One of the most amazing MJ tributes I have ever seen is ‘Take Me Away’ by Nathan Jay. This completely original work was fashioned from samples of MJ;s tunes and t’s mind blowing. Unfortunately the tune was blocked by the official MJ Online Team which I personally think was a travesty. Check out my questions to Nathan below and spread the word!
Could you please let us know a brief history of your career and other projects you have been involved with?
I’ve been remixing and composing my own stuff for years, in fact it’s 20 years this year that I released my first white label vinyl: Feel The Rush EP under the name of Ovadoce.
I’ve since released a double album called Virtually (disc 1 dance, disc 2: remixes), had some music used in an odd Danish movie, and had some cult recognition with radio jingles, The Lady Gaga “Glamour Zombie” track, and some Robbie Williams reconstructed songs such as “World’s A Disco”
Where did the inspiration for ‘Take Me Away’ come from?
I was walking to the shops in the rain, and as I thought “I don’t wanna live in the rain no more”, I just started singing it aloud – in between the “no more” and the next line “I just wanna go..” I did two Michael Jackson style grunts/pants and continued singing it in a Michael Jackson style.. the lyrics and melody just came to me as I sang them.
The track is technically brilliant. How did you make it?
I got hold of as many acapellas of MJ that I could find, then matched the syllables he sings to the ones I needed for my lyrics, and then retuned them.
I recognize where some of the MJ samples came from but which songs were most influential?
Rock With You, Give In To Me, Earth Song, Who Is It? and twenty others
Who is responsible for the awesome video for ‘Take Me Away’ (even though we didn’t get to see it all) and how was it created?
I thought the best way to get people’s attention for my song was to have an awesome video for it… It took even longer to make than the song. I tried to match shots of Michale singing and dancing that matched how I imagined the video to Take Me Away would look. Then I put them together as a full video, and planned to blur the screen so you couldn’t see that he wasn’t actually singing my lyrics. But it looked crap, so I paused the video every few frames, traced it in Photoshop, and altered the shape of MJ’s face/mouth to match him with whatever word he was singing when I’d paused the video.
At the point that the MJ Online Team tried to block the track how did you feel and do you think that the take down was fair?
I contacted them about the track. The video was 30% finished and the song could have benefited from professional production, or more time spent by me to match Michael’s syllables better with each other for a less disjointed sound – so I wondered if the estate was interested in it, and working with me on it. It had received such encouraging comments on YouTube and around the net, that I thought they’d be happy to “see the commercial benefits.” But they felt it disrespected Michael’s legacy to put words into his mouth, words he’d not chosen to sing, and politely asked me to take down the video, which I did. I understand where they’re coming from, they own the copyright on MJ’s voice, so I can’t really argue with them.
What do you think about the response to the track and the fact that MJ fans have endeavored to spread the word even since the block?
It was nice to read that people had cried when they first heard it, that it had touched them. They all knew he never actually sang those words, but to hear his voice in a new song, something they wasn’t expecting… I’m happy that it made so many people around the world happy. I did read on a forum someone saying Michael would never sing these words – he wouldn’t say he didn’t want to go to work no more – as he loves his work (his music). The song isn’t necessarily meant to be from MJs point of view. He’s singing it from the point of any person who is in a job they don’t like, in a climate they don’t like, and who would love to be on an island in the sunshine with their loved one.
Did you or do you have any other MJ tracks in the works?
I actually have three that got completed 10%, and then I had to give up as the vocal editing is just too time consuming, and I have to spend most of my free time looking for full time work (I currently work part time in a supermarket…) I always hoped a multi-millionaire fan of Michael would get in touch and offer to pay my bills for a year or two in return for a full new album of Micael songs, but so far none have come forward!
How can fans of your work find out more about you?
Check out the full track here:
And most of all thank you so much for keeping MJ’s legacy alive and for making us all smile
Thank you, I hope I can do it again someday
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