EXCLUSIVE: New Details About Upcoming Work-in-Progress Michael Jackson Album Revealed!

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It’s no secret that Epic Records, spearheaded by its CEO, LA Reid, is putting together a new album of unreleased Michael Jackson material. Super-producer Timbaland spoke about it. Former Jackson collaborator Fred Jerkins spoke about it. It’s happening.

One thing that has not been made clear is exactly when the album is scheduled for release.

Despite the fact that a host of music industry people have spoken publicly about their contributions, Epic Records and the Estate of Michael Jackson have remained quiet about the whole thing, leaving Jackson enthusiasts to wonder about the finer details – until now!

Dr. Freeze, the man responsible for writing and producing “Break Of Dawn,” from Jackson’s 2001 Invincible album, was kind enough to share exclusive new insights regarding the direction of the upcoming album.

“It seems to be coming out in the Spring of 2014,” Freeze told me.

It has been speculated that the new project – like 2010’s controversial Michael album – may be rushed out to capitalise on inflated sales during the 2013 Christmas period.

But timing doesn’t appear to be a priority with this project.

Instead, the focus is on delivering a quality album that all factions of the Michael Jackson fan community can enjoy and appreciate in one way or another.

The record company recognises that delivering an album which will satisfy the subjective desires of Jackson’s entire fan base is an impossible task. And so, in an effort to at least partially satisfy most of the fans, Epic Records’ CEO LA Reid is taking a much different approach.

The new album, at this stage, will have a ‘then and now / past and present’ theme, featuring both new remixes and the unadulterated original versions of unreleased Jackson recordings.

“I’m not [producing] the album,” says Freeze, whose unreleased Jackson tracks “A Place With No Name” and “Blue Gangsta” – originally recorded by the King of Pop in 1998 – will be freshly remixed for the album by other producers.

“Both old and new versions of both songs are on the album to satisfy both sides of the fan community,” Freeze revealed.

When I asked Freeze which producers were remixing his songs, he told me that he wasn’t sure yet.

“It’s still up in the air right now.”

Super-producer Timbaland, best known for his work with Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake, believes he’ll wrap up his part of production by the end of the year.

And he’s already hedging his bets that the lead single will be a song he remixed, called “Chicago.”

“I can tell you the first single is gonna be the song ‘Chicago’ … I think it should be, because ‘Chicago’ sounds like today,” said the producer.

Also weighing in with his opinion was Timbaland’s official DJ, Freestyle Steve.

“So last night I heard some of the new tracks Timbaland is doing for the King of Pop… WOW!” tweeted the DJ after a private listening session.

“To all the Timbaland & Michael Jackson fans, just know Tim did an amazing job with Mike’s vocals. The world will love it!”

With songs like “Slave to the Rhythm” and “Do You Know Where Your Children Are” being remixed to feature alongside the previously mentioned Invincible outtakes “A Place With No Name” and “Blue Gangsta,” fans should be in for a treat.

Additional Invincible outtakes could also be used to round out the project, including “Escape” and “Get Your Weight Off Of Me” – originally produced by Rodney Jerkins and his Darkchild production team – and “She Was Loving Me” by former Sony Vice President Cory Rooney.

The recently leaked “I Am A Loser” – co-written by Jackson with collaborative partner Brad Buxer – is also in the conversation.

But like Dr Freeze said: “It’s still up in the air right now.”

Songs that will not be included: the infamous Cascio tracks – three of which have already been released, and nine of which remain unreleased.

The Estate confirmed in a written statement to one of my co-researchers that no further Cascio tracks will be included on any future projects by Sony or the Estate. This decision came on the back of the uproar they caused in 2010, when questions over the authenticity of the vocals were raised by Jackson’s family, former producers and fans around the world.

Although “Slave to the Rhythm” is one of the tracks being considered for release, it’s unlikely to appear in the form of a duet with Justin Bieber.

A work-in-progress mix of the posthumous duet, produced by Max Methods, was leaked online in August to the displeasure of many MJ fans.

Max Methods works for producer Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, who is currently the President of A&R at Epic Records, under CEO LA Reid.

To clear things up the Jackson Estate issued the following statement via their mouthpiece, The MJ Online Team:

For those who have been asking about the recently posted recording of ‘Slave 2 The Rhythm’ by Michael and Justin Bieber, this recording was not authorized and has been taken down… It is unauthorized and therefore there is no intention to release it.

There are still doubts as to whether Jackson’s fans will ever hear the unreleased music produced during his later collaborative ventures, including a three-year period in which he worked sporadically with Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am.

Jackson is said to have worked on just a few ideas with will.i.am, including titles “I’m Dreamin’,” “The Future” and “I Will Miss You,” as previously cited by the producer. It is also unclear what state of completion these ideas are in.

Will.i.am has been outspoken about releasing and/or finishing Jackson’s incomplete work.

In July 2009, he said he had hoped the world would one day hear what they’d been working on.

However, by the time Sony and the Estate started working on 2010’s Michael album, the producer had flipped the script, taking the position that it was disrespectful to release Jackson’s unfinished work while calling those involved with the project “freaking parasites” and accusing them of sucking from Jackson’s energy.

Regardless, based on the aforementioned titles alone, Epic Records has more than enough unreleased material at their disposal to get the job done.

“I always want to do music that inspires or influences another generation. You want what you create to live, be it sculpture or painting or music. Like Michelangelo, he said, ‘I know the creator will go, but his work survives. That is why to escape death, I attempt to bind my soul to my work.’ And that’s how I feel. I give my all to my work. I want it to just live.” – Michael Jackson


Damien Shields is the author of the book Michael Jackson: Songs & Stories From The Vault examining the King of Pop’s creative process, and the producer of the podcast The Genesis of Thriller which takes you inside the recording studio as Jackson and his team create the biggest selling album in music history.

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