It appears Michael is blending the old with the new. Three notable figures that together with John Robinson(who's confirmed as not collaborating) formed what we loved most about Michael Jackson-His 80's vibe! According to various sources, Frank Delio(his manager from 84-89) has been seriously considering getting back together with MJ. Quincy Jones although hesitant at first, is confirmed working with the superstar by Carlos Santana. Word has just gotten out last Summer that John Landis is producing a new short film with The Gloved One(though a recent lawsuit kinda makes you wonder).
Now for the new shots, he has been working with the likes of Teddy Riley, Rodney Jerkins, Steve Pageot, Giorgio Tuinfort(of Swiss Beats). In addition, Wil.I.Am, Akon, Feemster, as well as Neyo, RedOne, Syience, and Sean Garrett has submitted quite a handful of tracks for Michael's approval.
But just because a name has been mentioned doesn't mean it'll happen. History has taught us a good lesson these past 20 years(remember "Serious Effect"?). We shall only wait and see what this new era will bring us(and what name it will bear). But in the meantime, I have compressed an exhaustive list of confirmed quotes and interview by name below. Just remember-Michael has confirmed on Ebony that he is doing a lot of writing and producing himself. So most of these probably won't see the light of day.
What Wil.I.Am Has Said
October 2006 At Access Hollywood With Billy Bush
Something needs to put a jolt back in the music industry. And the only thing that can do that is the jolt itself. The energy that sparked the imagination of the kids that are... me, you know, the Justin Timberlake's, we're all products of this. (Motions to Michael) So the only person that can put that jolt back in to that monstrosity of entertainment and music is the one who created that. (Motions to Michael again)
On The Rolling Stone Magazine November 2006
For a month we probably talked three times a week. He'd be like, "I need you to dig deep inside! Do something that's unprecedented!" He'd hum a little melody over the phone or something. Eight song sketches were conjured out of phone conversations, then we met up in Ireland for a week and finished three ideas. We tracked one song--the running title is "I'm Dreamin'."
He just said, "Great melodies." In January we'll spend a month together. I want it to sound like Off the Wall for today. He's been really open to ideas. But as far as his vocal abilities are concerned, he's still killing everybody.
On another issue(Feb. 2007), Rolling Stone has reported...
The pair drafted eight new songs and physically tracked one, titled "I'm Dreamin'".
Around the 13th of August that same year, they confirmed...
Will.I.Am told reporters at a Black Eyed Peas press conference in South Korea that another track he recorded with Jackson is titled "The Future". Another song title that will.i.am has revealed is "Still The King".
One month later, he was quoted as saying...
We’re taking it day by day, we’ve finished some songs. I like what I’m doing, I’m really happy with it, but it’s not my project to talk about. I could be talking about song titles what they sound like and be excited about it, but those songs I made may not make his record and then I look like an idiot.
Man, he still sings like a bird. He could go anywhere. I think we have a real opportunity to do something here. It's either gonna be really big or nobody's gonna care. Ain't no middle ground on this one.
Cannes MidemNet Conference(January 2007)
Michael Jackson is working day and night on this great, great record. I heard and see him in the studio and he is creating a masterpiece. A lot of people in the industry are involved or want to be involved. From producers to marketing people.
Times Online(Aug. 2007)
[Jackson's] voice is still incredible. It’s not about crazy beats that are going be here today and gone tomorrow, but melodies that will stay for a lifetime.
Interview With Ryan Seacrest(Aug. 2007)
Wil.I.Am-I went to Ireland to work with Mike, that was a great experience.
We probably did like 3 or 4 songs - 2 of them are (finished)
I don't know when he's gonna put em out, its his project, ya know - I'd put em out tomorrow!
Ryan-How is he doin?
Ryan-How was he to work with?
When I was with him it was super-duper, ya know - Flying to Ireland, and being there for like a week, this great facility, great studios, great vibe, great atmosphere-It was just the awesomest.
the songs Are just feel-good joints-Just really feel-good songs. I wrote 2 songs, then he wrote one song, and we wrote one song together.
Pepsi Conference Interview(Sept. 07)
Wil.I.Am-I've done 3 songs with Michael Jackson now, and maybe it will come out next year - we don't know - but I'm continuing to work with Michael Jackson...Yep.
Asked about the sound of the tracks
Wil.I.Am-I heard it(laughs). Yeah, it's pretty amazing, yep. But I cant, you know its Michael Jackson, I cant talk about it.
Associated Press(September 2007)
Just working on records, making music, working on stuff for his next project. I'd be like, 'Hey Mike, you like this?' 'It's all right, it's cool. But I think we need something a little bit bigger'(imitating Jackson's flawless high voice). OK, if you don't want it, I'll just put it over here(on my album). Ain't nothing to me, just drag the little folder to the Will folder(laughs).
Interview With Trever Nelson On Radio 1(Sept. 07)
So we're talking on the phone talking about ideas and two months later I fly out to Ireland and we, you know, start making some songs. Then four months later I fly out to Vegas and we make, you know, in the studio again. But about the time the record comes out I don't know, he could be like 'you know, the songs were cool ya know...I don't think I'm gonna use them'. I don't know. All I know is I work with the dude so...
MTV Germany(Sept. 07)
About Jackson's new studio album-Melodies, it's all about the melodies. About the melodies and the kind of grooves you will play 10 years from now - Anticipate 10 years from now.
Voice T.V.(With Kim Halling[Sept. 2007])
I cant even consider Michael Jackson's record a comeback record; I don't think he's ever left. You know, 'Thriller', 'Off The Wall', 'Beat It', 'Billie Jean', 'I'm Bad', 'Dangerous', 'Dirty Diana', like, you still go to clubs around the world, they're still playing this man's music. So regardless if they're not selling, like just come out like ever Tuesday, right... A record comes out every Tuesday.. and no record has been as monumental as his records. So, you can keep on releasing records every Tuesday but his records will always be important to the planet; So, this is just another Michael Jackson record. You know, and I'm doing my best to try and, you know, make infectious melodies and nice grooves that could play in the clubs or play on your Iphone or Ipod or on internet or whatever. Where ever its gonna play, that's what we're trying to make. Workin with Mike, its like, there needs to be a new terminology. Its like, workin' with Michael Jackson!
Sydney Australia(Oct. 07)
We...Treat Michael Jackson as a new artist and just make songs with infectious melodies. The songs will speak for themselves. I am sworn to silence or Michael is known to get pretty violent(laughs).
November 2007 Interview
Wil.I.Am-The stuff is awesome.
Reporter-when will the album be finished?
Wil.I.Am-I don't know. Mike...Mike is ahh...He's really like... The fine-tune king. Whenever he says 'go'.
There are all these artists in the world like Ne-yo, Usher Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake and Fergies and Rihannas and then there is Michael Jackson. Now he has a different pace and you can not put Michael Jackson in the same category so Michael Jackson will release his album when he is ready and work with who he wants”
Michael has come over to my crib recorded his vocals and said…. I like it here it’s nice and relaxing, comfortable is it okay if I come back tomorrow to record the rest of my vocals..I was like sure come on through, He is a cool dude
What Akon Said
April 2007 Issue of The Rolling Stone
I'm excited, I'm highly excited because I think it's gonna be magic when we get together.
All the stuff that he's going through, that he's been through the past two years, the stuff that's been out in the media...The stuff that hasn't been out, I think he needs to just take all that(and) put it in his records. It's a big story.
Nobody's ever really heard Mike's story...People go by what they heard or what they're told but nobody has never heard him and his story, and what captivated all those movements. If he takes that and accepts what's been out there and expresses his opinion, express his feelings, express what he felt on a record I think it'd take his whole album to a whole 'nother level because the album now becomes a soundtrack of his life from that point to this point and that's something people are gonna want to know about-That's something people are going to want to hear from him.
With his voice, and with our melodies, with the way and how we can bring it across I think it will be incredible.
July 2007 Interview
Asked what he is doing with MJ.
Akon-Whoo! It's gonna be incredible. He's incredible. I see why now he is so big. He is a genius. Yeah, he's a genius.
He's a genius. Just to be in the same room with him, I felt everything I wanted to accomplish in life has been achieved. That aura...That's how incredible that aura is. We're about to shake the world up, man. You know how you'd be with somebody and you can't even explain the feeling? I used to sit and think, 'How does somebody sell so many records and dominate a whole business genre, to a point where nobody can't be a part of that without associating with you?' The way he thinks...Some artists think regional, some think national. I was thinking international. He thinks planets. It's on another level.
KISS Interview(Dec. 2007)
Asked why he got in late.
Akon-I was workin' on MJ's new project. Yeah man, working on his new project, getting ready to launch his album. Oh man he got a surprise for you guys for Superbowl. Yeah man the guy's about to and take over 2008.
Asked If He Was To Perform.
Akon-I can't say anything. I didn't say he was gonna perform. I'm not gonna tell you too much, I may have told you too much already.
You see, Mike has something totally separate going on(Thriller 25), Its just happening around the Superbowl time, so, I'll give you a hint-His presence will be felt around that time.
Power 106 Interview
Host: And then aside from that...(Thriller 25)...Michael's probably, he's working on???
Akon: A new album.
Host: A new Michael Jackson album?
Host: That's gonna be ridiculous!
Before The Grammy Awards(Feb. 2008)
Akon-Yeah I did a song For his tribute album.
Host-Is it being recorded in the states?
Akon-Well, depends. Where ever we decide to do it you know whatever Mike's feelin'. We might fly off to Aruba for that day and do a record and fly back. That's how he moves, yeah.
The Voice(Feb. 08)
Akon-Oh Mike is good...Mike is so focused.His next project is gonna be amazing.
Reporter-Are you gonna work with him?
Reporter-Have you already started working with him?
Akon-Absolutely...So look out for that, it's gonna be crazy.
Dave and Jimmy(April 2008)
Q: Did we hear that during the week, just last week, you were with Michael Jackson in the studio?
Akon: I might have been(laughter). Yo, I'm sorry I'm not fully, like, informational today. But it's like the questions you guys are askin' are all like, covert operations.
Q: Was it as good working with MJ as you thought it would be?
Akon: Oh but it actually was when we did the first record.
Q: Yeah you obviously did the song with him, was it cool? What was it like?
Akon: It was incredible.
Q: Is he as cool as he seems?
Akon: He's the coolest dude you ever could meet.
Q: Does he hang out, or does he just like show up?
Akon: Well, that's one thing he doesn't do much. He don't hang out. He would like to, but he just can't, you know. He would love to though but he cant. You gotta go after hours.
Let's Hear From Neyo
MOBO Awards(Sept. 2007)
Michael Jackson...I'm definitely workin' with him right now Putting some stuff together. Um, I can't talk about it a whole lot, you know, he's very much tryin' to keep it mysterious. But ahh, it's definitely gonna be something worth checking out.
The Voice(Nov. 2007)
Neyo-Yes, yes. I am currently submitting songs for Michael Jackson's new project... Ah, I don't know when it's coming out...Really not much else I can say about it other than I have had conversations with the man... I've actually met him...You know, we talked about where he wants to go this time and everything and um, the key thing he was saying is that to keep it very hush hush...He don't want no song titles coming out, no nothin'. He want's the world to be shocked and surprised when it comes out.
Reporter-Didn't Wil.I.Am mention it might come out next year(2008)?
Neyo-Um, it's possible, it's possible. He said he definitely wants it to come out soon. Yeah.
Reporter-Didn't William call you to draft one track and submit it to Mike's executive producer?
Neyo-Yes yes, we are actually supposed to be doing some songs together but you know his schedule has him over here and mine has me over here, so we're trying to work it out.
Radio Interview(Dec. 07)
Asked what he did for Michael Jackson
Neyo-I can't talk about it. They won't let me. They, you know...He wants the world to be shocked. They said, let it be known that your working with him, but you can't give no song titles, you can't go into detail. And out of respect for the King, I gotta(stops talking)...That's real respect right there.
Asked when it's being released.
Neyo-I'm not sure. He's taking his time on it and being extra extra picky, you know. This is gonna be a big album for him-So he's taking his time, yeah.
Asked how many songs he submitted.
Neyo-I've submitted a bunch of songs, we have conversations about it but I don't know exactly what he's gonna use.
Um, things are coming along nicely. You know Mike is definitely being very picky. Which he needs, you know, which he needs to be. You know, this is a very important album...He's taking his time, but um...I think it's gonna be good, I think its gonna be good.
Artisan News(Feb. 2008)
Asked if him and will.i.am were supposed to be working together on Michael's album.
Neyo-Yeah! That was a little while ago. We've been trying, but we still haven't worked together on Michael's stuff. I mean because he(will.i.am) was in the process of promoting an album and I was doing my thing so we never really got it together. But, I have been working with Mike, doing some stuff for him. Submitting some songs to him and it's coming along nicely.
60 Seconds With Neyo(Feb. 2008)
I think releasing Thriller 25 is a good idea before he goes with the new album. He's coming up with a new one that I'm working with him on.
April 2008 Interview
Host: What can you tell us?
Neyo: Uh, nothing that would get me in trouble. He was very adamant about nobody knowing what's going on. No explanations, not even song titles. But we are working together and it's coming along nicely. He's being very selective.
933 Interview(May 2008)
933 host-What about the rumor you're workin' with Michael Jackson?
Neyo-That is not a rumor, that's true. I'm submitting songs for his project. They're being very very picky and patient, and tellin' me to be patient because he's... Honestly, I dunno what he's doing. Like, we'll submit songs and then he'll call and say, 'Hey I really like number three, and the hook on number two is strong but you could change the verse, okay bye'. Yeah, I've spoke to him on the phone. I actually got a chance to go and meet him-All of that, yeah.
Neyo-I'm actually in the process of doing songs for Michael Jackson, for his new project. Oh yeah, well, I'm trying anyway. I'm submitting songs, and ah, he'll call me and say, 'yeah I really like number 3, number 2 is alright, change the hook on number 1 and send it back to me', and then, you know, that would be it. So I dunno what's gonna happen. I dunno what he's gonna keep or whatever but, just the fact that he even got a hold of me and was like, 'Hey, I really want you to put some stuff together for my album', that's like...That was enough for me. I called my mom and like I wowed out. It was one of those feelings.
Q: When's the New album coming out?
Neyo-I have no idea! That's why I say I'm trying. Because this has been going on for like a few months now, you know what I mean. He's being real selective, real picky. Because I mean it's gonna be real important if it comes out you know so, I dunno.
New York Times Mag.(July 2008)
Working with MJ?
Yeah, Michael's putting together a new album, and I'm helping him out with it. He said he had a very high appreciation for my appreciation for melody. His music is all about the melody, and that's the only sort of real direction he gave me: 'Just make sure the song is as melodic as possible. I want to get back to that.'
So you submit your work via MP3 and email, right?
He'll call me back and say, 'I really like song No. 3. Song No. 4, the hook could be stronger. Song No. 1, change the first verse. Okay, bye.' Click. And then I redo them and he's like, 'Okay, they're perfect. Send me more.' So I don't know what he's keeping, what he's getting rid of, what he's recording.
Is the King of Pop coming back?
He's definitely trying. He's trying to get back to a place where people remember why they love Michael Jackson in the first place. In the beginning, you didn't care about Michael Jackson's personal life. It was about his dancing and his music. That was why you loved Mike. He's trying to get back there. And I'm trying to help.
Digital Spy(August 2008)
You know, he's never told me he didn't like something and not given me a reason as to why. I've been working on some songs for his new album and if he doesn't like something he'll explain to me why he doesn't like it. He'll say, 'I just think the melody could be better' or 'I think that a stronger lyric could go here'. We haven't actually gotten the opportunity to work in the studio yet. As of right now it's all phone calls and emails and mp3s and I'm not really allowed to say anything about it.
August 08 Interview
We talked about music, where he wanted to go direction-wise, how we'd get the records to one another. It was a very calm, regular meeting. We're trying to get people to ignore the rumors about his personal life and get back to the reason why we loved Michael Jackson in the first place, the entertainment value. We want to get the music right. He's still dancing, doing his thing; it should be good.
September 08 Interview
Michael's new album has to be amazing. This album needs to be better than 'Thriller'. He wants killer melodies. I've already submitted some songs but we have no idea when it's coming out. He keeps putting it off. Michael is very nervous as he knows he's the underdog and people want him to fail. It's tough when all eyes are on him. as for me, My hands were shaking like never before. But the great thing is that I get to work with my idol and he is really cool.
Michael is ready to take over the world. He's got some hot records. Will.I.Am did one, Teddy Riley did one. We're giving Michael a lot of edgy street records. He's putting melodies to some hard party records.
I'm actually working on music for him now. I always wanted to be a part of anything he ever did. Nobody really knows what Michael Jackson is going to do. Even the biggest producers and writers are not sure what's going to happen with that, but we are all sitting back and still creating and trying to get on the project. They asked me to work on the project so we're working on it.
I'm working on stuff for Michael Jackson. If I like a person's outlet or what a person brings to the table then I'll speak to them.
Carlos Santana(Jan. 2008)
Michael, called me not too long ago and he asked me to work with him and Quincy Jones which both are back working together again.
RedOne(May and August, 2008)
Honestly, I’m not allowed to talk about Michael at all. I just love him. I’m a big fan of his. There’s something going on, but I can’t talk about it.
The studio, it’s incredible. The sound is amazing and so is Las Vegas. I love Las Vegas. We get a lot of peace of mind in Las Vegas. It’s very nice. It feels good working in Vegas. It’s very convenient, so close to L.A. It’s like a dream world that helps you musically and creatively.
It's not like it's a secret, it's just that nobody knows when the album is being released. When it comes to Michael, I'm not allowed to talk about the recording, but I can say he's unbelievable, honestly the best that music has ever known, the ultimate star, artist, musician. Every other star I work with, I tell them I'm working with Michael Jackson, and they're like 'Oh, my God!' And when I tell him, he's so humble and polite, he's like, 'Oh, thank you.'
Michael is such a perfectionist in everything he does, every detail is perfect. It's all ear candy. Me and Akon were watching him work in the studio, laughing like little children. He is a super nice and polite guy. I was shocked when I had dinner with him, he is so knowledgeable about so many things, a real business man, and very intelligent.
The Album is very melodic. Very pop. I have no idea when his album will be out. He works with a line of different producers.
Swiss Beats(June 08)
I'm working on this new Michael Jackson stuff, I'm probably gonna be producing his tour and everything.
Christian Audigier(June 08)
I'm gonna create the new look of Michael, of course. He's preparing a new album and a new tour, and I'm working on a collection to celebrate all the icons of rock, pop and funk. This is what I want to do in my collection for him.
Sean Garrett(July 08)
I love Michael Jackson...I'm having a blast working with Mike. Mike is one of the greatest entertainers of all time, and it's just a blessing.
John Legend(Oct. 08)
I wrote a song with Will I Am that we submitted to Michael for his project. I don't know what he's doing with his album right now, I don't even know if he's still working on it. Michael Jackson is obviously a legend, don't get it twisted.
The album is in the making. It is one of his last albums, so we work with extra care and precision. It is not yet clear when the album is released. But we are definitely part of the team. We do our best to make something special out of it. That was very special. Michael Jackson is a very gentle man. He is everything that you don't expect from a superstar.
Steve Pageot(March 2008)
Right now, Michael Jackson. I love listening to Michael, you know. Actually, I just signed a management deal with Michael Jackson’s managers, Frank DiLeo and Terry Harvey. So they’re managing me now, and we’re in talks to bring me into the studio for Michael Jackson’s next studio album. I’ve been listening to a lot of James Brown lately and Stevie Wonder. I’m going back into the old school. There’s always something you can learn from it. You gotta know what happened in the past to go into the future.
From Michael Jackson's Camp
He hasn't made up his mind about whether a Vegas show is in the cards for him. He's been in the studio since November 2006 working on his music. He's been presented with various proposals. A Vegas show isn't a priority-He's in Las Vegas now. He's pretty grounded in Vegas. It's very convenient for producers and songwriters to get to him. He's worked there before. He's been recording with producers Rodney Jerkins, will.i.am and Neff-U.
Humberto Gatica(June 2009)
"Let's see how it goes, because the new Michael Jackson album is going to be amazing, but is also requiring a lot of work and is perhaps too ambitious. He takes a long time working on the songs and doesn't know if he should work during his free days between his shows, or wait to see if he will regain his popularity thanks to his stage comeback."
Interview With Tito Jackson(Sept. 2008)
Host: One other rumor we're hearing...Michael's working on a new album. What can you tell us about that?
Tito: Well he's working hard in the studio and he hopefully will come out with it soon and as you know Michael's a very hard worker so I'm pretty sure it's gonna be a great album.
Randy Phillips(AEG March 2009)
There will be a new Michael Jackson single before the first date. Michael has got some new music and he is looking for a new way of disseminating his material to his fans.
Michael Jackson Himself
Billy-Are writing new material?
Michael-I've never stopped(smile)...I'm always writing a potpourri of music, you know. It's how it is.
World Music Awards(Nov. 2006)
Host: Are you recording new material?
Host: So far, how is it going?
Host: Is the king of pop back?
Michael: Yes! I'm putting it together; mainly writing it myself and working with other people.
Ebony Magazine(Dec. 2007)
Host:Is there more to come from Michael Jackson?[I wonder when Rap will truly head in that direction?]
Michael: I'm writing a lot of stuff right now. I'm in the studio, like, every day. I think, like, the rap thing that is happening now, when it first came out, I always felt that it was gonna take more of a melodic structure to make it more universal, 'cause not everyone speaks English(laughs) and you're limited to your country. But when you have a melody, and everybody can hum a melody, then that's when it became France, The Middle East, everywhere! All over the world because they put that melodic, linear thread in there. You have to be able to hum it, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem to anybody who can whistle to a child poppin' their fingers. You have to be able to hum it.