This Post was Originally Title As “Happy Birthday Michael! Remembering Michael Through His Music & Influence” on August 29, 2012.
“She’s says I am the one / but the kid is not my son…” – Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean” from Thriller (1982)
The King of Pop, the late Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), influenced numerous musicians, many of which try to evoke his sensibilities as a performer and as a singer/songwriter. Below, are a couple of self-assembled lists to commemorate MJ.
5 Artists Highly Influenced by MJ
1. Ne-Yo (Shaffer Smith), has a voice that has been highly compared to the King of Pop. No he doesn’t possess all of the signature nuances, but the timbre, particularly his upper register has its parallels. His album Libra Scale was the ultimate comparison peak for the singer/songwriter. Unfortunately, the album was highly overlooked compared to his previous three releases, despite spawning “Champagne Love,” “One In A Million,” and the most popular single, the Euro-pop influenced “Beautiful Monster.”
2. Chris Brown has become R&B/pop’s hated bad-boy ever since the Rihanna-Grammy fiasco. He’s not the same likeable 16 year old who was “Run(ning) It!” back in 2005. However vocally, Brown’s soulful voice, particularly in its upper register instantly evoked the sensibilities of Jackson. Throw in the moves, and Jackson’s influence is easily apparent. Perhaps there isn’t that definitive performance that makes Brown comparable, but the comparisons are justified.
3. Usher performed at MJ’s funeral and managed to shed tears during his performance. Often possessing that sensual, loverman sensibility that soul had within his own music as well as electrifying dance moves, Usher’s influence from MJ has always been apparent. Even most recently, his falsetto (although auto tune laden) on “Lemme See” showcases Mr. Raymond has been studying MJ.
4. Justin Timberlake again possesses the swag established by the sing. Maybe a prime example given his killer falsetto, 2002’s “Cry Me A River” from Justified sealed the deal for comparisons while his swagger on “My Love” from 06’s Futuresex/Lovesoundaffirmed the influence.
5. Justin Bieber is not Michael Jackson, let’s get that out of the way first. However, he is highly influenced by both his career, his moves, and his vocal style. Maybe he doesn’t ‘hiccup’ like his idol, but song “Maria” from Believe (Deluxe Edition)was definitely a breakout, “MJ influenced” moment. If that wasn’t enough, the Jackson 5 sampling “Die In Your Arms” just adds to the sensibility.