A number of stars have penned touching tributes to Michael Jackson for a special issue of Time magazine, on stands on Monday.
Quincy Jones, Michael’s producer on his hit albums “Off The Wall,” “Thriller” and “Bad,” looked back at the focus Michael had when they met on the set of “The Wiz.”
“He knew everybody’s lines, he knew all the songs, all the steps, everything,” Quincy wrote in the magazine. “I’d never seen so much focus in my life.”
Stevie Wonder, himself a former child star and a fellow Motown legend, remembered seeing Michael’s potential as a young boy leading the Jackson 5.
“He would always come into the studio curious about how I worked and what I did. ‘How do you do that? Why do you do that?’ I think he understood clearly from seeing various people do the music scene that it definitely took work. He must have been around 9 or 10 then, and I definitely felt that he would be someone,” Stevie wrote. “You hear the voice, and all he could do is grow. And that’s what he did.”
Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, who won his fourth NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month, told the mag that Michael had encouraged him to be driven.
“One of the things he always told me was don’t be afraid to be different,” Kobe wrote. “He’s saying: ‘It’s OK to be that driven, it’s OK to be obsessed with what you want to do. That’s perfectly fine.’”
But Kobe also remembered the musician as a “genuinely nice person” who offered to open his home for the basketball star’s wedding.
“I remember my fiancee and I telling him we were getting married, and him just being really excited, and actually just offering up the ranch to have our wedding there, because privacy was going to be an issue,” he said. “We wanted to get married in a church, so that’s what we wound up doing. But he made the offer.”
JC Chasez, who performed with Michael several times during his days in *NSYNC, remembered Michael as a musician who, even as a superstar, spent hours preparing for his performances.
“He was doing vocal drills for an hour before he went out,” JC wrote. “It’s not something that magically appeared on him, the guy worked hard for it. 40 years old, and the guy is warming up for an hour before every show. He wanted to give that audience the best he had.”
And John Mayer, who wrote about growing up in the ‘80s watching Michael’s superstardom, called “Thriller” the benchmark for greatness.
“As a musician, the man was one of the purest substances ever in music,” he wrote. “But it’s frustrating, and somewhat pointless, to ever try and figure out how Michael Jackson arrived at an album like ‘Thriller’ and how you could arrive at something like it. It’s impossible. I mean it’s one of those things you actually don’t want to bring up to musicians because they don’t want to remember that that kind of greatness is achievable, because it skews the entire bell curve completely.”