Jackson producer: Time was right for new album
When Michael Jackson's record label released his first posthumous album in 2010, a year after the King of Pop's sudden death, producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins was asked to work on the project.
“I was asked to be on that album and to produce like, five songs, but I turned it down,” he said. “I just felt like it wasn't time.”
Years later, the hitmaker for Destiny's Child and Whitney Houston — who worked heavily on Jackson's 2001 comeback album, “Invincible” — says he now feels comfortable producing Jackson's music again. He produced the title track from the upcoming album, “Xscape,” due out May 13.
“For me, it wasn't about the label; it wasn't about the estate's approval. It wasn't about all of that,” he said. “I had a personal relationship with Michael, (so) it was about, ‘What would he want from this? What would he want it to sound like now?' ”
“Xscape” was executive produced by Timbaland and includes songs Jackson recorded in the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the tracks are taken from early recording sessions for successful albums such as “Bad” and “Dangerous.”
The first single, “Love Never Felt So Good,” was written with Paul Anka and premiered at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday night when Usher danced to the song. A bonus version of the track features Justin Timberlake.
Jerkins said he and Jackson originally started work on the song “Xscape” in 1999 when they recorded the “Invincible” album. He revisited the track in 2003 and retouched it this year for the new eight-track album.
“Even when Michael was alive, we never stopped working on the song ‘Xscape,' ” he said. “It was one of those songs where he specifically said to me, ‘It has to see the light of day one day.' ”
Jerkins said he visited Jackson in 2007 in Ireland where they were “vibing out,” but didn't focus on creating music exclusively.
“And I then I spoke to him — I would say 2008, 2009, something like that — and he was telling me, ‘I'm getting ready to do another album. You gotta get to work. Start working on ideas,' ” he recalled. “And then, he passed away.”
Jerkins said he was initially nervous about including “Xscape” on the Jackson album, which also includes a song produced by StarGate, whom Jackson initially wanted to collaborate with in 2007 because of the Swedish team's work with Ne-Yo.
“I was like, ‘What's the other stuff going to sound like?' I don't even know if I want my song to be on there if the other stuff ain't right,” Jerkins said.
But after hearing the full record, he relaxed.
“Everyone did a really great job on this project,” he said.
Mesfin Fekadu is the AP music writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Granati Brothers’ new album almost didn’t go anywhere
- Performing for presidents or Pittsburghers, Franklin’s soul keeps shining
- Barry Manilow plays Pittsburgh ‘one last time’
- Larry Coryell , John and Gerald Clayton Duo keep it small and tight
- Yang takes over for ailing Grimaud at Pittsburgh Symphony
- Turrentine tribute features fine play
- Kanny: Honecks work classical magic