Support MJ Photographer Christophe Boulmé For The 2015 LensCulture Portrait Awards

Sources: LensCulture | Thanks to Elke Hassell for sending | All Things Michael


Photo © Christophe Boulmé

The LensCulture Portrait Awards is the 2nd annual call for international portrait photography. The importance of portraiture is present in cultures across the world, illustrating the power and endurance of human connection. With over 145 countries represented on LensCulture, in over 15 languages, we’re seeking new global perspectives on the modern day portrait. This is an open call for portrait photography from around the world. 6 Winners and 25 Finalists will be chosen.

To celebrate the wonderful range of portraits which have been coming in to the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2015 competition, we’re offering real-time exposure right here on Facebook. Check back for regular installments of our Editors’ favorite new entries — before the judging begins.

Want to see your photo here? Submit your work NOW to be considered for early exposure plus a shot at many more exciting awards.

Submission Deadline: March 2, 2015

Like and share this post to support Christophe Boulmé’s photo of Michael on Facebook. Click here


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Five Michael Jackson Songs That Charted Higher Internationally Than In The US

Sources: Idolator – Mike Wass| All Things Michael


August 29 would have been Michael Jackson‘s 56th birthday. It boggles the mind to think what treasures the King of Pop could have created if he were still alive but his legacy is so incredibly vast that there’s always something new to discover. To celebrate the life of the gloved genius, I’ve put together a list of five singles that performed considerably better overseas than at home.

It’s hard to fathom how classic tracks like 1995′s environmental awareness-raising “Earth Song” could be the highest-selling MJ single of all time in the UK but not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. That has a lot to do with the way charts were compiled in the ’90s and the lack of a physical release but it still feels completely wrong. Discover over such cases after the jump.

1. “Heal The World”

The sixth single from Dangerous only reached number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1992 but the inspiring ballad performed considerably better in Europe. It peaked at number three in Germany and number two in France and the UK.

2. “Give In To Me”

The next single from Dangerous received even less love stateside, where it didn’t garner an official release. However, the rock anthem received a lot of attention around the world. It peaked at number one in New Zealand, number four in Australia and number two in the UK.

3. “Earth Song”

As I mentioned earlier, “Earth Song” wasn’t given an official released in the US in 1995. Meanwhile, it’s MJ’s highest-selling single in the UK where it spent six weeks at number one. It also topped the charts in Spain, Switzerland and Germany.

4. “Stranger In Moscow”

This is one of my all-time favorite Michael Jackson songs because I think it gives astonishing insight into the loneliness he was feeling at the time. The HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book Isingle reached number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100 but topped the charts in Italy and Spain. It also reached number four in the UK and 14 in Australia.


5. “Blood On The Dance Floor”

The lead single from the pop icon’s 1997 Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix remix album, “Blood On The Dance Floor” stalled at number 42 in the US but reached number one in New Zealand, Spain and the UK.


Read more at Idolator


Tame Impala Unveil Michael Jackson Cover ‘Stranger In Moscow’

Source: Music Feeds – By Greg Moskovitch


ARIA award winning Perth-bred rock and roll impressionists Tame Impala have unveiled a cover ofMichael Jackson‘s 1996 single Stranger In Moscow from his 1995 double-album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The band unveiled the track “fresh out of the the oven” via Twitter.

MJ’s hit takes a characteristically Kevin Parker turn for this cover, with the track aglow in phasing, watery atmospherics, lighter-than-helium synth chords, Parker’s trademark from-beyond vocals, and a heartbeat rhythm that sounds as though it was pulled from Massive Attack‘s sound library.

The Perth boys recently collided with the world of hip-hop, collaborating with acclaimed rapper and fellow Grammy nominee Kendrick Lamar on a reworking of their Lonerism single, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards, for the soundtrack to the upcoming teen-fantasy blockbuster Divergent.

Listen: Tame Impala – Stranger in Moscow (Michael Jackson Cover)

Michael Jackson – Stranger In Moscow original

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From The Vault: Michael Jackson “Stranger In Moscow”

Source: That’s Grape Juice


This week’s From The Vault spotlights yet another magnificent track, courtesy of the King Of Pop himself: it’s Michael Jackson‘s ‘Stranger In Moscow’.

‘Moscow’ was the last of five singles to be released from Mike’s 1995 ‘HIStory’ album. A qualitative classic, the Jackson produced cut remains a fan favorite thanks largely to its honesty and vulnerability. Written at the height of MJ’s 93 legal drama – first as a poem then developed into a full fledged-song – ‘Moscow’ deals with isolation and solitude. The slow pace and minor-key arrangements convey that very sentiment of sadness and loneliness.

While remaining rather composed throughout the bulk of the track, the bridge sees the vocalist burst out in anger, releasing his frustration about being mistreated and misunderstood.

In the US – where Jackson’s profile wasn’t at its best following much publicized controversy – the gem only peaked in the lower tier of the Hot 100, precisely at #91, but fared much better in Europe where it ascended to #4 in the UK, #1 in Spain, and #18 in France. In Australia the song reached the 14th position of the charts and peaked at #6 in New Zealand.

The black and white Nick Brandt-directed video mirrors the track’s theme and depicts sombre-looking characters including Jackson wandering the streets while the other passersby run counter in slow-motion – which is symbolism for the song’s lyrical narrative, as is the rain at the end of the video. Impressive CGI was used as often was the case with the visual artist’s biggest videos.

When it comes to fusing music and video together, it – quite literally – doesn’t get any better than Michael Jackson. Hopefully today’s talent follow in his footsteps and internalize the importance of delivering sounds and visuals that so envelope pushing that once opened they inspire generations to come. The likes of Beyonce and Lady GaGa are – at least – trying, but the industry would benefit from more.

There’s only one King Of Pop, that much is a given. Yet, the new generation would benefit from seeing his achievements and innovations as a challenge, rather than resting on their laurels. Momentary popularity is fleeting, greatness is ever-lasting.

Game Trailers Investigate Michael Jackson’s Involvement with Sonic 3

Source: Sonic Stadium / Game Trailers

The age old debate of Michael Jackson’s involvement in the production of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack is nothing new; in fact, it’s something that has been fairly well documented, prominently by the Sonic community, over the last decade. In recent years however, those who were actually involved in the 1993 title have come forward to offer their version of events on the matter.

Game Trailers have produced a 15-minute video detailing the past findings, plus have a few more new interviews, including a video interview with Richard Hector, in which he goes into further detail on his statements made way back in 2005.

The verdict? Well, you will just have to watch!

Check out the video at

Photographer, Director Nick Brandt To Speak At Fundraiser For Big Life Foundation

Source: Big Life Foundation/Wikipedia


On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, Hasted Kraeutler Gallery will host a benefit reception to support Big Life Foundation.  The evening will include a talk by Nick Brandt, co-founder of Big Life Foundation, an exhibition of Nick’s recent work and book release of “Across The Ravaged Land”, as well as an auction of his photographs.

Nick has directed many award-winning music videos for Michael Jackson (Earth Song, Stranger In Moscow, Cry and One More Chance), Moby, Jewel (singer), XTC, Badly Drawn Boy).

It was while directing “Earth Song” short film for Jackson in Tanzania in 1995, that Brandt fell in love with the animals and land of East Africa. Over the next few years, frustrated that he could not capture on film his feelings about and love for animals, he realized there was a way to achieve this through photography, in a way that he felt no-one had really done before.

In 2000, Brandt embarked upon his ambitious photographic project: a trilogy of books to memorialize the vanishing natural grandeur of East Africa. His photography bears little relation to the colour documentary-style wildlife photography that is the norm. He photographs on medium-format black and white film without telephoto or zoom lenses. Brandt does not use telephoto lenses because he believes that being close to the animals make a huge difference in his ability to reveal their personality. He writes: “You wouldn’t take a portrait of a human being from a hundred feet away and expect to capture their spirit; you’d move in close.

In September 2010, in urgent response to the escalation of poaching in Africa due to increased demand from the Far East, Nick Brandt founded the non-profit organization called Big Life Foundation, dedicated to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems. With one of the most spectacular elephant populations in Africa being rapidly diminished by poachers, the Amboseli ecosystem, which straddles both Kenya and Tanzania, became the Foundation’s large-scale pilot project. Headed up in Kenya by renowned conservationist Richard Bonham, multiple fully equipped teams of anti-poaching rangers have been placed in newly built outposts in the critical areas throughout the 2-million-acre (8,100 km2) + area, resulting in a dramatically reduced incidence of killing and poaching of wildlife in the ecosystem.

The completion of Nick Brandt’s trilogy: “On This Earth, A Shadow Falls Across The Ravaged Land.” Release date, September 3, 2013 (Abrams Books, 2013), documents the disappearing natural world and animals of East Africa. This is the third and final volume of Nick Brandt’s work which reveals the darker side of his vision of East Africa’s animal kingdom and the juxtaposition of mankind. The trilogy marks the last decade of a stunning world of the beauty of East Africa’s Serengeti, Marsai Mara, Amboseli, and ends with a dark and well-known unhappy ending.

“Across The Ravaged Land” introduces humans in his photography for the first time exhibiting the cost of poachers, killing for profit. One such example is Ranger with Tusks of Killed Elephant, Amboseli 2011. This photograph features one of the rangers employed by Big Life Foundation, the Foundation that Nick Brandt started in 2010. The ranger holds the tusks of an elephant killed by poachers in the years prior to the Foundation’s inception.

100% of print proceeds will go to Big Life

Still A Stranger In Moscow

Still A Stranger In Moscow


I wrote this fictional short story based on what I believe Michael experienced when he was treated as an outcast back in the early 90’s and later in 2005 after the trial. Even though he is gone, it still ties in to what is happening now. Put yourself in his place as you read it.

This was not written with the intention to make anyone feel worse than we already do. I’m hoping that it will change some folks thinking about him. It’s time for the world to stop beating up on Michael Jackson and let this dear soul rest in peace. CP ♥


I sit in the dark, staring out the window. I see people passing by on the street below.  I stay carefully just out of view so no one can see me, but I can see everything.  Hoards of fans line the streets, shouting out my name.  The paparazzi hounds stand on the other side with their cameras ready. The police try to keep them all at bay. Not even the love of my sweet fans brings me comfort. I walk this battle alone. No one knows what it feels like to be me. I can’t even utter the words to adequately explain it, but I feel like the loneliest man on the planet: a prisoner of my vast success and human failures.

I’ve been sitting here for hours thinking. My thoughts have a mind of their own, going in aimless directions. My head feels like it’s about to bust. I see nothing but shadows and memories of times past. The outside daylight slowly turns to evening.  Another isolated and sleepless night stretches before me. The headlines keep whirling through my mind.  The mere thought of what they are saying about me makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t eat and I can barely drink anything.  People keep offering me food, but I refuse.  I want to be left alone. My team says that they “will handle it” and “don’t worry, this will all blow over.” Easy for them to say, it’s not their reputation. I see them huddle in the corner, whispering. I pretend not to notice.  They anxiously glance my way every now and then.   I want to believe them, but my resolve of hope has quickly turned into pools of tears and despair. 

My mind goes back to the time when I was a little boy, whose biggest dream was to be the world’s greatest entertainer.  I could see nothing else when I was young. I even dreamt about it.  I practiced and worked day and night to perfect my skills. I wrote notes everywhere to remind me. Many people say that I have achieved everything, but I say I’ve only scratched the surface.  If they could only see what I see in my mind, they would know that I haven’t.

For the first time, I’m really scared about what lies ahead of me in the future. I’ve asked myself many times, how did I get to this place?  I’ve only tried to help people and to show love.  In return I get mockery and even hate towards me. Tears flow down my cheeks again.  Anger flashes through me.

 “Why are they doing this to me?”  I ask the bright moonlit sky. “How can anyone ever think that I…..”

I choke, sobbing. My head throbs. I can’t even bare to think the thought, much less say the words.  Anguish and fear overcome me.

“Help me God, please help me!” I softly cry to the night sky. Like an answer to my prayer, my mind goes back to the words of a hymn we use to sing at Kingdom Hall:

Though ropes of death encircle me, I call to you,

“Jehovah, give me strength and give me courage too.”

From your own temple dwelling, you hear my plea, “Shelter me;

Rescue me, O my God.

I sniff and wipe away my tears with the back of my hand. I realize that God is listening and he hasn’t left me. That’s a start. As my crying ceases, my thoughts become clearer. I remember a line I read in the book “The Bridge of Beyond,” by  Simone Schwarz-Bart.

Every day you must arise and say to your heart, ‘I have suffered enough and now I must live because the light of the sun must not be wasted, it must not be lost without an eye to appreciate it’.”

I begin to feel a small glimmer of hope in my heart as I remember the tale of Telumee ‘s courageous story . Lord knows I have suffered enough.

The next morning:

Surprisingly, I slept last night.  I wake up to find myself splayed across the bed. I remember lying down to read to refocus my attention.  After many hours, close to daylight, I somehow drifted off to sleep.  Thankfully, nothing from the hours before plagued me during that brief siesta. I look out the window and I see the rain falling down.  The fans are still there, some getting soaked because they have no umbrellas.  I send my folks out to buy them umbrellas and food.  I still refuse to eat but I manage to drink some orange juice, which is a small victory to them. The rhythm of the rain lures me back to my hidden spot by the window, as if trying to wash away the former days of pain. I hear a melody in my head that keeps growing. I begin to hum it out. Music comes once again to heal my soul.  All have I left is the music. This is how I want to be remembered in the history of eternity. I must get my tape recorder to help me remember this.

Years later:

It’s been many years since those dark days.  I did survive, but the same issues came back later on with a vengeance. I’ve lost practically everything: my home, my peace of mind. Outside of my fans, my reputation is soiled and burnt.  What will I do? Who will ever want to listen to me sing again? I have children now that I have to provide for. I must protect them at all costs. I don’t want their lives to be ruined because of me.  So I hide my pain from them as best I can.  Thankfully, they are too young to know right now. They aren’t allowed to use the internet or watch TV except for their schooling. But someday I know they will find out. I pray that I will have to the right words to explain when they are old enough to understand. I can’t think about that now, I must find a way to a get a new place that we can call home. I don’t want to forever be in exile.

2 Kings: When Biggie Smalls Crossed Michael Jackson’s Path

Source: madandcrazy (Published June 27, 2009)/The Michael Jackson World Network


I was fortunate enough to work with MJ early in my career. He was an incredible artist. Talented beyond your wildest dreams. Extremely generous, and a hard worker. I actually went from a staff assistant at the Hit Factory in NYC to freelance engineer under Swedien and MJ. They were due to start in Los Angeles when the Northridge earthquake hit so they moved to New York. One room was all Bruce, the second room was the writing room. I started assisting Bruce’s writing partner Rene Moore. I would track stuff with Rene, and Bruce would come in and tell me what I did wrong, sit in for a few hours and set us straight. After a couple months MJ arrived and the entire tour rig was moved in along with Brad Buxer, Andrew Scheps, and Eddie Delena. I continued to assist them until the whole crew moved to L.A., they decided to take me with them. I would assist Bruce during the day, and help out every where else at night – assisting, engineering, programming, and on one song playing guitar. We had two rooms at Record One, and two rooms at Larrabee where I met John. At one point in NYC we had just about every room at the Hit Factory. The crew was great, and I learned so much from all of them. I learned to engineer from Bruce Swedien, John, and Eddie, and got to sit in with producers like MJ, Jam And Lewis, Babyface, David Foster, Teddy Riley, and Dallas Austin.

I was actually asked to leave the project early on because there were too many people around and MJ didn’t know me. Luckily, I was rehired about 10 days later. At the wrap party MJ apologized profusely, and expressed his gratitude. Truly the most sincere man you will ever meet.

Some random memories:

One morning MJ came in with a new song he had written overnight. We called in a guitar player, and Michael sang every note of every chord to him. “here’s the first chord first note, second note, third note. Here’s the second chord first note, second note, third note”, etc., etc. We then witnessed him giving the most heartfelt and profound vocal performance, live in the control room through an SM57.

He would sing us an entire string arrangement, every part. Steve Porcaro once told me he witnessed MJ doing that with the string section in the room. Had it all in his head, harmony and everything. Not just little eight bar loop ideas. he would actually sing the entire arrangement into a micro-cassette recorder complete with stops and fills.

At one point Michael was angry at one of the producers on the project because he was treating everyone terribly. Rather than create a scene or fire the guy, Michael called him to his office/lounge and one of the security guys threw a pie in his face. No further action was needed . . . . .

During the recording of “Smile” on HIStory, Bruce thought it would be great if Michael would sing live with the orchestra. But of course, we didn’t tell the players that. We set him up in a vocal booth off to the side. They rehearsed a bit without vocals in, then during the first take Michael sang, just about knocked them out of their chairs.

His beatboxing was without parallel, and his time was ridiculous.

His sense of harmony was incredible. Never a bad note, no tuning, even his breathing was perfectly in time.

Once, while we were taking a break, I think we were actually watching the OJ chase on TV, there was a news program talking about him being in Europe with some little boy. I was sitting next to the guy while the news is making this crap up. He just looked at me and said this is what I have to deal with.

I spent close to 3 years working with him, and not once did I question his morals, or ever believe any of the allegations. I wasn’t even a fan then. I saw him interact with his brothers kids, other people’s children, and at one point my own girlfriend’s kids. I got to spend a day at Neverland with them. A completely incredible human being, always looking for a way to make all children’s lives better. Every weekend at Neverland was donated to a different children’s group – children with AIDS, children cancer, etc., and most of the time he wasn’t there.

He was simply living the childhood he never had. In many ways he never grew up.

I was assisting Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis while they recorded the background vocals for “Scream” with MJ and Janet. The two of them singing together was amazing. Super tight, no bad notes. One part after another. When they took a break they sang the showtunes they used to sing as kids. Again, perfect harmony. Mj refused to sing the “stop f*ckin’ with me part” because he would NOT curse.

I was the tape op for the recording of the background vocals on “Stranger in Moscow”. Scared the hell out me. Michael was dropping in and out on syllables, rearranging the notes and timing as he put it down. No Pro Tools at the time, just 2″ tape, and my punches.

I erased a live keyboard overdub that he played one night. He came in the next morning, replaced it, and never uttered another word about it.

I was there when Lisa Marie was around. They acted like two kids in love. Held hands all the time, and she hung out at the studio for quite a while. I never questioned their love for each other.

We recorded a Christmas song during the summer of ’94 that needed a children’s choir. Michael insisted that the entire studio be decorated with xmas lights, tree, fake snow and a sled for their recording. And he bought presents for everyone.

The last weekend of recording on HIStory he came to me and Eddie Delena, and said “I’m sorry, but I don’t think any of us are going to sleep this weekend. There’s a lot to get done, and we have to go to Bernie on Monday morning”. He stayed at the studio the entire time, singing, and mixing. I got to spend a couple quiet moments with him during that time. We talked about John Lennon one night as he was gearing up to sing the last vocal of the record – the huge ad libs at the end of “earth song”. I told him the story of John singing “twist and shout” while being sick, and though most people think he was screaming for effect, it was actually his voice giving out. He loved it, and then went in to sing his heart out. . . .


Later that night, while mixing, everyone left the room so MJ could turn it up. This was a common occurrence during the mixes, and I was left in the room with ear plugs, and hands over my ears, in case he needed something. This particular night, all the lights were out and we noticed some blue flashes intermittently lighting up the room during playback. After a few moments we could see that one of the speakers (custom quad augspuergers) was shooting blue flames. Mj liked this and proceeded to push all the faders up . . . .

MJ liked hot water while he was singing. I mean really hot !!!!! It got to the point that I would melt plastic spoons to test it.

Bruce and I were talking about walking to the studio everyday in NYC, and what routes we took. Michael looked at us and said we were so lucky to be able to do that. He couldn’t walk down the street without being harassed. It was a sad moment for all of us.

The studio crew got free tickets to the Janet show so we all went right from work one night. About halfway through the show we see this dude with a long beard, dressed in robes dancing in the aisle behind. I mean really dancing . . . it was Mj in disguise. Kind of like the costume Chevy Chase wears in Fletch while roller skating.

He got one of the first playstations from sony in his lounge . . . we snuck in late at night to play the games that hadn’t been released yet.

A couple people on the session hadn’t seen Jurassic Park while it was out, so MJ arranged a private screening for us at Sony.

He was a huge fan of Nine Inch Nails Downward Spiral . . 

I was lucky enough over the course of 3 years to have access to the multitrack masters for tour prep, videos, and archive purposes. To be able to pull these tracks apart was a huge lesson in production, and songwriting. A chance to look into the minds of geniuses.

Of all the records I’ve worked on, MJJ was the only company to give platinum award records.

One day we just all sat in the studio listening to his catalog with him for inspiration. He loved the process, he loved the work. ~ Rob Hoffman


June 28, 2009


By the way, to elaborate a bit on the Notorious B.I.G. session, it was kinda like this. Michael used to call people to ask them to participate on albums. It was interesting knowing that nearly anyone on the planet would come to the phone if it were Michael calling. Anyway, I heard rumors that B.I.G. was going to come, and I was excited about that! I knew that I would be the one to record that, as I had recorded nearly all of that tune, “This Time Around”.

So, Dallas and I were expecting him any minute, and pretty much on time, Notorious strolls in. He was quite an imposing figure when he walked in, as he was quite popular at the time. I had no idea what to expect from him in terms of attitude, but he seemed nice when he walked in. No problem. But almost immediately, he blurted out, “Yo, Dallas, can I meet Mike?” To which, Dallas replied that he thought so. Biggie went on to talk about how much this opportunity meant to him, as Michael was his hero. Anyway, Dallas tells him that we’re going to lay down the rap first, so Biggie heads in the booth, we get some headphone levels and get ready to start recording.

So, we hit the big red button (on a Sony 3348 machine), and away we go. During his first take, Dallas and I looked at each other, because it was spot on. wow. I was impressed, and so was Dallas. We listened back, and Dallas was like, “Wow, I think we got it”. As I recall, we took another take for good measure, but I’m fairly certain that we ended up using the first take. So, Notorious comes in, and asks if he can meet Michael now. We sent word to the back room where Michael was working that Biggie was finished and wanted to meet him.

Simply for security, Michael’s security would enter and make sure that no one was in the room that shouldn’t be, and once that was confirmed (it was just me, Biggie and Dallas), Michael came in. Biggie nearly broke out in tears…I could tell how much this meant to him. Well, Michael could have this effect on anyone, even the most hardcore rappers! Biggie was tripping up on his words, bowing down and telling Michael how much his music had meant to him in his life. Michael was, as always, very humble and kept smiling while Biggie just went on and on how much he loved Michael. I watched Biggie just become this big butterball of a man, and it was really very sweet to witness. After all, we are all just people.

Michael finally asked to hear what we had done, and we popped it up on the big speakers and let her go. Michael LOVED it and was excited to tell Biggie that! “Oh, let’s hear it again”, I recall Michael saying, and we listened again. Michael just loved it…and thanked Biggie for coming all the way from Philadelphia. Biggie asked rather sheepishly whether he could get a photo, and Michael agreed. A shot was taken, we listened again, and Michael thanked Biggie. Michael said goodbye and stepped out, leaving Biggie standing there looking completely stunned.

It will always remain a great, great memory.