Michael Jackson’s Personal Chef Prepares King of Pop’s Favorite Foods At Oakland Bakery For His Birthday

Sources: NBCBay Area – BY Tamara Palmer | All Things Michael


Mani Niall was Michael Jackson’s personal chef for two years at the peak of his fame, traveling the world with the star after the release of his seminal albumThriller.

Niall is now an accomplished cookbook author and owner of Oakland’s Sweet Bar Bakery (2355 Broadway). He remembers Jackson with fondness and will celebrate his birthday on Aug. 29 by cooking up some of the King of Pop’s favorite dishes from their time together.

As a Jehovah’s Witness, Jackson never celebrated his birthday when Niall was his chef, so this is Niall’s way of making up for lost time.

“His effect on my life is immeasurable and probably made me get serious about cooking,” Niall said. “It was just a job until I met him. I saw how hard he worked at his craft and it was, well, inspirational. Plus he had fun with the people he met and worked with, sort of like the best part of running a food business.”

Stop in at Sweet Bar starting Friday to try Jackson’s favorite pizza, which had shiitake mushrooms, Japanese eggplant and roasted peppers (“Very Eighties,” Niall joked). For dessert, Niall is serving “‘ookies,” which he likened to pecan sandies, dusted with maple sugar.


Niall said these specials will be offered for about a week.

On a side note, Niall recently spotted himself (clad in a turban) arriving with Jackson at London’s Heathrow Airport in 1985 thanks to a video posted to YouTube.

Read more here 

Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello ‘Burst Into Tears’ While Visiting Michael Jackson’s Childhood Home

Sources: Billboard – By Ashely Lasimone | All Things Michael


On a day off between scheduled concerts in Milwaukee and Buffalo, N.Y., Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello had the opportunity to tour the Gary, Ind., home in which Michael Jackson was raised. According to a series of tweets from Cabello, the experience deeply moved the singer — and it led to her writing words of encouragement to her two million Twitter followers.

Jackson’s childhood home is a small two-bedroom house where he lived with his parents and siblings before finding success with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist.

“Needless to say I burst into tears,” she revealed of her visit to the King of Pop’s original home, before posting a set of inspired tweets telling fans that “you can be who you want to be if you work hard enough.”

Cabello — who was born in Cuba before moving to the U.S. and eventually making it onto The X Factor, where Fifth Harmony was formed — said that she can relate to kids who “don’t think they have a real shot at their dreams because of the circumstances.”

“I thought I didn’t have a shot — no money, no connections, no hope, nothing,” she wrote.

See Cabello’s full message below, as well as tweets from Fifth Harmony’s Ally Brooke Hernandez, who said “it was one of the most surreal, chilling & beautiful experiences.”


Read more here

Dirty Lowdown And Dominican Don Release New Single Tributing Michael Jackson

Sources: Music Industry News | All Things Michael

forever michael

Florida-based artists, Dirty Lowdown and Dominican Don , released a brand new single on Friday, July 31 . The new single, ‘Just A Little Bit Of You,’ is a reworking of the 1975 Michael Jackson classic. The track, distributed by CD Baby, will be available on every major digital music platform and streaming service. (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc.) ‘Just A Little Bit Of You’ was originally released on Michael Jackson’s fourth solo effort, ‘Forever, Michael.’ The soulful nature of the record laid the groundwork for the rest of Jackson’s career, and his departure from the famous Motown Records shortly after opened a new chapter in the young prodigy’s career. (The album was released when Jackson was sixteen.) The late legend passed away six years ago, leaving an incredible legacy and catalogue. He was, after all, the King of Pop.

Dirty Lowdown and Dominican Don shed the Motown vibe of the track for a more contemporary, modernized sound. The two artists are elegantly accented by heavy electronic instrumentation, tight beats, and string sections. There’s also a significant addition of hip-hop lyricism on the latter half of the tune. While remaining faithful and respectful to the original song, both Lowdown and Don take creative liberties when reenergizing it for a new generation.

The creative license that Dirty Lowdown and Dominican Don take with ‘Just A Little Bit Of You’ is widely successful. Paying homage to the King of Pop seems natural and fitting, as the musical lineage of both these artists can most certainly be traced back to Jackson and the Motown sound. In 1975, Jackson charted well with the song, scoring his biggest hit in three years and top honors on both the pop and soul charts. Now, in 2015, forty years later, ‘Just A Little Bit Of You’ is ready to return. Both Dirty Lowdown and Dominican Don are seasoned, veteran performers that have extensive live and studio experience, especially in the Florida area. Dirty Lowdown was previously featured on the song ‘Unstoppable,’ a tune supporting the Miami Heat.

The song was remixed into several versions and was successful in harnessing the community’s support of the team. The single was released under the rising independent label, Mark Of Excellence Productions . Information regarding the artists and the label can be found on the link below.

Read more here


‘Who’s Bad’ A High-Energy Tribute To Michael Jackson


Joseph Bell wanted to bring Michael Jackson back.

About 10 years ago the singer wrote a comeback song for the King of Pop, hoping he would record it and include it on his next album. But June 25, 2009, dashed any chances of that happening, as the superstar performer died at the age of 50.

Jackson never recorded “I’m Back,” but Bell continues to bring him back every time he portrays Jackson in the tribute show “Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Band,” coming to the Santander Performing Arts Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s an honor, it’s a privilege, it feels really right for me,” Bell said. “I’m not trying to be him, I’m just myself. It’s just a great job placement.”

The Atlanta resident is one of two Jackson impersonators in Who’s Bad. The other, Taalib York, was the original Michael when the group formed in 2004. When York briefly left, Bell was asked to audition.

“I thought it was a great idea because so many people compared me to Michael already just being as I already am, you know?” said Bell, 49. “I kept getting people picking me to be their Michael. Disney World, they just hired me to sing, but I was their token Michael Jackson.

“Anyway, I ended up auditioning for the band, and the first song I sang with them was ‘Rock With You.’ And they were surprised to hear the voice. Because most tribute artists don’t sing as well, you see?”

After Jackson’s death, as demand for “Who’s Bad” soared, York came back into the fold. The reunion allows each Jackson to stay fresh. Each can perform the entire show, and in smaller venues only one does, but at bigger shows they switch throughout the performance. Bell said he’s fairly certain the Reading performance will feature both Michaels.

A backing band, including a horn section, and a stable of dancers round out the group.

Joe Giordano Jr., booking and marketing manager for SMG, which manages the Santander Arena and Performing Arts Center, was excited to book the act.

“We were really proud when the show confirmed because we knew the show does very well in our market, and because it is easily the best Michael Jackson tribute out right now,” Giordano said.

As the frontman of a tribute act lauded for its authenticity, you might assume Bell saw the real thing in concert at least once. If you assumed that, you’re a vegetable.

“You know what, man? Never saw Michael live,” Bell said. “And I wanted to meet him so bad.”

Bell and the band boned up by watching Michael’s tours online. To master Jackson’s seminal dance moves, Bell worked with multiple choreographers: Travis Payne, who appeared in Jackson’s “This Is It” concert-rehearsal film, and Frank Gatson, who works with Beyonce and danced in the “Smooth Criminal” video.

Those attending “Who’s Bad” should expect to hear most of Jackson’s biggest hits – Bell said there are so many they couldn’t perform all of them in one night – with a few surprises thrown in.

Does he have a favorite song to perform?

“There’s too many, man, that’s not even a fair question,” he said.

Then, after some thought: “Actually, I love ‘Earth Song’ and ‘Man in the Mirror.’ I also love his new ‘Love Never Felt So Good.’ ”

Jackson’s death put the focus back on the music, where it hadn’t been for the last 15 years of his life. No longer was he tabloid fodder, he was simply the late writer/performer of a monumental body of work.

And while his life may be over, his soul (and his funk and rock) remain quite alive. Rarely does a week go by without at least one of his albums selling enough copies to place in the Billboard 200 chart. This week he has two: “The Essential Michael Jackson” at No. 95 and “Bad” at No. 152.

“There’s some type of magic, I don’t know what it is, but Michael attracts generations of people,” Bell said. “No matter where we go around the world, his music is like a universal language that somehow the generations just catch on to. I don’t know of another artist that has attracted as many younger fans as Michael Jackson continues to attract, even after being gone.

“He’s like a musical prophet and a superhero combined. I just think he’s a phenomenon, and I don’t know if we’ll ever see anything like that again.”


Sources: OnTap – By Jon Fasnacht | All Things Michael

Iris Ornig Reimagines Michael Jackson At Marlboro’s Falcon

Sources: Live at The Falcon | All Things Michael


Bassist and composer Iris Ornig is one of the most original female voices on today’s New York jazz scene. Since her arrival in New York City in 2003 from Germany, she has played with an impressive roster of some of the City’s most influential contemporary jazz musicians, including Gretchen Parlato, Ambrose Akinmusire, Joel Frahm, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Michael Rodriguez, Rebecca Martin, Allison Miller, Sachal Vasandani, Helen Sung, Marcus Gilmore and Dan Tepfer, among others.

Iris Ornig is a huge fan of Michael! He was a master of his style, and a supremely creative dance innovator. Iris created arrangements of Michael’s hit songs, honoring his creative spirit through jazz – twisting tunes, shifting rhythms, exploding arrangements and exploring new harmonies,  challenging herself as a musician, composer and arranger. Her goal was to interpret Michael’s music, honoring the “King of Pop,” as a jazz artist.


Iris’s latest CD, “No Restrictions”, has earned extremely positive reviews from Downbeat (one of the Best Albums 2013), Jazziz, All About Jazz, and The New York City Jazz Record, to name a few.

Read more here

2015 PBS Arts Fall Festival Celebrates Fifth Anniversary Season With Latin Tribute To Michael Jackson

Sources: PBS.org | All Things Michael

BEVERLY HILLS, CA; August 1, 2015 — PBS President Paula Kerger announced today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour the full lineup and airdates of PBS’ annual arts programming showcase. The 2015 PBS Arts Fall Festival returns October 9, 2015 at 9:00 p.m. ET, celebrating its fifth season, with eight new weekly programs. The Festival will launch with the inventive, high-energy UNITYTHE LATIN TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL JACKSON, hosted by the legendary and world-renowned percussionist Sheila E. and featuring Michael Jackson’s greatest hits interpreted by award-winning Latin artists.

Audiences will be put in the Halloween spirit on October 30 when the previously unannounced LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER presents “Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton” (w.t.) airs featuring scores from blockbuster films such as Batman, Beetlejuice, Alice in Wonderland and more. Fresh off of her recent Tony-nominated Broadway run, GREAT PERFORMANCES brings  “Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do” on November 6. This year’s PBS Arts Fall Festival welcomes many more of Broadway and Hollywood’s biggest names, including Vanessa Williams, Norm Lewis, Julian Ovendon from “Downton Abbey” on MASTERPIECE, Tony Shalhoub, Andrea Martin and Andrea Bocelli, among others.

The PBS Arts Fall Festival is an annual cornerstone of PBS’ Friday primetime lineup, reaching more than 15 million viewers last season and underscoring PBS’ ongoing commitment to give audiences the best of the arts on-air and online. This year, the Festival will be hosted by seven-time Grammy Award-winning international music superstar Gloria Estefan, whose own musical journey with her husband Emilio, is told in the new Broadway musical ON YOUR FEET!, premiering in October at the Marquis Theatre in New York City.

“The fifth annual PBS Arts Fall Festival is a celebration of performing arts and music from the stage and screen, from the pop charts, and more. Gloria Estefan serving as this year’s host and a Latin tribute to the music of Michael Jackson are among the many highlights of this year’s festival programming,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “The festival is an enduring testament to PBS’ longstanding commitment to the arts, which is reinforced with this fall’s lineup of our signature quality programming and exciting performances that will captivate audiences.”

“The Festival spans generations and genres with contemporary hits, Broadway legends and tributes to groundbreaking artists, with an additional spotlight this year on Latin music stars,” said PBS Vice President of Programming and festival curator, Donald Thoms. “This season promises to be spectacular for the arts on PBS, and reinforces our commitment to arts and diversity programming.”


Friday, October 9, 9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. ET

World-class drummer and percussionist Sheila E. hosts a concert special that showcases award-winning Latin artists and a 37-piece orchestra performing Latin-infused arrangements of the songs on Tony Succar’s album Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson. The album and concert feature 16 songs that inspired musicians from all over Latin America to come together to celebrate and reimagine hits such as “Smooth Criminal,” “I Want You Back” and “Billie Jean.” On its release in April 2015, the album topped the Amazon Latin World Music Charts, the iTunes World Music Charts and the Billboard Tropical Charts at #1. Produced by Unity Entertainment Corporation and Oregon Public Broadcasting in association with Universal Music Classics.


See more of the full PBS Arts Fall Festival lineup here

Jackson 5 Founder Recalls Michael Jackson

Sources: Daily Express | All Things Michael


Kota Kinabalu: Not many can claim they had been a father figure in the art scene to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. And not many can share meaningful moments they had with him, too.

Motown legend Bobby Taylor, 81, who is in town for the Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival, is among the few who was entitled to that privilege.

“We were together from the time he was eight till he was 15. Thriller is my favourite,” said Taylor, who discovered Jackson 5, a band which Michael was part of with his siblings when they performed at the Regal Theatre in Chicago.

“We did Want You Back, ABC, I’ll Be There, Maybe Tomorrow, Ben and he and I just clicked. In fact, the fondest memory I had with him would be him falling asleep on my lap when we worked at the Regal Theatre.

“He stayed with me all the time and wouldn’t leave, and we were at the theatre from 9am till 12 midnight for ten straight days. Those memories are the ones I cherish the most,” he added.

Taylor was set to perform alongside local talents such as Liyana Fizi, May Mow, and Akademi Fantasia 2013 winner from Tawau Faizul Sany & The Hybrid apart from outside acts such as Gugun Blues Shelter and The Rio Sidik Quartet from Indonesia and Shun Ng from the US, on Friday.

The music fest will end on Saturday. Around 4,000 music fans are expected.


Read the entire article at Daily Express

MJ Tribute: Youth Musical “The Glove” Coming To Anthony Bean Theater, New Orleans

Sources: The Times-Picayune | All Things Michael

Fullscreen capture 7232015 83251 AM

A youth musical, “The Glove,” will be presented July 24-26 and 31 and Aug. 1-2 with Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. at Anthony Bean Community Theater, 1333 S.  Carrollton Ave. in New Orleans. Tickets are $15. For information or tickets, call 504.862.7529.

Anthony Bean Community Theater and New Orleans Recreation Development Commission are working together to present the show, written and directed by  Bean.

The show features James Compton V, Brittani Johnson, Chyleah Green and Alivia Duplessis.

In the show, the year is 2011 and Michael Duplesis, a devoted fan and namesake of Michael Jackson, is having a hard time dealing with the death of the amazing mega star. Michael D’s only wish is to own one of the infamous gloves of his idol. The glove he believes is the source of Jackson’s power. He believes the glove gave Michael Jackson the ability to stand on his toes, kick his legs up and moonwalk across the stage.

Fullscreen capture 7232015 83210 AM

(center) James Compton V plays the lead Michael Duplesis.

Jackson’s hits such as “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Beat IT,” and “Billy Jean” will be featured in the show. More than 75 ABCT/NORDC summer campers ages 7-17 will perform in a tribute to Jackson.

The creative team includes: Vic Woodward (scenic), Lyn Caliva (lighting designer), Kiersten Moore (choreography), Asia Nelson (vocal directions), Ms. B (costumes), and Staci Tolliver (stage manager.)


Read more here