"Michael was embodiment of music."
Slash, guitarist Guns´n´Roses
"He was music. He embodied the music."
Kenny Ortega, director
"Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it — my music, I know I will live forever."
"I always wanted to do music that influences and inspires each generation. Lets face it, who wants mortality?"
Michael Jackson, Ebony interview, 2007
"People ask me how I make music. I tell them I just step into it. It’s like stepping into a river and joining the flow. Every moment in the river has its song. So I stay in the moment and listen.
What I hear is never the same. A walk through the woods brings a light, crackling song: Leaves rustle in the wind, birds chatter and squirrels scold, twigs crunch underfoot and the beat of my heart holds it all together. When you join the flow, the music is inside and outside, and both are the same. As long as I can listen to the moment, I’ll always have music."
Michael Jackson in his book Dancing the Dream
"The songwriting process is something very difficult to explain, because it's very spiritual. It's, uh...You really have it in the hands of God, and it's as if its been written already - that's the real truth. As if its been written in its entirety before were born and you're just really the source through which the song come. Really. Because there is...they just fall right into your lap in it's entirety. You don't have to do much thinking about it. And I feel guilty having to put my name, sometimes, on the songs that I - I do write them - I compose them, I write them, I do the scoring, I do the lyrics, I do the melodies but still, it's a...it's a work of God."
Michael Jackson, online audio chat, October 21st, 2001
"I love to write songs. It´s one of my favourite things to do. It´s very spiritual. It´s a connection. I´m just a source through which it comes. I´m inspired by a lot of things but it´s done in the heavens. I listen to the music and I just create from there."
“Writing a song is like standing under a tree and trying to catch a leaf. Everything comes as a package. It’s the most wonderful, most spiritual thing …”
Michael Jackson, 1993
“I wake up from dreams and go “Wow, put this down on paper.” The whole thing is strange. You hear the words, everything is right there in front of your face.”
"I wrote ‘Will You Be There’ at my house, Neverland in California… I didn’t think about it hard. That’s why it’s hard to take credit for the songs that I write, because I just always feel that it’s done from above. I feel fortunate for being that instrument through which music flows. I’m just the source through which it comes. I can’t take credit for it because it’s God’s work. He’s just using me as the messenger…"
Michael Jackson in Ebony Jet interview, May 1992
Question: "Where do you look for inspiration when you write your songs. Does inspiration come from a variety of different places?“
Michael Jackson: "Well, the best songs that are written write themselves. You don't ask for them, they just drop into your lap. Then there are those songs that, you know, you kind of uh, incubate. You know, you plant the seed, let the subconscious take its course, and within time you hope something comes, and most the time it does. I don't believe in the concept of writer's block -- that is a bad word. You create it when you say it. There's no such thing. Um, like any painter or sculptor, they paint... they do their best work when they're in the 60s and their 70s. Fred Astaire did his best dancing when he was in his 70s. Angelo [Michelangelo] sculpted late into his 60s and 70s, doing brilliant ingenious work. But in the music business some of these great artists have become stumped because they self-abuse themselves at a young age, with all these crazy things they drink and pills and things, and uh, that's just not good -- just not a good thing. I hate to say that to hurt anybody, but we should take care of our bodies a little more.
Online audio chat Oct 26th 2001
"We would work on a track and then we’d meet at his house, play what we worked on, and he would say, ‘Smelly, let it talk to you.’ I’d go, ‘OK.’ He’d say, ‘If the song needs something, it’ll tell you. Let it talk to you.’ I’ve learned to do that. The key to being a wonderful writer is not to write. You just get out of the way. Leave room for God to walk in the room. And when I write something that I know is right, I get on my knees and say thank you. Thank you, Jehovah!"
Michael Jackson about working with Quinci Jones, Ebony Magazine 2007
Question: How do you channel your creativity?
Michael: I don’t force it, I let nature take its course. I don’t sit at the piano and think, I’m going to write the greatest song of all time. It doesn’t happen. It has to be given to you. I believe it’s already up there before you are born, and then it drops right into your lap. It’s the most spiritual thing in the world. When it comes, it comes with all the accompaniments, the strings, the bass, the drums, the lyrics, and you’re just the medium through which it comes, the channel. Sometimes I feel guilty putting my name on songs — written by Michael Jackson — because it’s as if the heavens have done it already. Like Michelangelo would have this huge piece of marble from the quaries of Italy, and he’d say, “Inside is a sleeping form.” He takes a hammer and chisel, and he’s just freeing it. It’s already in there. It’s already there.
Vibe Magazine, March 2002
"Once he went on his knees and started playing piano in the barn. He played a few notes then began singing. It was a love song and sounded really good and he had actually written it right there in front of me. It was amazing to watch, it took him about 6 minutes. When he got up I said did you just write that? He said ´yeah, but I have forgotten it already´. Then he started looking for something else to do. No matter what his problems are, the man is a complete genius."
Robert MCGibbon, story from the rehab where Michael stayed in 1993
"I´m committed to my art. I believe that all art has as its ultimate goal the union between the material and the spiritual, the human and the divine. And I believe that that is the very reason for the existence of art and what I do. And I feel fortunate in being that instrument through which music flows…
Deep inside I feel that this world we live in is really a big, huge, monumental symphonic orchestra. I believe that in its primordial form all of creation is sound and that it’s not just random sound, that it’s music. You’ve heard the expression, music of the spheres? Well, that’s a very literal phrase. In the Gospels, we read, “And the Lord God made man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” That ‘breath of life’ to me is the music of life and it permeates every fiber of creation.
In one of the pieces of the ‘Dangerous’ album, I say: “Life songs of ages, throbbing in my blood, have danced the rhythm of the tide and flood.” This is a very literal statement, because the same new miracle intervals and biological rhythms that sound out the architecture of my DNA also governs the movement of the stars. The same music governs the rhythm of the seasons, the pulse of our heartbeats, the migration of birds, the ebb and flow of ocean tides, the cycles of growth, evolution and dissolution. It’s music, it’s rhythm. And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance. It’s like, my purpose, it’s what I’m here for."
Michael Jackson, Ebony/Jet Interview, May 1992
"I think music soothes the savage beast. If you put cells under a microscope and you put music on, you’ll see them move and start to dance. It affects the soul… I hear music in everything."
Michael Jackson Ebony/Jet Interview, May 1992
"Once the music plays, it creates me. The instruments move me, they control me. Sometimes I´m uncontrollable and it just happens. Boom, boom, boom - once it gets inside of you."
Question: ‘Invincible’ was several years in the making. Does your perfectionism slow the process?
Michael: It did take a while because I’m never happy with the songs. I’ll write a bunch of songs, throw them out, write some more. People say, “Are you crazy? That’s got to go on the album.” But I’ll say, “Is it better than this other one?” You only get 75 minutes on a CD, and we push it to the limit.
Question: Did you approach ‘Invincible’ with a single theme in mind?
Michael: I never think about themes. I let the music create itself. I like it to be a potpourri of all kinds of sounds, all kinds of colors, something for everybody, from the farmer in Ireland to the lady who scrubs toilets in Harlem.
Question: Has it become easier to write songs over time?
Question: Is it difficult translating that sound to tape?
Michael: That’s what’s frustrating. In my head, it’s completed, but I have to transplant that to tape. It’s like [Alfred] Hitchcock said, “The movie’s finished.” But he still has to start directing it. The song is the same. You see it in its entirety and then you execute it.
From Interview by Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY, 2001
"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."
“There's no use creating music that people don't want. The object is to bring joy to other people's lives.”
"There is no question that Michael Jackson is one of the greatest talents the world has ever known. That when he sang a song at the ripe old age of eight he could make you feel like an experienced adult was squeezing your heart with his words. That when he moved he had the elegance of Fred Astaire and packed the punch of Muhammad Ali. That his music had an extra layer of inexplicable magic that didn’t just make you want to dance but actually made you believe you could fly, dare to dream, be anything that you wanted to be.(...)"
Madonna, MTV VMA 2009
"I love great music — it has no color, it has no boundaries."
"It [my music] breaks all barriers. I don't have to make a political statement. I do all of that with music."
"Great music and great melodies are immortal. Fashions change, culture changes, customs change. Great music is immortal. We still listen to Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. Any of them. Great music is like a great piece of sculpture of a great painting. It's forever. For generations upon generations to appreciate forever."
Michael Jackson: "Well, I think.. Ah, I don't think people thought the Rap music would last as long as it has. And it has gone through evolutional stages -- there's more melody in it now, it's more acceptable, because melody will never die. Will never die. And the rhythm-- things are a little more rhythmic now. Because people want to dance. It's part of the human condition; it's part of our biological makeup. Our cells dance when we hear beats. You notice a.. a one year old child will start moving hearing music. How do they know to move? 'Cause it's biological. It's not just hearing of the ear, it's feeling, you know. And playing music, the grass and the trees and the flowers... They're all influenced by music. They become more beautiful and more vibrant in how they grow. Music is a very important and powerful substance, and all the planets in the universe make music. It's called music of the spheres. They all make a different note; they make harmony. So there's harmony even in the universe as we speak."
Online audio chat, October 26th 2001
"When you want to be close to me, listen to the music. The love is stored there and will not die!"