Saturday, July 4, 2009

Can’t stop loving you

The Gulf Today, 27 June 2009

Michael Jackson was one of the most beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artistes of all times. He has left an indelible imprint on popular music and culture.
Michael Jackson was a brilliant troubadour for his generation, a genius whose music reflected the passion and creativity of an era. His artistry and magnetism changed the music landscape forever. Jackson's unsurpassed artistry and beloved music brought joy to every corner of the world and the Gulf region was no different from that.
Commenting on the demise of the legendary singer, Kevin Ridgeley, Managing Director of Sony Music Entertainment in the Middle East, told The Gulf Today: “It was a true privilege for all of us in the Sony music family to work with one of the most talented superstars in the history of music. We will miss him greatly. We have been profoundly affected by his originality, creativity and amazing body of work.”
“Jackson was also our trusted and passionate partner, who was very proud of our accomplishments of Sony. He will be dearly missed. Five of Jackson’s solo albums, “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Bad,” “Dangerous” and “History,” all with Sony Music label Epic Records, are among the top-sellers of all time,” he added.
Ridgeley pointed out: “During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the rock and roll hall of fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognised Jackson as the most successful entertainer of all time and “Thriller” as the biggest selling album of all time.”
Distinctive voice
Tim Klassen, former head of programming at Channel-4 FM, who is currently running his own audio and video production firm, said: “MJ is one of the pioneer stars of recorded music, and he went through different stages of his career and life. The amazing artist has substantially contributed to the music industry with his sound, style and dance moves that motivated the following generations of pop, soul, R and B and hip-hop artists.”
He continued: “MJ’s career had reached in its peak, but he plunged into controversies and a series of serious personal issues. And his last couple of projects didn’t do well. But he continued to be a pioneer in bringing out tracks with his distinctive voice, produced with the highest quality using the most sophisticated sound technology.”
Performing Jackson
Stanley Luiz, singer of Dubai-based pop band P87, shared his experiences of singing MJ songs. “Jackson was an outstanding entertainer. I have been always so excited in performing Jackson’s songs in different stages for years. His debut hit “I’ll be there” was come out while he was 11 years old. It was an evergreen single hit.”
“I used to sing the track, when I was working with 30 AD music band in South India in the early 70s. Other favourite songs were ‘Call me on’ and ‘Street fighter, all of them reflected the African culture. But, we were hesitant to attempt MJ’s songs, as they were created out-of-the-box. We didn’t want to spoil the music,” Stanley added.
Alas! MJ no more
Narendar Kesav, an English language trainer in Dubai, said: “Until my two sons introduced me to 'Dangerous' by Jackson he was only one of those pop singers, I believed, who were more of hype than substance. For the next few hours of our drive to Ooty, I sat repeating that cassette, fascinated by its rhythm and lyrics, becoming a Jackson fan, like those millions who swore by his genius.”
Kesav turned MJ fan when he was in his fifties. “When I heard about his medical recourse he sought to change the colour of his skin to white I even looked at him with distaste. But deep down I still admired and forgave him for I felt he is always a musical genius and all those follies are human. Alas! Jackson is no more.”
You're not alone
Dhruti Shah, a media professional in Dubai, joined the mourners. “It still has not hit me. I feel awkwardly strange on Jackson’s death. The legendary pop star is no more. The last few years have been dreadful for him. One thing is certain, there is never going to be another music icon like Michael Jackson. I just want to express my sorrow by saying, ‘You are not alone. God is there with you, though we're apart, you're always here in our heart.’”
According to K. Ragavan, a resident of Sharjah, “This is a terrible loss for the music world. From pediatrics to geratrics, everyone loves this legend for his pop music. He has created a new milestone in pop music.”
Sixty-three-year old Ragavan continued: “In the 1980s, Jackson defined the genre of music video with such revolutionary albums like “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and the epic “Thriller. I am in grief over his death.”
‘He will never return’
Suniel, a Pakistani accounts professional residing in Sharjah, said: “I grew up listening to Jackson, whose energetic performance had a different impact on me, a style which none can impart! Especially the theme of the black and white song, an utmost trial of uniting the race barrier shook me.”
“The news on Jackson’s coming back on July13 was extremely exciting for me. Impossible it is now to digest that ‘he will never return’! The news of losing him forever is simply unbearable.”
Rajendra K. Aneja, CEO of a food manufacturing company in Dubai, commented: “He ignited the imagination of music and dance lovers across the world. He was a vibrant, creative personally, whose influence spanned continents, and will now span time. He had a profound impact on music in the last 35 years. He will continue living in his music and songs.”
Sayed Al Sherif, an Egyptian national, said that he was shocked when he heard of the death of the great singer. “I loved his songs so much and he as a character appealed to me. I pray to Allah to have mercy on him.”
Other expatriates from different countries expressed grief in unanimity.
Asad Sheikh of Lahore termed the death of MJ “a never-ending loss for pop music fans.”
Shekhar, an Indian living in Sharjah, was among those thousands of MJ's fans who could not believe this. "He was a man who gave music industry a new life by injecting his creativity and became a pop idol for million of fans around the world," he remarked. For Aneesuddin the death of Michael Jackson “is not a minor thing to forget in days.”
“He will be remembered forever for his contribution to music."
MediaCom area manager Gary Alforte who comes from the same generation as Michael Jackson said: “I am shocked and sad. He contributed a lot to pop culture. He is a pop icon and even my children know him.”
Saying that Michael Jackson’s death has no effect on him at a personal level, events coordinator and former disc jockey in the Philippines, Enrico Cardoniga said: “It will take a long time before somebody will be able to replace him. He is irreplaceable. I do not think anybody has his calibre.”
Public relations practitioner and bass player for the bands Borrison Ivy and Sho, Quay Evano, said the thought of Michael Jackson having gone had not sunk in, claiming he was still doubting the news of his death: “He played a big role in my life. I know how to dance, but he was my inspiration. All of his compositions and hits make him one of the greatest in the 20th century and he will be counted as one of the legends like John Lennon and Elvis Presley.
Two questions
Richard Kawesa, a Tanzanian musician on a visit to Dubai, said; "MJ's death raises two questions in my life: Should I work towards gaining the most significant music brand on earth or should I work towards the quality of my spiritual liberation beyond death?"
Afsha N. of Fairmont Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, said: "I'm taken by surprise because I was all set to watch him making a comeback with his European tour. Ok, what can I say other than - Man proposes, God disposes."
Juma Nkunnyingi, a Ugandan living in Dubai, was angry. "Only recently I had read in the papers that the star was annoyed with agents who booked 50 live concerts for him at London's O2 Arena, where as he wanted only 10; why did they pile so much pressure on him?" he questioned.
Annette Nakalema Kironde, a Kenyan living in Deira, contended: "Blame it on Martin Bashir!" Bashir, 46, of Nightline show on ABC News in America, is a journalist who became a household name after speaking to Diana, Princess of Wales for BBC One's Panorama programme in 1995.
During the interview, the princess admitted an adulterous affair with former Army officer James Hewitt. Bashir then sealed global recognition after securing the first in-depth interview with Michael Jackson in 2003. The show sparked a court case with Jackson facing charges of child abuse - he was later cleared by a jury.
'Great loss’
For Malek Al-Haj Ali, manager of a company, the news was shocking. “The biggest pop star of history that the world has just lost and I feel sad.”
“King of Pop is no more. We lost one of the greats but the music he gave us will live alive in our hearts,” stated Sheikh Khalid Anwer, graphic designer.
“The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on everlastingly! God bless,” pointed out Saeed Ahmed Khan.
“Michael Jackson was a great singer for his generation,” said journalist Nadir.
Dafton Mwitiki, a sales and marketing executive, was visibly upset. “A genius and real star whose music reflects the emotions such as love, joy, hatred and anger with the passion and creativity is no more with us. I love him all my life.”
“So many people in this world inspired by Michael Jackson and I am one of them,” remarked Anthony Kashero, a manager.

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