Akon was recently interviewed by Michael Pilz, a journalist with the German newspaper ‘Die Welt’. During the interview Pilz asked him about his work with Michael.
Michael Pilz: On your most recent record ‘Freedom’ we are missing the title ‘Hold My Hand’ which you recorded with Michael Jackson and promised to the world.
Akon: But you know the track, right?
Akon: And where from?
Pilz: Downloaded from the internet.
Akon: You see. That’s why it is not on my new record. There were fifty million downloads for free. Everybody owns the song. It would have been irresponsible to publish ‘Hold My Hand’ after that. It was supposed to be Michael Jackson‘s big comeback, after a long time. That would have needed to be presented properly. Big and overwhelming. We decided instead to invest in the future to bring about Michael Jackson’s comeback in a different way. Possibly with a new album of his own. See ‘Hold My Hand’ as a gift to the world.
Pilz: How did the collaboration with Michael Jackson come about?
Akon: It was the greatest experience of my life: To work with an artist who has inspired me the most. He influenced everyone, who came after him. And then I was together with him and saw who he is. Felt, how he thinks. He is brilliant, man! He is above everything.
Pilz: How did this come about?
Akon: Well, I turned to Peter Lopez, who takes care of everything for Michael. He told me that Michael had been working on a new musical concept for a long time. I was joking: Wow, let me be a part of it. He really made the connection with Michael. I could hardly believe it. A dream. I don’t know, by the way, how Michael got the bad image that surrounds him today.
Pilz: We haven’t heard from him artistically in a long time. Instead a lot of irritating activities were reported. Not everyone respects the artist as much anymore after this.
Akon: Did all of them talk to him? Were they close to him? Michael has always been like a ghost. You can’t touch him. He is protected. Nobody can really get to him. I think this causes mistrust in many people. He was so great in the eighties, that the only thing for him left to do was disappear. Everybody wants to see him, but nobody can. Only on pictures. And pictures lie. For many of my generation he has been beyond reality for a long time. I want to change that.
Pilz: Evidently you have been observed when you visited a cinema in America with Michael. Jackson supposedly was wearing pajamas.
Akon: That is nonsense, internet nonsense.
Pilz: You don’t have to be in the same room to record music.
Akon: I was in the same room with Michael. We were sitting next to each other in the studio and were working. He wrote, I produced. Side by Side.
Pilz: How did you get to know Michael Jackson‘s music in your childhood. With ‘Thriller’?
Akon: Yes, sure. Everybody learned to love Michael Jackson at the same time. When he sang ‘Beat It’ and danced the Moonwalk. Everyone suddenly moved like that. Everybody wanted to be like him. His videos were motion pictures. It was Michaelmania. Before he retired in the late eighties.
Pilz: What condition is he in today?
Akon: Yeah. He is in an incredible condition. He is healthy as hell. Healthier than all of us. I was totally shocked. Wow. If humanity could just see him like that. I’ve never before had the privilege to see such a complete human being. So humble and down to earth. He is not crazy or strange. He just simply stands far above everyone else. I wish more people could see him like I was allowed to.
Pilz: Where does he actually live now?
Akon: I have no idea. And if I did, I wouldn’t tell you.
Pilz: You only recorded one song, ‘Hold My Hand’?
Akon: Yes, just that one. Oh, how I love that record.
Pilz: Do you know anything about a new album by Michael Jackson. There are rumors.
Akon: He decides that on his own. He is the creator. He could never stop to be creative.
Pilz: Jermaine Jackson just recently talked about plans for a comeback of the Jackson Five. Would that be good for Michael?
Akon: Oh yes, that would be great. They don’t really have to do anything new. Just remind everyone, what a legend they are. The Jackson Five! Boy, boy! I would also like to celebrate a comeback. Actually, comebacks with new songs are nonsense.
Pilz: Do you have any idea why Michael Jackson likes Akon of all people?
Akon: We have a lot in common. The same background.
Pilz: What background?
Akon: Michael Jackson was sort of a god in Africa. I am from Africa, Obama is from Africa. That’s our connection: Africa. Today I am as famous there as him. Like Obama we represent both continents. All three of us have so much in common.
Pilz: You could now feel yourself to be the Prince of Pop.
Akon: Whoever is serious as an artist, wants to be the greatest artist of all times. That’s what I pray for. But I would also like to move about freely, be able to go to the movies undisturbed and be a normal person. I am free.
Pilz: But Michael Jackson is not free.
Akon: Oh, he is absolutely free! At least mentally. Physically surely not. He basically can’t go anywhere anymore. He is too big.
Source: WELT Online, MJFC & MJWN with special thanks to Paul a.k.a. MJ Cool