Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inspired by: Michael Jackson

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On Thanksgiving evening, Dane & watched a TV cut of Spike Lee's documentary about Michael Jackson's BAD. Now, everyone has his or her own opinion on the controversies surrounding Michael's personal life, but his professional talent and accomplishments are mind-blowing.

Dane has always been a huge MJ fan, and has officially converted me. I did listen to some of his bigger hits growing up, and "Black or White" and "Billie Jean" were on heavy rotation in my college playlists, but it wasn't until I saw Michael Jackson's This Is It in 2009 that I really started to see his behind the scenes work and appreciate him as an artist. He had such a specific vision for his shows, and worked so incredibly hard to make sure every single detail was perfect. And now, after seeing Spike Lee's doc, I must say: WOW. There's a part in the film when Quincy Jones (his producer) tells a story about the writing of "The Way You Make Me Feel" in which Michael recorded the melody then stayed at the studio all evening and wrote and recorded every single voice part for the backing vocals (ten voice parts in all). He was there for every single instrument recording session. He would also have late night dance sessions in his hotel rooms during the filming of the "BAD" short film with his dancers to come up with new moves and choreography.

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You could tell through the interviews how much his producers, dancers, co-writers, musicians, and entire artistic team loved working with him. And how much he inspired and pushed every single person he worked with. I think that's what affected me most: how his hard work and passion inspired those around him. Thanks to Dane's record collection, I've also learned that MJ wrote and produced most of his siblings' records as well, keeping their careers afloat.

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It's bizarre and kind of sad to me to think that current artists like Katie Perry and Rhianna are breaking records set by Michael Jackson. Our current pop music landscape is just so vastly different than in MJ's time. Michael Jackson worked years to perfect an album, carefully choosing the songs and fine tuning every detail to put out something spectacular. Now, artists release a new album every year with a few singles that will top the charts and little regard for the deep cuts. Michael Jackson studied old movies and dance styles and stayed up late night developing new moves that pay homage to the greats. Now, when a trend is established, it is ridden to death in the hopes of becoming a one hit wonder or having the most Twitter followers. Michael Jackson's shows featured his band, backup singers, and him performing, and were electric and mesmerizing (although the This Is It tour did have more spectacle planned). Now, few artists actually sing during their shows, and a good show is determined by the number of wigs and costume changes and set spectacles.

image from here
Michael Jackson is inspiring to me because he was a true student of his craft, who pushed himself and those around him to innovate and create fantastic music, shows, and short films. Even after just watching a documentary about the BAD album, I wanted to start on some of my own work.

1 comment:

  1. You're so right about that, I am also a fan of michael jackson :)
    PS: I love you Header *-*
    *My Blog*

    xx, Anira