UPDATE: An attorney for Sony Music has released a statement denying that there was an admission to the use of a Jackson impersonator.
As has long been suspected, a lot of the posthumous Michael Jackson releases include songs that were not actually sung by MJ. Back in 2014, a fan named Vera Serova felt so strongly about this that she filed a class action lawsuit against Sony Music, John Branca (executor of the Jackson estate), MJJ Productions, James Porte (a supposed co-writer of a lot of Michael’s posthumous music), Eddie Cascio (a supposed longtime friend of Michael’s), and Angelikson Productions (Cascio’s production company). She enlisted the help of forensic audiologist George Papcun, who was able to conclude that it was very likely that three of the tracks — “Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up” and “Monster” — on MJ’s 2010 album, Michael, were sung by someone else. The impersonator is said to be a singer named Jason Malachi, but he denied involvement when suspicions first arose.
Sony initially dismissed the suit as frivolous, but in court earlier this week, the label finally admitted to its fraudulent-ass ways (HipHop-N-More has the 41-page court document detailing what went down). It is unclear what the repercussions would be for Sony and the other defendants, but I’m hoping they’re steep. I would actually like to see Eddie Cascio in jail if that is at all possible. He and his brother are said to have been friends with Michael since the ’80s; that kind of disloyalty deserves punishment.
It just blows my mind that even in death — and just mere months after the fact — people were looking to exploit Michael Jackson in this way. And while these people are all terrible, I feel like this is just another example of Michael not being the best judge of character. It seems there wasn’t anyone in his inner circle who truly had his best interest in their heart, and that is ultimately what killed him.
This news comes just weeks after John Branca sold MJ’s stake in EMI Music Publishing to Sony Music. Branca is slowing getting rid of all of the publishing rights Michael owned; I’m not sure what the motive is and I’m not knowledgeable enough to definitively classify this as bad, but I am very wary.
PS: I am of the belief that there are many more songs that were sung by impersonators, but this is a start. “Hollywood Tonight,” also on Michael, is insultingly obvious; and as I mentioned at the time of its release, I don’t trust the MJ-assisted “Don’t Matter to Me” (from Drake’s Scorpion).