MiG Ayesa Interview

Sources: Music News – By Cate Altamura | All Things Michael

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Winning multiple awards and gaining recognition world-wide, Thriller Live has entered into the record books as the longest running show in the Lyric Theatres 125 year history. Starting out in 2009, the show was a tribute to Michael Jackson. Today, the show pays homage to the King of Pop.

Back on Australian shores for the Australian leg of the tour, MiG Ayesa, has a long list of achievements to his name including global hit TV show Rock Star: INXS, We Will Rock You, Rent, Burn The Floor andRock of Ages.

I recently had the pleasure to chat with the multi-talented MiG Ayesa about Thriller Live, the Jackson family and what he does in his spare time.

Music News – Congratulations on Thriller Live, I understand it was entered into the record books as the 20th longest running musical in West End History. How does it feel to be a part of a show that will live on in the record books?

It’s been a big honour to be representing Michael, his music and his legacy, but it also comes with a great responsibility. There are so many fans out there that love Michael’s music and we have to do it right. It’s an honour to be in show that’s been so successful and has so many accolades. I think its gone passed the top 20 and is now the top18th.

Music News – It’s great to hear that the show has surpassed its records. What do you think Michael would say about the show?

He’d probably want to be in it. (Laughs).

Music News – How did the Jackson’s respond to the show?

They are actually very supportive of the show and us. They love the show and in fact have all come to see it at different times……. Michael also had plans to come and see the show but unfortunately he passed away before he made it. They (the Jackson’s) are all behind it and we are very respectful of Michael and his legacy…….we have to pass everything we do through them and get there okay.

Music News – What can you tell me about Thriller Live and what can the audience expect to see?

It’s more a concert than it is a musical. It’s probably the closest thing you will get to a Michael Jackson concert. Everything is done live, that’s why the name “live” is in the title…. We have 5 singers, 14 dancers, 8 piece live band, pyrotechnics, videos, lights and lasers. It’s extravaganza – a celebration, so people should come with their dancing shoes and expect to have a good time because it is an uplifting celebration of Michael. We do touch on the fact that he is gone, but only very briefly. We focus on celebrating his life and the impact he has made on us and to popular culture.

Music News – Going back a little, I want to ask you about Rockstar:INXS. How did your experience on the show change the shape of your career?

Exponentially, it was a life-changing situation I must say. Being the only Australian in the mix, I felt like l needed to do really well, but not just for me, but for every Aussie out there (laughs). There was a lot of pressure and I felt like I buckled under pressure quite a bit and wish I could do it all again as I’d be wiser about the realities of reality TV, which is a monster in itself. It (the experience) definitely opened doors for me and changed my life – I moved to the states, got a recording deal and won a car. I live in New York City now and have been working on Broadway and around the United States and all over the world. Up until this day, people still talk to me about the show and it’s actually our tenth year anniversary. It’s worth celebrating the milestone of ten years.

Music News – Music aside, what do you like doing in your spare time?

At the moment, well actually I’ve got a very boring life. (laughs) I’m not doing anything other than working at the moment. I’ve also been working on a travel television show, that we filmed in the Philippines called, “Phil It Up” with co-host, Sophie Sumner. We are now in the post-production stages and I’m actually scoring the whole series. So I’ll do Thriller Live at night and in the day l’ll be in my hotel room with a keyboard and my computer scoring the series. So at the moment I’m not getting much free time.

Music News – Before I let you go, is there anything else you would like to share? 

My second album is currently out and it’s called, “More Than Ever”. It’s available on iTunes as well as on my website which is http://www.MiG-music.com. I’m also working on some new stuff and there are a few projects that are not confirmed yet,but if they do come to fruition, it will be very exciting and could be the biggest thing I ever did, so we will see.

Thriller Live is at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne, January 28-February 8, and the Sydney Lyric, February 26-March 15.

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Rock And Roll History Sold At Caribou Ranch Auction

Sources: 9News | All Things Michael

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DENVER – A piano used by Elton John, a Corvette that counts Val Kilmer among its passengers and former President Grover Cleveland’s bed were among the items that were auctioned off in Denver on Saturday.

The items come from Caribou Ranch, a legendary recording studio near Nederland that saw everyone from Elton John to John Lennon to the Beach Boys to Chicago to Michael Jackson during its run from 1971 to 1986.

The ranch was put up for sale back in 2013 – and reportedly purchased by the Waltons, the owners of Wal-Mart.

Part of the proceeds from Saturday’s auction go to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame,which will induct Caribou Ranch this spring.

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Check out some of the items that were sold at the auction below:

A Guest Coat Parka Worn by Michael Jackson

Sold for: $5,000

The coat comes with with a signed Michael Jackson Victory Tour headshot, the People Weekly Extra, 1984 November/December featuring a photo of Michael Jackson in the coat and a Victory Tour album, tag reads: Arctic Snorkel Parkas.

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A Michael Jackson Used Red Honda ATC Three Wheeler 

Sold for: $1,875

ATC comes with together with the People Weekly Extra 1984 November/December featuring Michael Jackson driving the three wheeler and a Victory Tour album.

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Baby grand piano used by Elton John, Frank Zappa, Michael Jackson and more

Sold for: $52,500

The piano comes with a copy of the Rolling Stone featuring a picture of Michael Jackson and the piano. It’s also the instrument where Elton John wrote and rehearsed hits like “Philadelphia Freedom” and “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

A Wm. Knabe & Co. Baby Grand Piano(Photo: Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)

A Wm. Knabe & Co. Baby Grand Piano(Photo: Leslie Hindman Auctioneers)

President Grover Cleveland’s bed

Sold for: $11,250

The bed was originally used by President Grover Cleveland, but used by Caribou Ranch visitors like Elton John, Michael Jackson and Jerry Lee Lewis.

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Thriller Enters Seventh Year In The West End – Tito Jackson And Show Producers Speak About Its Success

Sources: West End Frame | All Things Michael

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Thriller Live John Maher, Adrian Grant, Tito Jackson, Gary Lloyd

The West End production of Thriller Live will celebrate tonight as it enters its seventh year in the West End by breaking more records.

Tito Jackson, who attended opening night at the Lyric Theatre in 2009 and has seen the show several times since with the rest of the Jackson brothers, has this week been speaking to the world’s press about the global success of Thriller Live.

He said: “It makes me feel very proud to see a show of this magnitude. It captures the personality of my brother, Michael. We always get new fans and new generations. One of the beautiful things about my brother’s career is its longevity and the multiple generations of fans who enjoy it.  His music has lived a long time, the songs are evergreen and will last forever.”

Thriller Live recently became the 20th longest running musical in the history of the West End. This Sunday (25th January) the cast will perform their 2,530th show at the Lyric Theatre and overtake the record set by Grease to rise to 19th position on the chart. On Sunday 12th April Thriller Live will pass the original 1960 production of Oliver! (at 2,618 performances) to take 18th position.

Producers Paul Walden and Derek Nicol said in a statement: “January 22, 2015 is yet another amazing milestone in the history of our show. It is only truly exceptional shows that run this long in the West End and we are very grateful to the fans of Michael Jackson and West End theatre audiences who have taken the show to their hearts.

“It is an honour for us to keep the music of Michael Jackson alive and bring it to the next generation of theatregoers. Michael Jackson was known as a perfectionist and we constantly strive to ensure that Thriller Live, celebrating the genius of his songwriting, ground breaking live performances and trend-setting dance moves, is the very best experience it can be for his fans and music lovers worldwide. Unlike other West End shows Thriller Live is constantly evolving and we have exciting plans for 2015 with the introduction of some new material and additional special effects added.”

Thriller Live was originally conceived and created by Adrian Grant, a long time associate of Michael Jackson, and author of Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary. The production recently extended its booking period at the Lyric Theatre to 6th September 2015.

 

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Sony Musical Acts Could Be Targeted Next By Hackers

Sources: Penarth Times | All Things Michael

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One Direction, Adele and David Bowie are said to be bracing themselves for the possibility that they could become the next high-profile victims of the Sony hackers.

The music stars are all signed to Sony Music, which has apparently released a blanket apology in advance of a potentially embarrassing incident, as hackers are said to have threatened to publish a string of private emails, according to the Daily Mirror.

Information that Sony bosses fear could be exposed relates to the stars’ riders, salaries, contracts and personal information, and as well as the British musicians, other big names who could be left red-faced include Beyonce, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Meghan Trainor.

Sony’s movie division was hacked last year following controversy over its comedy The Interview, which features an assassination plot on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and the FBI claims to have traced hacking group Guardians of the Peace to Pyongyang in North Korea.

A source said: “There is a terrible amount of stress in Sony about what the hackers have found. Already personal information about many of their movie stars, including passport details, the pseudonyms they use and health records, have been leaked.

“Bosses now fear similar details have been hacked on their music stars, including the demands each artist makes while on tour. There is a lot of nervousness at Sony HQ.”

The hackers have already revealed a top secret plan by Sony Music and CEO Michael Lynton to sell off the music publishing arm Sony/ATV, which owns Michael Jackson’s estate and the copyright to most of The Beatles’ songs.

Sony denied the sale would happen and Lynton was said to have issued a blanket apology to Sony/ATV head Martin Bandier and CEO Doug Morris, apparently “in advance for whatever else comes out”.

However, other Sony staff say it was not an apology and was just Lynton talking to “two top executives about a couple of very specific issues”.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the Sony hacking.

 

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Lawyers For Michael Jackson’s Mother Argue For New Trial In Case Against Concert Promoter (Updated)

Source: Newswer – By Anthony McCartney – Associated Press | All Things Michael

The Michael Jackson Trial Continues

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California appellate court has heard arguments on behalf of Michael Jackson’s mother for a new trial in her lawsuit against concert giant AEG Live LLC.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson told a three justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles that a new trial should be ordered because jurors who decided a nearly six-month trial in AEG’s favor last year were given an improper verdict form.

Katherine Jackson sued AEG, the promoters of her son’s ill-fated “This Is It” comeback concerts, claiming they were responsible for her son’s 2009 death because they hired the doctor who administered a fatal dose of anesthetic.

AEG’s lawyers however argue that the Jackson family matriarch’s attorneys sought the exact question jurors used to decide the case in AEG’s favor.

 

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 UPDATE OF COURT DISCUSSIONS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lawyers for Michael Jackson’s mother argued Thursday for a new trial in her case against concert promoter AEG Live LLC, but faced a skeptical panel of appellate justices who focused on the superstar’s relationship with the doctor convicted of killing him.

Attorneys for Katherine Jackson appealed a jury’s verdict finding that AEG Live was not financially responsible for the singer’s June 2009 death. They contend that the trial court judge incorrectly dismissed negligence and employment claims before the trial, and jurors were given an improper verdict form and instructions.

The trial spanned more than five months last year with testimony that focused on the relationship between Jackson, AEG and Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol.

Much of the questioning from the appellate justices focused on Jackson’s relationship with Murray, the details of the cardiologist’s contract drafted by AEG, and who was paying the physician’s $150,000 a month fee to care for Jackson as he prepared for his ill-fated “This Is It” comeback concerts.

The panel noted that Murray treated Jackson before the concerts were planned and questioned whether the doctor’s fee would be reimbursed by Jackson after the shows.

Associate Justices Sandy Kriegler and Richard M. Mosk questioned how AEG could have known that Murray was giving Jackson treatments of propofol.

“What is the fault of AEG in this?” Kriegler asked Jackson attorney Margaret Grignon toward the end of the hourlong arguments. “I’m just lost in all of this.”

Mosk said it would be one thing if AEG suspected Murray was giving Jackson painkillers or traditional sleep drugs. “Isn’t it a stretch to go from that to propofol, which is beyond the pale.”

Grignon countered that it was a decision that a jury should answer.

AEG attorney Marvin Putnam said the case hinged on whether the concert promoter could have foreseen that Murray was giving Jackson propofol in the singer’s bedroom. The drug is supposed to be administered solely in hospital settings.

“Everyone in the world, not just AEG, learned about propofol because of this tragic death,” Putnam told the panel.

Grignon however argued that AEG inserted itself into Jackson’s medical care, allowed the doctor to set the singer’s rehearsal schedule and controlled Murray’s actions, which a jury should be allowed to consider.

“This is not a case where AEG simply agreed to pay Mr. Jackson’s personal physician to accompany him on tour,” Grignon argued.

Katherine Jackson did not attend Thursday’s arguments.

The justices did not state when they would issue a ruling. Two justices must agree on the decision.

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Michael Jackson Stage Show Thriller Live Captures The Music, Not The Man

Sources: WAToday -By John Bailey | All Things Michael

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At a recent performance of Thriller Live in Adelaide, barely 20 minutes had passed before old Lionel in the front row was compelled to get up and dance. The rake-thin man – who must have been in his 70s or 80s – pulled on his glittering gold jacket and made a spectacle of himself before an audience of thousands. The crowd may have been surprised, but the cast are used to this kind of spontaneous interaction. There are fans, and then there are Michael Jackson fans.

“They will hunt anything about Michael Jackson down,” says singer Prinnie Stevens. “That’s what Michael Jackson did. He attracted fanatical fans.”

Stevens is one of a sizeable array of singers who bring Jackson’s music to life across the show, and while none are direct impersonations, each seems to embody one aspect of his public image.

“You couldn’t have one person capturing the true essence of the man himself,” says fellow performer Sean Christopher. “It wouldn’t be possible. We’d love to give it a try, each and every one of us, but I don’t think we have that kind of power. It takes a collective of us coming together.”

Christopher himself plays the “vision” of Jackson – the white-suited Smooth Criminal, the “moonwalker that literally floats through the show.” Stevens’ role (which she shares with American singer Samantha Johnson) is an embodiment of the sensual side of Jackson’s music. Others bring to life the soulful MJ, or the funky Off The Wall-era Michael, or his more abrasive rock edge.

“When the producers work with you they see what part of Michael you are,” says Stevens. “They really tap into that. Every person that plays a role will tap into a different segment of Michael.”

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Thriller Live has played across the globe, and while the fans may be a constant wherever it plays, the show itself transforms to meet the expectations of its destination. The track Earth Song has been added for the production’s debut in Australia, for instance, since it was a hit with fans here, but is absent in other countries where it didn’t fare so well. Aural smoothie Human Nature is an omission everywhere but Brazil, where it went down nicely on original release.

For Stevens, it was important that the work was originally created while its subject was still alive. “The guy who wrote the musical was friends with Michael and was actually the head of one of the fan groups. He spoke to Michael and ran everything past him. The thing I loved when I was asked to do it is that it was created innocently on just the pure love of Michael. When he passed away obviously ticket sales went up but I loved that it didn’t capitalise on his passing.”

It’s wrong to go into Thriller Live expecting an objective biography of Michael Jackson. Rather, it’s a biography of his music, and over the course of the show that music develops as much depth as any more conventional stage character. It’s a triumph of sound production that works as a powerful reminder of the sophistication and innovation of many of Jackson’s hits. It also highlights the way Jackson mastered the non-verbal potential of the voice, his trills and clicks and growls providing their own form of percussion.

“It’s all that gritty stuff, but that’s what made Michael,” says Stevens. “The musical director always sends us the a cappellas without any music, because when the music is playing a lot of the times he’s doing a kkk-kkk-ka-ka and he’s doing it at the same time as a drum or whatever. That’s how he gets those rhythms that set him apart from everybody else.”

As the portrait of a musical career develops, however, the figure behind it only becomes more cryptic. “He was such an enigma,” says Christopher. “But you could go to the most remote part the world and ask who the president of America is and they’ve wouldn’t have an idea who you’re talking about. But if you ask who Michael Jackson is they’ll do the moonwalk for you.”

Thriller Live plays the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne from January 28.

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Sony/ATV Appoints Moses Martiny To Vice President Digital, Europe

Sources: Broadway World | All Things Michael

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Sony/ATV Music Publishing has today announced it has appointed Moses Martiny to the role of Vice President Digital, Europe.

In this newly created position Martiny will report into Sony/ATV EVP of Digital & Society Relations Europe Antony Bebawi and work with the company’s international affiliates as well as the UK-based International and Business Affairs teams.

Antony Bebawi said: “I am delighted that Moses has joined us. He brings a complementary set of skills and valuable experience to our team which will further enhance our growing digital licensing business and help us to continue to deliver improved results for our songwriters during these exciting yet challenging times for the music business.”

Moses Martiny said: “I am excited to join the renowned team at Sony/ATV. As the leading music publisher Sony/ATV is playing a key role in enabling and shaping the expanding digital music eco-system. The challenge is to support a vibrant and growing market, while also ensuring fair compensation to the creators of music. I look forward to working closely with digital services and Sony/ATV’s industry partners to evolve the European digital music landscape.”

The new role places Martiny at the centre of the rapidly-expanding and ever-evolving European digital music market and will include him working with digital service providers as they develop new digital music products and services. He will be responsible for key digital negotiations for a range of pan-European services. These will be administered via SOLAR, the joint venture between UK collection society PRS for Music and German society GEMA, which was set up last year to provide services for Sony/ATV and EMI’s pan-European licensing of its Anglo-American repertoire.

Martiny previously worked at UK collection society PRS for Music, which he joined in 2013 as Head of Business Development. This followed him occupying the global role of Director, Digital Business Development at EMI Music and subsequently the Parlophone Label Group where he was responsible for strategic and global distribution deals with leading digital music services.

ABOUT SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING:

Sony/ATV Music Publishing, established in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony and Michael Jackson, is the world’s leading music publisher.

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Together with EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV owns or administers around 3 million copyrights including those from such iconic music catalogs like Leiber & Stoller, Mijac Music, Motown and Famous Music. Sony/ATV also controls many of the best known songs ever written like “New York, New York,” “Hallelujah,” “All You Need Is Love,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Moon River,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “The Mission Impossible Theme,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Over the Rainbow,” “Stand By Me,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” In addition, Sony/ATV represents the copyrights of such legendary artists as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Kraftwerk, Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Richie Sambora, Sting, The Supremes, Wyclef Jean, Hank Williams and Stevie Wonder, among others. Its ever-growing list of chart-topping artists, writers and producers includes Akon, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, P!nk, RedOne, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Stargate, Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Pharrell Williams.

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Casting Call For Invincible: A Glorious Tribute To Michael Jackson

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RossLive Entertainment is looking for talented entertainers for our upcoming INVINCIBLE A GLORIOUS TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL JACKSON season and a new forthcoming production. So please spread the word!!! We have an amazing cast of dedicated performers but we now have the need to expand this cast of amazing performers even further for our upcoming seasons.

We need dancers (modern, jazz, hip hop). B-Boys, tricksters, singers, MJ impersonators and power tumblers.

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Think you have what it takes? Then come to the Millennium Dance Complex at 417 South Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 on  February 7 from 12pm-2pm. Must be available to make weekly rehearsals starting March 2015. See you there!

 

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Sources: Invincible: A Glorious Tribute To Michael Jackson | Edited By – All Things Michael