of a scary guy himself, too.

Michael: He's very diabolical, and very dark, and .. But he was a genius and it's... But his own personal life was very interesting, and that's what it's about, you know. How he was, you know... What he had to go through to create such ingenious work. It's a great story. But... and by the way, make sure the fans know, all tabloids should be out. Do not believe anything you read in a tabloid. It's garbage and it's junk. We should have a tabloid burning, like a big mountain -- just set it afire.

Anthony: You heard it first here from Michael Jackson.

Michael: Don't waste your time with it. It's stupid.

Anthony: Now we have Rapmaster JA writes in, who is actually Jason from Illinois. He says, "Michael, you are undoubtedly the greatest artist in the history of the world. How do you do the Moonwalk. It's the coolest move I've ever seen?"

Michael: Gee, it's hard to explain on the phone [interruption from host]. I love moves and dancing. I's like walking forward and backward at the same time, but not just walking, but as if you're on a conveyer belt. And it's, uh, it's hard to explain. If he was in the room with me, I could show him how to do it with my fingers, or with my feet, but. Maybe he could see at the end of the Jam video where I'm trying to show Michael Jordan how to do it. Only time I think I showed it.

Anthony: Now we have a Mark the Shark, uh, who asks, "How do you do that lean on the video to Smooth Criminal?"

Michael: Oh, Smooth Criminal***, well. That one happened ... it was in the middle of the shoot and it wasn't .. I choreographed it right at the moment. Took us an hour to execute it. It's a special effect that we kind of lean as far as we can and, uh, we let the conveyor belt do the rest.

Anthony: Now Glenn from Toronto Canada asks, "Do you feel a special spiritual energy when you're performing; do you feel you are connected to a higher force? Cause this is what you make many feel when they see you live?"

Michael: That's exactly what it is, you're connected to a higher source and you just go with the moment and you become one with, you know, the spirit. Not to sound religious or anything, but it's a very spiritual... very much like religion, and it's a God-given gift and you just go with it. And I'm honored to have been given it. And, uh, as fun to become one with the audience. It's a one-ness, you know?

Anthony: I was reminded of, ah, some of that when you were talking about the way you would work out your moves, you know, listening to ... just listening to the music and kind of disappearing into it. You know, it has like a really mystical feel.

Michael: Thank you.

Anthony: Now Charlie sends in a question and says, "What achievements in your life are you the most proud of?"

Michael: Boy, uh, one of my biggest dreams since I was really, really little... I think around 7 years old, I use to always buy the Guinness World Book of Records**. [Giggles] You know what the answer's gonna be right? I said, "Hmmm, I love to dance and sing. Hopefully one day I can be in this book." And I believed that it was possible. So when Thriller became the biggest selling album of all time, and it was enlisted in the Guinness Book Of World Records, and, uh, there's so many other lists... You know, they've enlisted me in there like 7 different times now. It was my happiest time of my life. I was so happy.

Anthony: To what do you attribute that level of ambition and possibility you felt when you were a kid. You know, I think it's sometimes hard for people to feel... You know, you weren't, obviously, rich as a kid or from some kind of fancy background, but still somehow you were able to envision a life of success. What do you attribute that to?

Michael: I attribute that to my parents who always taught us to persevere and believe in yourself, have confidence, no matter what you do. Even if you're sweeping floors or painting ceilings, do it better than anybody in the world, no matter what it is that you do. Be the best at it, and have a respect for others, and be proud of yourself.. and to honor; be honorable, you know.

Anthony: Absolutely. Now, you've been making records for a long time, you've been a force on the music scene for many years. What do you think are the biggest changes in music that you've seen?

Michael: Biggest changes?

Anthony: Yeah, what's changed about the music industry or about, you know, the music that's out there. What do you think is different?

Michael: Well, I think.. Ah, I don't think people thought the Rap music would last as long as it has. And it has gone through evolutional stages -- there's more melody in it now, it's more acceptable, because melody will never die. Will never die. And the rhythm-- things are a little more rhythmic now. Because people want to dance. It's part of the human condition; it's part of our biological makeup. Our cells dance when we hear beats. You notice a.. a one year old child will start moving hearing music. How do they know to move? 'Cause it's biological. It's not just hearing of the ear, it's feeling, you know. And playing music, the grass and the trees and the flowers... They're all influenced by music. They become more beautiful and more vibrant in how they grow. Music is a very important and powerful substance, and all the planets in the universe make music. It's called music of the spheres. They all make a different note; they make harmony. So there's harmony even in the universe as we speak.

Anthony: Now we have a question from Holland, uh, Femka from Holland writes, "I love the special editions from Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad and Dangerous." She loves you. And asks, "Why does Invincible... Why will Invincible be coming out in different colors?

Michael: Because we wanted the fans to have some fun with it and collect them and, uh... It's a, uh, a Limited Edition, I think. And, uh, there's albums that I love and I will buy them 5 times, even though I have the same cover. Like, 5 times 'cause I love that album so much. So, imagine if they did a different color or just changed the color, I would buy it 5 more times. We just wanted the fans to have some fun with the pictures and with the colors and... Just to try something a little different. That's why we did it.

Anthony: Now we have TJ who's 17 and from Australia, wants to tell you that, "You are still my hero," and says, "How do you explain your ability to inspire so many people all around the world?"

Michael: I just do what I do and I love doing it. And, uh, I love art. I love anything, any art. And, uh, if they're inspired by it, I feel I'm ... I pray that I'm doing my job; what I'm here to do on Earth. Because I love the fans, I love the kids, I love the babies, and that's what give me my inspiration, the children, the babies, the fans. I love them very much.

Anthony: Now Michaela from Pennsylvania, who is 14, writes, "Michael, I'm only 14 but I've been a fan since I was 10. You've accomplished so much more than any artist ever. I was just wondering if you could change one thing about your life, what would you change?"

Michael: I would like to be able to go out in public and just be normal sometime, without people recognizing who I am, and to get a little bit of a feeling of what it's like to, you know, be of the regular norm. To see how things are done; to learn what people speak about when they're just casually talking. Cause soon as they see it's Michael Jackson, the conversation changes; it all becomes about me and not about the situation -- the moment, that's happening at the moment. That would... I would learn a lot from that. I don't get to see that unless I disguise myself and put on a lot of things, and then they stare at me, then it's even different; it's not the same even then. So, it's a difficult thing to pull off. Tell him that's a very great question he asked.

Anthony: That's a really interesting question, actually. We have an interesting answer, as well. We have Greg from Glasgow, Scotland, wants to know, "When do you plan to release the charity song What More Can I Give?"

Michael: Well, it's being, uh.. We're putting the final voices on and, uh, it's coming very, very soon. We're putting it together now; the final touches. It's a very important song for the world. To give some feeling and some loving and some caring to those people who were thrust into orphanage, uh, or just within a matter of seconds they lost their parents and their loved ones, you know?

Anthony: Absolutely. Um, what are some of the things you are looking forward to; what are your hopes for you know, the new year. You know, we're coming down to the end of the year, you have this album coming out, we've had a lot of tragedies and crisis that we've all faced. Everybody's trying to keep their spirit up. When you start thinking about 2002, what .. what kind of things come to mind for you?

Michael: Um, film. I love movies. To do more movies; to integrate the songs with the film. Dancing. And more peace into the world. I pray for peace all the time. And the most important thing I pray for is protection for children and babies. That's the thing that concerns me the most, I like them to be protected and to have more children's rights in the world, where children, you know, where there's a day for children; a celebration for children. Give them a little more attention and love.

Anthony: Now Sergei from Russia writes in, says, "Michael, sing a cappella for us."

Michael: [laughs] You know what, I would love to do it. But believe it or not, I've been sniffling since this interview, I woke up with laryngitis, I caught a cold from the children the other day. My children were sick and I caught their cold. So, tell her I'd love to do it when I visit their town in concert. And Speechless opens a cappella, on the album, the song Speechless. It's one of my favorites.

Anthony: Opens in an a cappella part?

Michael: It opens and closes a cappella.

Anthony: Now we have a question here from Karen who says that you've helped her since she was a little kid. You've always been one to think about other people; to care for children around the world. "What could we do for you," she wonders. "We give you all our love, but what more could we give to you?" Obviously one of your great fans here.

Michael: When I come to town, I would love to see a children's festival, to hear children's choirs, uh, you know, pretty much present when I come to different countries, singing some of their favorite songs of mine. Uh, we should forge and create a children's day, a celebration Internationally, where children are honored. Where parents can take their children to the movies or to the toy store or to the park. And that, alone, will create a bonding. Because the family bond has been broken. They don't eat with their children or speak to their children much anymore, or mother their children. And I would love to see a celebration for children. Children's Day; a holiday. We have Mothers Day, Fathers Day -- no Children's day. And, uh, I would love when I come to town just to see them sing songs, or a parade or something. I would love that.

Anthony: Michael, we have one last question. It was a great pleasure talking with you. We have Emanuel, who is 16, from the US. Says, "Mr. Jackson, what would say to all your fans that have dreams and goals of being a star like you?"

Michael: No matter what, the most powerful thing in the world is the human mind and prayer, and belief in your self and confidence and perseverance. No matter how many times you do it, you do it again until it's right. And always believe in your self. And not matter who's around you that's being negative or thrusting negative energy at you, totally block it off. Because whatever you believe, you become.

Anthony: They say that the thing that most affects people, or the way that you can really tell someone's had a successful life is the way that they deal with success or the way they deal with failure or challenges. That sounds like what you're saying.

Michael: Yes, and after all that, the most important -- most important: Stay humble. The humbleness that a child, like a new born baby has. Even though you become powerful or have power with people, with your talent .. like with what Michelangelo did with sculpting, you know, underneath all that be as humble as a child, as a baby, and be as kind and as giving and loving. They don't become puffed up with pride.

Anthony: I think we're gonna sneak in one last question here from someone called Invincible103, "Halloween is coming up. Do you have plans to, uh, kind of dress up; do you have plans for a Halloween party?"

Michael: Uh, no. I was going to just go trick or treating. Go out, knock on some doors and get some candy. I love trick or treat. It's one of my favorite ones. I love dressing up like some kind of monster or something and knocking on the doors. No body knows it's me, and I get candy.

Anthony: Now if Michael Jackson turns up at your door, people.

Michael: [giggles]

Anthony: Sure, wouldn't it be nice to have some nice things on hand for him. Well, Michael it was great, great pleasure talking to you. A lot of fun, and uh, everybody wishes you the best with your new record. We're all looking forward to it.

Michael: Thank you so much and God bless you. Thank you.

Anthony: Thank you very much.


The Man In The Mirror - TV Guide 2001.

When you have been in show business 35 years when you been a legend in show business for much of that time you know how to make an entrance. At least Michael Jackson does.

The King of Pop doesn't simply arrive anywhere, and his appearance in a lush room at the pricey Beverly Hills Hotel is no exception. He is two hours late. He is preceded by his bodyguard, whose security check includes peeks behind curtains and into closets and bathrooms. Then the guard dims the lights. When the door finally swings open, it is not Jackson but two small children who bolt into the room: Prince, 4, whose dark hair is bleached blond, and Paris, 3, whose brown curls tumble to her shoulders. Finally, their father arrives.

His image is ubiquitous his sculpted face and doe eyes peer at us from supermarket stands seemingly daily and yet unique. He's slight, wearing a blue military shirt and his trademark short black pants and white socks. And then there is his nose. His famous nose, which, on this day, is covered by gray bandages.

"It is analgesic tape," he says, quietly but good-naturedly. "For allergies."

With his children playing on the floor by his feet, he talks about his life, politely and with an amazing sense of poise and self-possession. He is a man at times indignant about the press but able to laugh at himself, which may be the most surprising thing about Michael Jackson. At one point, he doubles over giggling at the thought of how at concerts women have fainted in his presence.

And yet he is apprehensive. At 43, Jackson is at a crossroads in his career, urgently trying to transform himself from '80s icon to a player in the current pop scene. His first step in a climb back to the top were the two recent concerts at Madison Square Garden, his first public performances in America in 12 years. They have been edited into a two-hour television special titled Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, airing Tuesday, November 13 (CBS, 9 pm/ET). He is anxiously awaiting reaction to his latest album, Invincible (at press time, its first single, "You Rock My World," had reached No. 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, while the video has been an MTV staple). In addition, he has written and is producing a "We Are the World"-type song called "What More Can I Give"; its proceeds will benefit victims of the September 11 attacks. And he will make a cameo appearance in next summer's film sequel Men in Black 2.

In the end, it was Michael Jackson the father, a man deeply connected to his children and his own childhood, who left the most lasting impression.

tv guide

TV GUIDE: This television special celebrates your long career. Do you remember the first time you ever stepped onstage?
MICHAEL JACKSON: I was 5 years old. And it was at a public-school recital. We had to wear white shirts and short knickers. And I remember them saying, "Little Michael Jackson is coming up to sing 'Climb Every Mountain.'" I got the biggest applause. When I went to my seat my grandfather and mother were crying. They said, "[We] can't believe how beautiful you sound." That's the first one I remember.
TVG: It's rare for you to do a TV special.
MJ: I've turned down so many because I just don't like to go on television. I get embarrassed. So I'll do a performance, but I won't watch it until almost a year or two later because I'm always disappointed in something I did.
TVG: The concerts that were filmed for this special were packed with big stars. That couldn't have been disappointing.
MJ: The [second] show was good. [The first show] was horrible because, technically, there were a lot of breakdowns and intermissions in between each act. It was very difficult. The audience was waiting and waiting and waiting.
TVG: What does it feel like when you're dancing onstage?
MJ: I am a slave to the rhythm. I am a palette. I just go with the moment. You've got to do it that way because if you're thinking, you're dead. Performing is not about thinking; it's about feeling.
TVG: Do you plan the dance steps?
MJ: Certain steps are set with my brothers. But when I'm alone, it's all improvised. Nothing is planned, ever. All the dance schools now teach kids to count, and that's completely wrong.
TVG: What do you think about current pop groups like 'N Sync? Are they imitating you?
MJ: I think they're very good singers. I know them very well, and we hang out every once in a while and laugh and play. I have no problem with them imitating [me]. It's a compliment. Everybody has to start out looking up to someone. For me it was James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Wilson, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly.
TVG: The special features an appearance by Marlon Brando. How did he get involved?
MJ: Brando's a good friend of mine. I've known him for about 20 years. He comes to my house all the time. He loves to play with the kids. I play with his grandchildren, and we love to watch movies.
TVG: Who else do you spend time with?
MJ: Elizabeth [Taylor], Brando, Gregory Peck, these are very close friends of mine. Either they're much older than me or much younger. I've never had real contact with a person on my age level. I think this happened because all my life I played clubs, since I was 5 years old. I saw people drunk, fighting, and it was just disgusting. When people say to me today, "Hey, let's go to a club," I go, "No way." If I go, it's not a party for me — too many autographs and photographs.
TVG: Was that true at your postconcert party at [the] Tavern on the Green restaurant?
MJ: It was worse then I couldn't breathe because everybody [was crowding around].
TVG: And you fainted?
MJ: That's a rumor. It was sensationalism. [The press] made it up. As usual. They love doing that to me.
TVG: What did happen?
MJ: Nothing. I didn't faint. Not even close. [The press has] done this for so long, and it's disgusting. [Gently, to Paris, who is skipping around the coffee table] Paris, you can't make noise. You can't no, don't bump the table. [The reporters are] tape recording.
TVG: Liza Minnelli also sang at one of the concerts. You two seem very close.
MJ: I speak to Liza every week. We come from the same planet. Like Elizabeth does.
TVG: What planet is that?
MJ: It's called Capricious Anomaly in the Sea of Space [laughs]. Gee, I can't name it. Just beyond our solar system, I think. But this is true, and this is not to be taken lightly: People who grew up as child stars have the same thing in common. You're cute, they love you; you go through the awkward stage, they don't accept you anymore. Very few make the transition to adult star. And most of them become self-destructive. And it's very sad.
TVG: How did you avoid self-destruction?
MJ: I think religion entered in.
TVG: Are you still a Jehovah's Witness?
MJ: Yeah. I've done, you know, we call it pioneering. We do 90 hours a month. I don't do as much now because I'm busy. You go door to door. I wear a fat suit, pop-bottle glasses, mustache, buck teeth and, like, an Afro wig. And I knock on the door and say we're Jehovah's Witnesses.
TVG: This special is in conjunction with the launch of your seventh solo album, Invincible. Is this your comeback?
MJ: I don't see it as a comeback. I only do an album every four years. It's just that I've been on hiatus, writing.
TVG: The album features rap stars Will Smith and Jay-Z. It's hard to imagine you working with Jay-Z, whose image is a bit rougher than yours.
MJ: [He] was just so sweet. And you hear these crazy stories about something [some of these rappers] did the next day, and it's hard to believe. I always see them to be very kind. Perfect gentlemen.
TVG: What's the message of "Unbreakable," the first song on the album?
MJ: That [I'm] invincible, that I've been through it all. You can't hurt me. Knock me down, I get back up. [To Prince, who begins to bang his Snapple lemonade on the coffee table] See the noise you're making? You've got to be nice and quiet.
TVG: You are known for being eccentric. Did growing up in the limelight have something to do with that?
MJ: [Smiling coyly] It depends on what kind of eccentricities you're talking about.
TVG: People call you Wacko Jacko.
MJ: But that's not nice. They do that because they're jealous. I haven't done anything. I go to hospitals and orphanages. And we take huge bags of toys. I spend thousands of dollars. What's wacko about that?
TVG: Because of the way you are portrayed in the press, people wonder, "Is he strange?"
MJ: [Exasperated] I did Oprah. I did Diane Sawyer. [People] saw me. [The press] is just completely jealous. And it's just one of those things that I have to deal with.
TVG: How do you deal with it?
MJ: I turn it into positive energy. And I write about it, I dance about; it's in my movement, it's in the expression on my face. And it becomes a part of me, part of my creation. And I try not to let it get to me. Because if you do, you'll go crazy.
TVG: Your first video, for the single "You Rock My World," is actually a 15-minute short film. How did you come up with its gangster theme?
MJ: I don't know — the idea just kind of happened. In Cuba. Hot summer night. A club run by these hoods. I just wish [MTV] would show the long version. The short version I don't like at all. It's not entertaining enough.
TVG: How much are you involved in the video-making process?
MJ: When you say Michael Jackson, people always think of an entertainer. They don't think of the fact that I write songs. I'm not trying to brag, but I write them, and Idirect a lot of [the videos]. I don't think [younger artists] are aware of those things, which I think would be inspiring for them.
TVG: When you were making this video, did you think, "I want this to be as good as the one for Thriller"?
MJ: No, because I know I didn't have the time to execute that. There are ones that are coming up that will be better.
TVG: Do you let your kids watch MTV?
MJ: At a certain age I will, not now. They are going to have to be 15 or 16.
TVG: Do you watch TV?
MJ: I love PBS, the Discovery Channel, The Simpsons. I love Sesame Street. I could watch it for hours. But my favorite show is Malcolm in the Middle. It reminds me so much of [my brothers and me] when we were little.
TVG: Which character do you relate to?
MJ: Malcolm. Mainly because he tries to fit into society, and he doesn't like E.T. or Bambi, he can't adjust to other people's concepts. And I feel like that a lot of times. Once I'm offstage, I feel awkward, like this is not where I'm supposed to be.

For more of Mary Murphy and Jennifer Graham's interview with Michael Jackson, pick up the issue of TV Guide magazine


My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom.

On December 7, 2000, Beliefnet published an article which has been written and composed by Michael Jackson entitled "My Childhood, My Sabbath, My Freedom." In this article he writes about his reflections on Sabbath, God, his childhood, and his desire to live an ordinary life:

"While singing and dancing were, and undoubtedly remain, some of my greatest joys, at that time what I wanted more than anything else were the two things that make childhood the most wondrous years of life, namely, playtime and a feeling of freedom. The public at large has yet to really understand the pressures of childhood celebrity, which, while exciting, always exacts a very heavy price.

More than anything, I wished to be a normal little boy. I wanted to build tree houses and go to roller-skating parties. But very early on, this became impossible. I had to accept that my childhood would be different than most others. But that's what always made me wonder what an ordinary childhood would be like."

Michael Jackson tells that he learned a lot about Sabbath from Rose Fine, a Jewish woman who was his tutor during the times when he performed with his brothers as The Jackson Five, and also from his friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

Then he explains how he, despite his fame, managed to get a glimpse of what it's like to live an "ordinary" life:

"Up to 1991, the time of my Dangerous tour, I would don my disguise of fat suit, wig, beard, and glasses and head off to live in the land of everyday America, visiting shopping plazas and tract homes in the suburbs. I loved to set foot in all those houses and catch sight of the shag rugs and La-Z-Boy armchairs with kids playing Monopoly and grandmas baby-sitting and all those wonderfully ordinary and, to me, magical scenes of life. Many, I know, would argue that these things seem like no big deal. But to me they were positively fascinating.

Sundays were sacred for two other reasons as I was growing up. They were both the day that I attended church and the day that I spent rehearsing my hardest. This may seem against the idea of "rest on the Sabbath," but it was the most sacred way I could spend my time: developing the talents that God gave me. The best way I can imagine to show my thanks is to make the very most of the gift that God gave me."

And he explains that his whole sense of God was redefined when he became a father:

"When I look into the eyes of my son, Prince, and daughter, Paris, I see miracles and I see beauty. Every single day becomes the Sabbath. Having children allows me to enter this magical and holy world every moment of every day.

There have been times in my life when I, like everyone, has had to wonder about God's existence. When Prince smiles, when Paris giggles, I have no doubts. Children are God's gift to us. No--they are more than that--they are the very form of God's energy and creativity and love. He is to be found in their innocence, experienced in their playfulness."

The article also mentions, that Michael Jackson and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who recently launched an initiative that aims to raise awareness of how important it is for parents to spend enough time with their children, are working on a book about "what parents and adults can learn from children and how men and women may recapture lost, yet virtuous, childlike qualities."


MTV Interview 1999

About "Billie Jean" video: "I think it was Billie Jean. It's kind of surreal and it's different. I didn't come up with that concept. It was - I think a British fellow - Steve Barron - and I thought he had wonderful ideas but I let him go with it. The only part I wrote in the piece was - I said: "I just want a section." I said: "Give me a section here I could dance on." 'Cause he said no dancing in the whole piece - so the whole section where you see this long street and this billboard of these two girls, one of them Billie Jean and I'm dancing - that's the only part I contributed."

About "Beat It" video: "Well, when I wrote 'Beat It' - I don't know why, but I did - about, you know, two gangs coming together and the song is so self-explanatory that it's so easy to make this short film. And I'd seen - I think it was a McDonald's commercial - and I said: "God, I like the rhythm and the cut of this commercial." I said, "I want this director for this piece." So I reached out to him."

When asked what makes a great video: "In my opinion, it has to be completely entertaining and have a sense of, a linear sense of continuity."

Talking about "Thriller": "Hi, I'm Michael Jackson. My idea was to make this short film with conversation ... in the beginning - I like having a beginning and a middle and an ending, which would follow a story. I'm very much involved in complete making and creating of the piece. It has to be, you know, my soul. Usually, you know, it's an interpretation of the music."

About John Landis: "I love working with John Landis cause we laugh a lot. We are never serious on the set. [laughs] So it's fun working with John. I used to throw water balloons, and stink bombs and everything at him. That's a ritual for me. After we rap up each video, I throw a lot of stuff at everybody. [smiling] So that's funny."

About Vincent Price's contribution to the "Thriller" video: "That was one of the first raps, actually. I've known Vincent Prince since I was 11. He did a great job. The first time I met him, it was at NBC studios. He said, "Come here!" like that [MJ pointing his finger], in his kinda gruesome voice, and I started to cry because I was - I thought he was serious. I used to see him by turning the channels and those kinda things. I think he was in "Raven" and "House Of Wax" or something, so he scared me.

About the zombies appearing in "Thriller": "I like the scene when all these zombies are coming toward us and she thinks she's safe with me, you know, being her boyfriend, and she looks over to me and I become one. And then we do these famous fall in and pull out movements. The Hitchcock move. And I love that moment. I remember my original approach was how do you make the zombies and monsters dance without being comical. So I got in a room with Michael Peters. He and I together kind of imagined how zombies should move. I thought it should start, you know, like - that kind of thing [miming the dance], going into this kind of jazzy stuff."

About creating videos [version I]: * The idea is to take it a step forward and to innovate or else why am I doing it? I'm just - I don't wanna be just another can in the assembly line. You know, I want to create, do something that's totally different and unusual.

About creating videos [version II]: * "You know, I want to, you know, create, do something that's totally different and unusual, to take it a step forward and to innovate, or else, why am I doing it? I knew if we did something with substance and content that people would watch and it had a great entertainment value and if it held you, I knew it'd be okay."

* [MTV aired 2 different versions of Michael's comments about creating videos. One version during the original broadcast and another during rebroadcast.


The TV Guide Interview Dec 1999

TV Guide:"Thriller" changed music videos forever. Where did you get the idea?
Michael Jackson: My brother Jackie came to my house and said, "Are you watching this show that's on TV? All they do is play music. It's MTV." I put it on and thought the concept was very interesting. What I didn't like were the videos that were a collage of images; I thought that if I were to do one, I would do something with a beginning, a middle and an ending, like a short film.

TVG: Did you ever imagine that Thriller and the videos from the album would catapult your career into the stratosphere?
MJ: I didn't really think about how the album would do; I just wanted to create what I would enjoy seeing. And my main goal for the video "Thriller" was to do something that would be scary, fun and exciting.

TVG: How do you look back on that whole era now?
MJ: I see it as a happy time and a sad time. And an exciting time. Because it made a lot of my dreams come true. The notoriety was wonderful.

TVG: You also said it was a sad time.
MJ: Yeah. If I don't get exactly what I'm looking for, I get very depressed.

TVG: You mean the album still didn't live up to what you had envisioned?
MJ: Not completely.

TVG: Which songs disappointed you?
TVG: "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." Songwriting is a very frustrating art form. You have to get on tape exactly what's playing in your head. When I hear it up here [points to his head], it's wonderful. I have to transcribe that onto tape. "The Girl is Mine" wasn't completely what I wanted, but it's very nice. But "Billie Jean" is there. I worked so hard on that. I worked for three weeks on the bass lick alone.

TVG: The glove, the white socks, the red leather jacket -who came up with those things?
MJ: The glove was just -I thought one was cooler than two. I love to accent movement. The eye goes to where the white is -you know, the glove. And the feet, if you're dancing, you can put an exclamation point on your movement if it has a bit of light on it. So I wore the white socks. And for the design of the jacket, I would sit with the people who made the clothes and tell them where I wanted a button or a buckle or a design. But I don't wear that look anymore. It's sad to get caught up in the past. That's why I don't put awards in my house. No gold records, no Grammys. They are in storage. I don't like to be puffed up with pride, 'cause i'd feel like I don't have anymore things to reach for. And that's not true.

TVG: Do you feel like your most creative period is yet to come?
MJ: I think the best work is coming, but I would like to go into other areas, not keep doing album after pop album.

TVG: Are there artists that are doing interesting things musically?
MJ: There's some wonderful creative ideas, but I don't think anybody's being innovative. They're mostly grabbing the old and trying to integrate it with the new.

TVG: Is there anyone you'd like to work with?
MJ: There are a lot of artists I admire, but no.

TVG: What is your favorite music?
MJ: You would be shocked. This morning I was singing Rodgers and Hammerstein. That's the stuff I sing around the house -"My Favorite Things" from the "Sound of Music" and "Absent Minded Me," that Streisand song. I'm also a fan of the great old MGM musicals. I love show tunes. I'm a big fan of melody.

TVG: What's your favorite song to perform?
MJ: "Billie Jean," but only when I don't have to do it the same way. The audience wants a certain thing. I have to do the moonwalk in that spot. [laughs] I'd like to do a different version.

TVG: Who's your audience today?
MJ: I don't know. I just try to write wonderful music; and if they love it, they love it. I don't think about any demographic. The record company tries to get me to think that way, but I just do what I would enjoy hearing.

TVG: Is there a new Michael for the new millennium?
MJ: Yeah. I have a couple of things planned. I think it's going to be totally different than what I did before. There's a song on the new album called "I Have This Dream." It's a millennium song about the world and the environment that I co-wrote with Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster.

TVG: Do you think you will tour again?
MJ: I don't think so. It takes a lot out of me.

TVG: You rarely travel in public without a disguise. Why?
MJ: I don't see any other way. I have tried everything [laughs] Fat suits. Nuns. Clowns. Trick or treat is the best for me. And Mardi Gras.

TVG: Do you think you will ever be able to walk around freely just as yourself?
MJ: I do disguises for different reasons. I like to study people -be like the fly on the wall. Even if it's two old ladies sitting on a bench or some kids on a swing. Because I don't know what it's like to fit in an everyday life situation. One time I was in a record store, completely disguised, and these girls were pulling out my album, talking all about me. I was literally next to them. It was wonderful. I loved it. But if I go out as myself, I can't have fun. People always say, "Why don't we just go to a party?" Soon as I step in, the party's over -for me. It's a party for them, but they are all putting their cards on my face, saying, "Remember me? I met you four years ago at…" and I say, "I don't remember." So I can't enjoy the experience. They play all my songs. I didn't come to hear my music. And everybody starts chanting "Dance!" "Well, I want to see YOU dance for a change."

TVG: Do you think, given all the negative press that you have had, the people will judge you solely on your music?
MJ: I don't think so. 'cause the press has made me out to be this monster, this crazy person who's bizarre and weird. I'm nothing like that.

TVG: Is there anything you can do to change that impression?
MJ: Well, all I can do is be myself and create from my soul. But they take that and manipulate it.

TVG: But what will make you seem OK to people who think "He's weird, he has exotic animals in his house, or… MJ: God created animals and they are loving, they are beautiful. I feel the way anthropologist Jane Goodall does, or any of those naturalists. I don't find my interest in animal weird or strange at all.

TVG: What about the plastic surgery?
MJ: All of Hollywood has plastic surgery! I don't know why they point me out. The press exagerated it. It's just to my nose. They want it to be everything. Just the nose isn't enough. Elvis had his nose done -Lisa Marie told me. They don't talk about that. They singled me out. It's not fair.

TVG: OK, well, now that you bring up Lisa Marie, I read that she said she regrets not having had your son and that she may still want to have a child with you. Is that true?
MJ: I remember that's how she felt at the time [laughs]. No matter what I say, I'm in trouble with this question. The next issue of TV Guide will probably say "Well, Lisa said she doesn't ever want to see him again!"

TVG: Are you two friends now?
MJ: Lisa's sweet. I like her very much and we are friends. And who knows what tomorrow brings? I have no idea how she feels today. I'll just say that. She comes to my house and sees the children, and we talk on the phone, that sort of thing.

TVG: Do you think you will marry again?
MJ: That would be nice.

TVG: What would make the third time the charm?
MJ: It just has to hit me. You have to see that person and go, "This is it. This is the one."

TVG: Did you feel that way with both of your marriages?
MJ: Yeah. Of course.

TVG: Do you wish you were still married?
MJ: Yeah. I do. But you have to do what's best. What happens happens. You have to respect that.

TVG: Who are your closest friends?
MJ: Elizabeth. We go to the movies every Thursdays.

TVG: You go to a regular movie theatre?
MJ: I want to go to the Warner Bros studio and she refuses. She says "No, I'm getting you out." So we go right into this area -which I can say- and walk right in. And it's usually empty, because most people are working at the time. The theatre employees go "Wow, come on in" and we never really pay. And we're the ones that can afford it. [laughs]

TVG: Let's talk about your kids. I have to ask about this business in the papers recently about you and Debbie not being the biological parents of your children, about her being implanted with another woman's egg and then impregnanted by artificial insemination.
MJ: That's total garbage. It's just trash and not true.

TVG: Do the kids live with you at Neverland?
MJ: They were at Neverland two weeks ago. I think they realized for the first time that it's their home. They used to always think it was some hotel resort. We stay in hotels everywhere. They didn't realize that the train and the train station is for them, and those rides are for them. Now they go "We want to go to Neverland!"

TVG: What are their personnalities like?
MJ: Prince tells me all day that he has to make movies. So I bought him this video camera. I say, "What are we doing this time?" He goes, "Star Wars." So we put some figures on the table, make them move. And Paris is just now starting to talk and walk. She's very sweet. And I'm surprised she loves dolls. My sister Janet didn't like that sort of thing. She was a tomboy. I thought she was going to be like that but she isn't.

TVG: And you're changing diapers and feeding them?
MJ: Yeah, I love it. It's a lot of work. I thought I was prepared 'cause I read everything about child rearing, but it's so much more exciting than I ever imagined it to be. The only regret I have is that I wish I had done it earlier.

TVG: Do you sing and dance for them?
MJ: That's how I keep them quiet if they're crying. If I just start dancing, they shut down.

TVG: Do you want to have more kids?
MJ: Definitely. I told my father I'm going to match his record. He had 10.

TVG: What is your relationship with your father like now? You were estranged from him for a while?
MJ: I have the best relationship now that I've ever had with him. I think with age and time, he is really mellowed out to become a nice person. He'll simply say to me "How are you doing? Are you eating? That's all I wanted to know." Not, "Did you sign that contract?" He just wants to know if I'm OK. I think that's really nice… And my mother is like the perfect Angel.

TVG: At 41, are you happy?
MJ: Well, I usually am happy. I don't let anything get me down, no matter what. I like to hear the sound of water and birds chirping and laughter, you know. I love all the real natural, innocent things. I would never go to a party or a club. I did that when I was a kid, and I don't care to do it anymore.

TVG: I found it jarring to read a recent quote in which you said that if it weren't for your desire to help the children of the world, you would throw in the towell and kill yourself. Do you really feel that way?
MJ: I always have, 'cause I would feel I have nothing to live for.

TVG: Not even for yourself and your own creativity?
MJ: I wouldn't care. Everything I create is inspired by that kind of innocence. And nature, it's everything. It has to be. I mean, that's it.

Included in the article accompanying the interview is a quote from Michael about his forthcoming album which he describes as being "happy, dance music, relationship stuff." The interview was done in November 1999 in New York.


Grammy Legend Award Acceptance Speech 1993

I love you too, thank you.....I hope this puts to rest, I hope this finally puts to rest another rumor that has been in the press for too many years: me and Janet really are two different people.....

....In the past month, I've gone from "where is he?" to "here he is again," but I must confess, it feels good to be thought of as a person, not as a personality. Because I don't read all the things written about me, I wasn't aware that the world thought I was so weird and bizarre. But when you grow up as I did, in front of one hundred million people since the age of five, you're automatically different. The last few weeks, I have been cleansing myself and it's been a rebirth for myself. It's like a cleansing spirit.

I love you too.

My childhood was completely taken away from me. There was no Christmas, there were no birthdays, it was not a normal childhood, nor the normal pleasures of childhood - those were exchanged for hard work, struggle, and pain , and eventually material and professional success. But as an awful price, I cannot re-create that part of my life. However, today, when I create my music, I feel like an instrument of nature. I wonder what delight nature must feel when we open our hearts and express our God-given talents. The sound . . . of approval rolls across the universe, and the whole world abounds in magic. Wonder fills our hearts, for what we have glimpsed, for an instant, the playfulness of life.

And that's why I love children and learn so much from being around them. I realise that many of our world's problems today - from the inner city crime, to large scale wars and terrorism, and our overcrowded prisons - are a result of the fact that children have had their childhood stolen from them. The magic, the wonder, the mystery, and the innocence of a child's heart, are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world. I really believe that.

What, what we need to learn, what we need to learn from children isn't childish. Being with them connects us to the deeper wisdom of life which is everpresent, and only asks to be lived. They know the solutions that lie waiting to be recognised within our own hearts. Today, I would like to thank all the children of the world, including the sick and deprived . . . I am so sensitive to your pain.

I also want to thank all those who have helped me to channel my talent here on earth. From the beginning, my parents, all my brothers and sisters, especially Janet. I am so proud of her, it's incredible. I mean, I remember when we were little, I used to ask her to be Ginger Rogers, while I was Fred Astaire..... The Motown family, my teacher Berry Gordy. Diana Ross, I love you. Suzanne De Pazze. The wonderful, great Quincy Jones. Teddy Riley. My new godson Michael Gibb. My new Sony family, Akio Morita, Mickey Schulhoff, Tommy Motola, Dave Glew, Polly Anthony . . . Thanks for making one of my most creative efforts, the album Dangerous, such an incredible success. I love you all so much. Sandy Gallin, Jim Morey. All the fantastic fans around the world - love you very much.


Talking About His Songs

" In truth, I really didn't want the album to be about old songs, you know. It is a Greatest Hits album - to me most Greatest Hits Albums are boring, you know, and I wanted to keep creating. You know, the new songs are very different. They are autobiographical, I mean they came from the heart - they are myself. They are not my songs anymore, it's the way I feel they belong to everybody now." Scream: "Sometimes the only thing you can do is scream. (laughs) Don't you ever feel this way? You just wanna let it all out. People should listen and decide for themselves.

"Our personal history begins in childhood and the song "Childhood" is a reflection of my life, years ago, when I was much younger. And it's about the pain, some of the joys, some of the dreaming, some of the mental adventures I took because of the different lifestyle that I had being a child performer. I was born on the stage and "Childhood" - it is my mirror - it is my story."

Earth Song:
"I remember writing Earth Song when I was in Austria, in a hotel. And I was feeling so much pain and so much suffering of the plight of the Planet Earth. And for me, uhm, this is Earth's Song, because I think nature is trying so hard to compensate for man's mismanagement of the Earth. And with the ecological unbalance going on, and a lot of the, uh, problems in the environment, I think earth feels... feels the pain, and she has wounds, and it's about some of the joys of the planet as well. But this is my chance to pretty much let people hear the voice of the planet. And this is "Earth Song". And that's what inspired it. And it just suddenly dropped into my lap when I was in... on tour in Austria."

Stranger in Moscow:
"Stranger in Moscow was written, uh, when I was in Moscow on the Dangerous-Tour. And it was just a strange, eerie, lonely time for me. Outside my hotel was just a sea of faces of... of fans chanting and screaming. But I was inside my room and I felt so all alone, like I was the last person of the planet. And in the song I say "How does it feel when you're alone and you're cold inside." uh, I say "It's like a stranger in Moscow" and that's pretty much how I felt. And the people were some of the nicest people I've ever met. And the concert was very successful, but, uhm, that day, especially that day, I just felt this different feeling and the song "Stranger in Moscow" came to me. So, that's how it was written."

The Girl is Mine:
"One of my favorite songs to record of all of my recordings as a solo artist is probably "The Girl is Mine", because working with Paul McCartney was pretty ex... exciting. And we just literally had fun. It was like lots of kibitzing and playing and throwing stuff at each other and making jokes. It was just a lot of fun, and we actually recorded the track and the vocals pretty much live at the same time, and we do have footage of it, but it's never been shown. Maybe one day we'll give you a sneak preview of it."

"I think the most fun short film or video that I've ever made hat to be "Thriller". I just loooooved becoming a monster (laughs) because it gave me a chance to pretty much become someone else. It was just fun hiding behind this mask and just really letting this part of you, your body or your feelings out, but hiding behind a different character. And it was just thrilling for me to make that. And the dance, and all the morphing, and all the fun things that we's so memorable."

Billie Jean:
"When I was very little, around 10 years old, I used to go on these tours with my brothers, The Jackson Five, and I'd hear these crazy stories that (laughs) these girls would claim my brothers hand relationships with the, which they didn't and that they were going to have their children. And I thought that to be so strange and so crazy. And then, a couple of years later, there was this girl, named Billie Jean, who used to stand outside my gate. And I would drive outside the gate and she would say "Here's the keys to our car" and she would say "Here's the keys to the front door" She would say that I am actually the father of her child, which never ever happened... And that inspired the song cause the chorus goes "Billie Jean is not my lover, she's just the one who claims that I am the one, but the kid is not my son" So, I guess that's how that happened."