Home Music Michael Jackson: There Is Concrete Proof He Sang the New Songs

The fans are worried that Michael Jackson‘s new songs–recorded in 2007 at the New Jersey home studio of family friends–aren’t his.

The “Cascio tracks” have caused an uproar. On the planned “Michael” album set for December 14th release, there will be three: “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up.” (I’ve heard the latter song, and it’s quite wonderful.)

I am told that in addition to forensic tests on the songs to make sure the vocals are Michael’s, Sony sources say Eddie Cascio has provided notes written on lyric sheets in Michael’s unmistakable handwriting. (Of course, they can always call in Helena Bonham Carter’s aunt–see yesterday’s column.)

Sources tell me there’s plenty of proof left behind by Michael that he provided the vocals on 12 tracks. Michael wasn’t just sitting around that whole time in the studio. He worked on the songs, and there’s evidence of it in the notations.

Some of the confusion on the currently streaming “Breaking News” may exist because Michael provided “guide” vocals on the tracks. He didn’t record back up vocals or anything else that would embellish a regular recording. Producers have added back up singing and instrumentals to flesh the records out.

Michael also never finished or polished up the tracks. What’s been done to them is similar to what was applied to the song “This Is It.” Jackson had left just a one track vocal with a piano playing in the background. John McClain added background vocals from Michael’s brothers and other musical elements to give the track life.

Also included on the new album: three songs produced by a hot new producer-writer named Nephew. One of them, which I’ve heard, is called “Best of Joy.” It’s a lovely ballad. And ironic–that Michael’s nephews are causing so much dissent over the album because their songs weren’t used, but three by someone actually named Nephew were. Weird.

47 replies to this post
  1. WOW!!!!!!!!!
    Will this foolishness never cease!!!!!!
    SONY, pull these f…n’ fraudulent songs from the record already!!!!!!!
    Are you in bed with these damn Cascio’s or something?
    Is the real forensic investigation that needs to be conducted
    Sony’s relationship with the Cascio’s?
    Why else would a major corporation risk not only the legacy of one of it’s crown jewels
    but the already questionable integrity & reputation of itself as an entertainment conglomerate?
    & for what?
    A handfull of sub par songs?
    From some individuals who have, prior to now, never been known to have any musical succeses
    on even a minor scale, let alone in a major playing field?
    & I mean, let’s face it, authenticity issues notwithstanding,
    this record has received a lukewarm response, at best
    There are no overwhelming hordes of fan responses enraptured over the “hit factor” of this recording
    Quite the contrary, in fact
    The overwhelming public responses seems to be, that whether or not you think it’s MJ or not
    Regarding the song…
    Is it Hot or Not?

    NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!!!!!!!!!

    There are legions of fans crying out for the removal of the Cascio songs
    Are there any posts crying out for the inclusion of the Cascio songs?
    Is there a response somewhere, where some fan is begging for Sony to please
    not remove the questionable songs from the record?
    After all the Cascio’s have such a tremendous track record & an endless catalogue of hit records
    that I’m sure that the other two recordings to be included on this album
    are surely worth the risk of the potential loss of income that will surely be a result
    of Michael’s extensive fan base feeling that they have been bamboozled, hood-winked, run amok

    For the Cascio’s?

    Let’s break it down
    Michael Jackson holds the distinction of having the biggest selling album of all time
    “Thriller”
    You may have heard of it
    & prior to that, he didn’t do too bad with a little record called “Off The Wall”
    & He didn’t do too bad with “Bad” either
    But I digress
    Let me get to my point
    These recordings are populated with songs written primarily by Michael Jackson himself
    who, is not a bad songwriter
    & the songs on these records that weren’t written by Michael
    were usually written by some pretty well known songwriters, in their own right
    You may be familiar with the names
    Let’s see
    “Off The Wall”
    Paul McCartney
    Stevie Wonder
    Rod Temperton
    David Foster
    Carole Bayer Sager
    Louis Johnson
    All fairly accomplished writers, to say the least
    & while there is that one Tom Bahler composed “She’s Out Of My Life”
    A little research will turn up a few industry accomplishments for him as well

    Wow
    Imagine that…

    Accomplishments,

    Career History,

    Track Record,

    All atributes strangely missing from the Cascio camp
    & yet Sony would choose to jeopardize the project to include their compositions, at so great a risk?
    Curious…
    Things that make you go hmmmm…

    But moving on
    “Thriller”
    Again
    Michael Jackson
    Rod Temperton
    Quincy Jones
    James Ingram
    Steve Porcaro
    John Bettis
    All known hit makers
    I could go on & on, album by album, but you get the gist
    Why would Sony take so great a risk given the mounting negative responses to these questionable tracks
    Unless they somehow have a vested interest in the Cascio compositions
    or are, perhaps, participants in the funds generated from their productions?
    Doesn’t seem very likely
    Not enough Zeros

    Sabotage maybe…

    There is a theory floating around that Sony is so desirous
    of obtaining Michael’s share of the publishing catalogue that they are not above
    intentionally devaluing MJ projects in an effort to force the estate to have to relinquish his share
    of said assets in order to pay off his well publicized debts

    Maybe that explains Sony’s insistence on leaving these questionable songs on the record
    in spite of the risks & the overwhelming public out cry

    Are there not enough songs to make a complete album without including the Cascio compositions?
    If you visit michaeljackson.com you will find fan requests for songs that they would like
    to be included on the record
    Are these songs somehow not in alignment with Sony’s diabolical master plan?
    Or are the Cascio songs just that great that they are “must haves”?
    Obviously “Breaking News” isn’t
    It’s been met with lackluster reviews

    Or maybe they’re so convinced of the forensic analysis that they feel confident in releasing the songs
    in spite of the avalanche of public opinion to the contrary
    Here’s my take on the forensic evaluation process
    As humans we can clearly hear that these songs contain Michael vocals, breaths, ad libs
    & various other signature vocal nuances that are “lifted” from easily identifiable Michael recordings
    & therein lies the flaw in a computerized analysis process
    If a computer compares a passage from a prior MJ recording to that same breath or heee heee
    that has been lifted & used in another recording
    The computer will determine that it is a positive match
    Whereas a human would be able to distinguish it
    as simply a duplicated ad lib from “Earth Song” for example

    So for Sony to want to disregard the opinions of Michael’s own family members & John McClain?
    John McClain who was left with the daunting challenge of overseeing Michael’s estate
    & preserving & propelling his legacy?
    John McClain who has been Michael’s childhood friend from before they were even teenagers?
    John McClain who was the architect behind making Janet Jackson an icon?
    John McClain who put her with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, propelling them into superstardom?
    John McClain who introduced Jimmy Iovine to a guy named Ted Fields & co-founded Interscope records?
    John McClain who signed DeathRow Records & introduced the world to Snoop Dogg?
    John McClain who made Dr Dre a household word?
    John McClain who partnered Sting with Bryan Loren for his first single after leaving The Police?
    John McClain who is the owner & designer of the creme de la creme of recording studio?
    (Sony no longer owns or operates a recording facility)
    John McClain who signed Floetry?
    John McClain who successfully returned such veteran acts as Ron Isley & Barry White to chart topping status?
    John McClain who is responsible for the Grammy Award winning collaboration between the legendary
    musical talents of Burt Bacarach & the aforementioned Ron Isley for “Here I Am”?
    John McClain the guitarist who played of various Motown sessions including “Mahogany”?
    John McClain who was the musicsal director for the Sylvers?
    John McClain who is responsible for far too many records to mention here?
    Let’s see: “Player’s Club” Soundtrack featuring the Ice Cube Hit “We Be Clubbing”
    Jeffrey Osborne, Atlantic Starr, Vesta Williams, New Kidz On The Block, Shanice Wilson, Randy Jackson?
    That John McClain?
    Listen if John McClain doesn’t think that it’s Michael Jackson singing on these damn songs
    Then given his musical pedigree
    I’d say it’s something to be taken very seriously
    If in addition to John McClain’s opinion
    Michael’s Mother, his childern, his brothers, sisters, nephews & his animals all don’t think it’s him singing

    THEN WHY SONY, WHY???

    WHY NOT REMOVE THE QUESTIONABLE SONGS???

    ARE THESE CASCIO SONGS SO INCREDIBLE THAT THEY ARE ON PAR WITH “THRILLER”?
    OR “THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL” OR SOME OTHER MONUMENTALLY IMPORTANT
    EARTH-SHATTERING COMPOSITIONS, CRUCIAL TO THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC EXPERIENCE
    SUCH THAT THEIR NON-INCLUSION WOULD BE A TRAGEDY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS???

    SONY???

    WHY RISK THE POTENTIAL SCANDAL & BACKLASH???

    SONY???

    WHAT IS THE TRUE NATURE OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CASCIO’S???

    SONY???

    WHAT IS THE TRUE NATURE OF YOUR MOTIVATION???

    SONY???

  2. Roger take a look at this.

    Dear Fans

    As the Michael album was being put together, it was decided to bring Teddy Riley on board to work on several songs, including “Breaking News,” a song Michael recorded with Eddie Cascio and James Porte in late 2007 while living at the Cascio family home with his children. Riley produced and submitted “Breaking News” to Sony for inclusion on the album. At that time, no one ever mentioned that the vocals we heard on the Cascio songs, which were basically in demo format, might not be Michael. It was known, however, that the background vocals were a combination of Michael and James Porte.

    After the tracks were submitted to Sony, three of these Cascio songs were selected to be on the album, and “Breaking News” was one of the three. The day after the submission and selection of the album tracks, for the very first time, the authenticity of Michael’s vocals on the Cascio tracks was questioned.

    Because of these questions, I was immediately asked by co-Executors John Branca and John McClain to conduct an investigation regarding the authenticity of the lead vocals on the Cascio tracks.

    Six of Michael’s former producers and engineers who had worked with Michael over the past 30 years – Bruce Swedien, Matt Forger, Stewart Brawley, Michael Prince, Dr. Freeze and Teddy Riley – were all invited to a listening session to hear the raw vocals of the Cascio tracks in question. All of these persons listened to the a cappella versions of the vocals on the Cascio tracks being considered for inclusion on the album, so they could give an opinion as to whether or not the lead vocals were sung by Michael. They all confirmed that the vocal was definitely Michael.

    Michael’s musical director and piano player on many of his records over a 20-year period, Greg Phillinganes, played on a Cascio track being produced for the album, and said the voice was definitely Michael’s. Dorian Holley, who was Michael’s vocal director for his solo tours for 20 plus years (including the O2 Concert Tour) and is seen in the This Is It film, listened to the Cascio tracks and told me the lead vocal was Michael Jackson.

    These are all engineers, producers and musicians who worked on tours and/or in the studio with Michael when he was recording Bad, Thriller, Off The Wall, Dangerous, Invincible, HIStory and Blood On The Dance Floor, and they all reconfirmed their belief that the lead vocals were Michael’s voice on the Cascio tracks.

    The Estate then retained one of the best-known forensic musicologists in the nation to listen to the vocals without any instrumental accompaniment (“a cappella”), and to compare them with a cappella vocals from previous Michael songs. This expert performed waveform analysis, an objective scientific test used to determine audio authenticity, on the Cascio tracks, as well as previously released tracks with Michael’s voice, and reported that ALL of the lead vocals analyzed (which included Cascio tracks) were the voice of Michael Jackson.

    Sony Music conducted their own investigation by hiring yet a second well-respected forensic musicologist who also compared the a cappella lead vocals from Cascio tracks against previously released vocals of Michael’s, and found that Michael’s voice was the on all sets of the raw vocals. The Cascio tracks were also played for two very prominent persons in the music industry who played crucial roles in Michael’s career. Both of these individuals believed that the lead vocals were Michael’s.

    Just to be absolutely certain, I also contacted Jason Malachi, a young singer who some persons had wrongfully alleged was a “soundalike” singer that was hired to sing on the Cascio tracks, and I confirmed that he had no involvement with this project whatsoever.

    Sony decided that, given the overwhelming objective evidence resulting from the exhaustive investigations outlined above, they wanted to release a record that included three of the Cascio-Porte tracks – because they believed, without reservation, that the lead vocal on all of those tracks were sung by Michael Jackson.

    Although there still seem to be concerns being expressed in some quarters about the authenticity of the lead vocals, notwithstanding the opinion of those who worked with Michael, and two independent forensic analysts, ultimately, Michael’s fans will be the judges of these songs, as they always are. We take all fan comments very seriously, and as I’d stated above, there is nothing more important to the Estate than Michael’s music, his legacy and his fans.

    Michael’s fans are extraordinary in their quest for accuracy and their passions to raise their voices in a search for truth! We join with them in our care and concern for Michael. We are continuing to follow up with those who have worked in the studio or on tours with Michael, and if any new information comes to light, we will keep you and the fans advised.

    Thanks,

    Howard

    Howard Weitzman, Esq.
    Attorney for the Estate Of Michael Jackson
    Santa Monica, CA

  3. the statement is BS. Producer Cory Rooney say he was there and people like Teddy Riley or Dr. Freeze had the same doubts about the songs vocals. Rodney Jerkins says he cant reconize MJ voice either.

  4. One thing is to have the Jacksons put background vocal on the This Is It track because people are used to listening to them sing. Another very different it to give us a track with very little Michael vocals, fill it in with another person and try to sell it to us as if it were 100% Michael. Now that they are found out, they release a statement saying the vocals are from Michael AND James Porte! I would much rather have an album with demos but having the certainty that it is Michael and not someone trying to sing like him. The fans are not stupid and WILL defend Michael’s legacy.

  5. I beleive its Michael. I have been listening to him sing for 20 years. almost my whole life. People who say it isnt him..are getting really nasty man. Sayin bs like “its a disaster and a disgrace” so all you jacksasses are pretty much saying Michael isnt good enough. You all should be asheamed for doubting michaels voice and saying such things about his work. ITS AN UNREALEASED TRACK DAMN IT!! WTH did you expect?? Its was not released by michael for a reason! He obviously knew it was not ready for us..and he apparently was right cause ya’ll are judgmental and rude. I LOVE it!! Its pretty much a tabloid junkie #2. And it reminds me a lil of 2000 watts. Which Teddy Riley was involved with as he ALSO is with Breaking News. Its new and funky and I think Michael did an incredible job for an unreleased track!! Another fine addition to all of his unreleased work. You all are gonna feel stupid as hell when you claim your “die hard fans who know Michaels voice” When you swear its not him and it is. Wow. Its Michael Okay. Stop being so damn crazy. Ya’ll make ALL Michael lovers look stupid when you act dumb. damn. And FYI Just because the JACKSONS say something doesnt make it gospel.

  6. If Sony/the Estate did that people would realise that MJs work in the past decade wasn’t that substantial. It is also interesting to notice that MJ hasn’t recorded anything in a decade, so small wonder that people run into problems when “identifying” his actual voice on the new tracks. The last studio album was overproduced as well and that doesn’t make things any easier now either when comparing tracks which are 10 years old by now ago to now. The flow is missing. Furthermore, have people ever seen official Making ofs of Jackson in the studio or on work in progress? No. Just reports of third parties and a handful of sources. Ah, and not to forget Confidentiality agreements all over, not very productive in telling first hand what it really was like to record in the studio with Jackson….

  7. Can we not attack Roger Friedman please? He didn’t record the songs, he’s not making buck here. He is not Sony. He is a journalist who was highly supportive of Jackson when he needed it, as even Orth would attest.

    Friedman is reporting the facts as he sees them, and all the signs point to these vocals being authentic — ridiculously processed — but authentic.

    Heads up Friedman: Word is a rival tabloid has got hold of the news that ex-Sun ‘bully boy’ Kelvin Mackenzie said on Britsh TV yesterday that Jackson’s kids were better off without their “dead dad,” and this story is about to hit the proverbial.

    Softpedia ran a spot on it, but of course they’re small fry. You however…..

    http://tinyurl.com/2ey5pbj

  8. I have no doubt that each and everyone of the producers used
    Michael Jackson’s real vocals.
    This is a fight among record producer to determine which one
    of will be successful in getting their tracks on Michael’s new album, and thus, make the most money off of Michael Jackson.

    LET MICHAEL JACKSON’S MUSICAL LEGACY LIVE!!!!!

  9. Can’t fool me. That vibrato is his, the phrasing is his. Don’t know how much was augmented but for every imitator there is a giveaway. It is a great funky song-everyone should calm down and enjoy it! MMH

  10. Hey Roger! When you say “produced by Nephew” do you mean Neff-U??

    if so, maybe you should check what your sources are talkin about before posting it here. And maybe you would have not trusted those Cascio fake songs…

  11. The problem with BN is the recording quality and production. The vocals are not recorded in the way we are used to hearing Michael’s voice and they are heavily processed. I believe that is why they absolutely do not sound genuine. I was certain yesterday that the vocals were fake, but today I’m going with the theory that they are genuine but poorly recorded and heavily processed. If only someone had listened to Jackie Jackson and John McClain this controversy wouldn’t have happened! I am disappointed to learn that Teddy Riley only spent 5 hours in the final production of this song. I think he could have done so much more to make this recording sound as polished and perfect as Michael would have wanted and would have done himself. @ Roger Friedman, have you ever investigated Sony’s involvement in Jackson’s heavy debt load and the fact that a default on these loans would force the estate to forfeit their 50% share of the Sony/ATV catalog to Sony? The conflict of interest is staggering.

  12. Just heard “Monster” and I gotta say, Hell NO to Casio tracks!!
    Roger, no offence but are you DEAF?? That sounds even more like an impersonator than the hot mess that is “breaking news”!! WTF is Sony and the estate playing at?!

  13. Am I the ONLY Michael Jackson fan who’s been a fan for 30 years that thinks this IS Michael singing? I mean obviously it’s been treated and there are other vocals in play, but sounds like Mike to me. I remember hearing the Jason Malachi tracks a few years back and many fans being convinced that it was Michael singing when I KNEW it wasn’t. I don’t think this is the case here. This is definitely Michael, guys. Sorry. And I like this song better than anything off Invincible except maybe “Butterflies”. So sue me!

  14. Of course he was in a “mood” Roger. You and people like you were writing about him like was the dirt on the bottom of your shoes so I’m glad you like it.

  15. BREAKING NEWS is not sung by Michael Jackson.

    Roger, check the acapella of BREAKING NEWS. It is not MJ!!!

    Sony should admit this was a duet and credit the vocalist..if they come clean they might save the boat…otherwise, things are going to get uglier…

  16. @ Roger Hi, Thanks you for answering me! I am really looking forward to hear ‘Michael’ and I’m excited which of the new songs will be on the final tracklist. ( Or outtakes from previous albums ) I can tell you that ‘ Breaking News’ is very well received here in Holland ( even though that stupid discussion about if it’s Michael or not is also the headline ) After listening to Teddy Riley yesterday, I’m convinced that it is Michael. Michael was always experimenting with new sounds, including with his vocal capability. Looking forward on your next post of ‘ Michael ‘ !

  17. “Wait til you hear Monster and Keep Your Head Up. They’re really great.”
    actually, a short snippet of Monster (and other songs) leaked on the web yesterday. And its the same fake voice.

  18. It is EXTREMELY disrepsectful to Micheal’s legacy, imo, to attempt to “finish” these tracks without Micheal. A box set of MJ demos would have been a more respectful choice than the steady stream of luke-warm productions we are getting. Marvin Gaye got a lot better treatment from his record company when they produced “My Last Chance” after his death. That record sounded a lot like what Marvin himself might have wanted.

  19. I don’t think Water made it onto this CD. Maybe the next one. Wait til you hear Monster and Keep Your Head Up. They’re really great.
    It’s so funny that the fans aren’t enjoying the sarcastic humor of Breaking News. MJ was really in a mood when he got to the Cascio’s house that summer.

  20. Roger Friedman:
    John McClain is one of the executors of Michael Jackson’s estate. Would his producing of MJ’s songs/albums be a conflict of interest? Can Judge Beckloff bring a stop to McClain’s double dipping?

  21. Okay, Michael wrote the song but DID HE SING IT!? It’s funny how John McClain had a one track vocal for This Is It, added background vocals and we had no question, yet, the Cascios provided Teddy with a 12 track vocal and no one is truly convinced it’s Michael. If they had someone singing with Michael to fill the song out, they should just say it. The longer they wait, the worse this will get. We’re waiting…

  22. But why release songs that were left in such an unfinished state? Breaking News is a mess of sampled vocals. We don’t want other people singing on the track. It ruins it. I’d rather have just the guide vocals then and the heck with the phoney stuff.

  23. Roger…I have read your column for years. I have been a huge MJ fan for 25 years. I go back and forth on this song! I think it’s him, but then I don’t. I WANT it to be him. I don’t buy into all that Jackson controversy re: the catalog, his death, etc. BUT, there are major parts of this song that are not MJ. I know this from years and years of listening. Everyone addressing the controversy has not addresed this:
    Have you heard Jason Malachi? Go to Youtube, and type in “Michael Jackson” and “Jason Malachi”. There is a great fan-made video that showcases why this new song is more probably NOT MJ….(I don’t think it is Malachi)

  24. Do you realize that all your article consists of “My sources told me that” “My sources told me this”? This doesn’t prove nothing. Your sources have concerete proof? Fine, let’s see them then.

    You can process a vocal, you can change the pitch, but you cannot change somebody’s vocal entirely like this. It’s simply can not be done. And if they tell you otherwise, they either fooling you as well or you are in this together with them.

  25. please tell the estate we dont want cascio’s tracks.I have listened to BN and leaked snipets of the other cascio tracks,it obvious mj is not singing lead vocals and they sampled some of his old records,ghost was sampled for the monster track,are you kidding me?If those track and any other impostor track is not removed from this album,the album would be a massive flop.we are very angry with the estate and sony and so many of us have cancelled our pre-orders.

  26. Mr. Roger Friedman. Hello again.

    You realise that all you appear to do is regurgitate whatever people tell you. “They tell me” this… “they tell me” that… “sources say” this… “My sources” say that…

    Who’s going to believe you? No one.

    If I were to tell you Michael Jackson actually sang “Breaking News” in 2006, not 2007, in Vegas, not New Jersey, on the roof of The Luxor, not a studio, and that I have notes with what appears to be MJ’s undeniable writing to prove it you’d probably write and preach it. Would you?

  27. How can “handwritten lyrics” be a proof of Michael Jackson’s voice? He may have written the lyrics with his own right hand but it’s clear to ALL of us that either the Cascio brothers or Sony hired an impersonator (like Jason Malachi, Bobby Edwing, etc) to sing whatever Michael had written, and of course they signed a confidential agreement with whoever did sing Breaking News/Monster/All I Need to keep his mouth shut.
    What we need is either a video of Michael singing those tracks, a clean acapella of THE LEAD VOCAL and nothing else! No harmonies, not background voices, JUST THE LEAD VOCAL. Or take off ALL OF THE CASCIO TRACKS and replace them!

    We prefer unfinished, raw, DEMOS instead of this FAKE STUFF which they like to think has “embelished” the product. Nothing can embelish it more than Michael’s voice itself, even if it’s just his voice with no instruments.

  28. Absolute BS. How are handwritten notes of the lyrics proof that the voice on the track is Michael? This is getting more ridiculous by the minute. Why are you so admant this is real Brian? Not many others do….. Get real for god sake.

  29. Written lyrics lend absolutely no proof to MJ singing the song. Michael wrote lyrics to many songs he never recorded. “Concrete Proof”, lol. In this instance, the definition of concrete proof is complete video footage of MJ in the recording studio laying the vocals down.

    Until then, they can fool the general public, but not the fans. “Concrete proof” lol. Classic.

  30. You see, even if This is it has been worked the same way, that still sounded like Michael’s voice and there was no doubt about it.
    Breaking News and other songs I’ve heard (all by the Cascios btw) don’t sound like him AT ALL.
    Long time fans know his voice, they’ve been hearing it for all their lives, and they can’t be fooled.

  31. Roger, how are notations proof that the vocals are his? That doesn’t make sense. Of course he’s going to write notes – nobody doubts that he was there and he was a part of the song-making process, but that’s got nothing to do with whether he actually set down some vocals.

  32. how can you compare the “This Is It” song with “Breaking News” or other Cascio songs. Of course they have added orchestra/backgroung singers (the Jacksons) on TII, but on Breaking News you cant hear MICHAEL JACKSON actually singing anything at all !!

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