Michael Jacksons hiatus may have come to an end. Jackson is collaborating with Black Eyed Peas emcee Will.i.am, which could result in a new studio album.
Jackson has been reported to be recording the CD in Las Vegas, as well as planning a series of comeback performances in the city. Although not much has been confirmed, Will.i.am says he has, in fact, been brainstorming with Jackson on new material and how to utilize new technologies and social markets such as Myspace and other online downloading sites. The two are also said to have already started laying tracks in Ireland.
Whether thats true, Will.i.am has stated a new Michael Jackson record could be a gamble. He said hes has been gearing up for the possibility that a new record could fall on deaf ears.
Aint no middle ground on this one, Will.i.am told Billboard magazine. Its either going to be really big, or nobody is going to care.
Will.i.ams link to the new record stems from his belief that Michael Jackson hasnt lost a step in his ability to perform at the levels that spun him into stardom more than 30 years ago.
Will.i.am said: Man, he still sings like a bird. He could go anywhere. I think we have a real opportunity to do something here.
Will.i.ams involvement with Michael Jackson, outside of a new record, is not clear.
Many believed Joe Jackson when he suggested to reporters his son would not return to America because of the aftermath of his 2005 child rape case. Others say the younger Jackson arrived in Las Vegas to follow in the footsteps of fellow stars Celine Dion and Prince, who have both become regular Vegas performers.
According to insiders, a deal may be in the works between Jackson and the owners of the Palms Casino Resort. Palms mogul George Maloof has remained quiet about whether he and his family have been negotiating with Jackson. The Palms recently added a recording studio to the complex, which opened last month and which could pave the way for a Michael Jackson project.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jackson was lured out of seclusion by Las Vegas businessman Jack Wishna, who apparently is at the head of an arrangement with the Palms. That deal could also mean live performances at the new Pearl Theater, which is expected to open in March and is also under the Maloof umbrella. Wishna has not commented about the Palms deal; however, hes stated Jackson and his three children have moved to Las Vegas and hes working on several projects with him.
Since Jackson arrived in the gambling capital Saturday, Dec. 23, sources have attempted to debunk the comeback rumors altogether. Many believe the gloved one was in Las Vegas to spend time with his father, then fly to Atlanta to pay respects to his friend and mentor, James Brown, who died Dec. 25.
Jackson, 48, addressed more than 8,000 Brown mourners Saturday, Dec. 30, saying the Godfather of Soul was his greatest inspiration.
James Brown, I shall miss you and I love you so much. Thank you for everything, he said.
If the Will.i.am-guided album gets made, it will mark Jacksons first studio release since 2001s Invincible and a Vegas concert series will be his second attempt at a comeback. Last November, Jackson performed at the World Music Awards in London, which reportedly disappointed fans.
Michael Jackson has been living abroad and has spent time in Bahrain, Ireland and France since being acquitted in California of child molestation in June 2005.
Jacksons biggest success, 1982s Thriller, became the bestselling album in music history, containing seven Top-10 singles such as Beat It and Billie Jean. His personal life, although just as visible as his entertainment résumé, has been littered with controversy and scandal.
Radical changes in appearance, a reported $20 million payoff of an underage male who said the singer sexually molested him in 1993, his highly scrutinized marriages and unconventional child rearing arrangements have prompted many to question his mental and emotional states.
Jacksons 1994 marriage to Lisa Marie Presley ended after 18 months, and was rumored to have been nothing more than a financial union. In 1996, Jackson wed dermatology nurse Deborah Rowe, the mother of two of his three children. He and Rowe divorced in 1999.
The King of Pops recent woes include a lawsuit against his former accountants, who allegedly have mishandled $2.5 million of his money, and a court battle with Rowe, who claims hes failed to honor their 1999 divorce agreement. Shes also petitioning to have her parental rights reinstated, which began while he fought the sex charges. So far, Jackson has been ordered to pay $60,000 of her legal fees. Rowe is the mother of Prince Michael, 9, and Paris-Michael, 8.
From the Jan. 17-23, 2007, issue