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Michael Jackson, a star to believe in?

12 years following your voice #3

© Renée Paul, artiste peintre, huile sur toile galerie, 2012, 72 cm x 51 cm
© Renée Paul, Ombre et lumière

I had spent the summer stunned. Everything was spinning in my head to the point that I was afraid, at times, of going crazy. How could such a tragedy, such a horror have happened? What was going to happen to us, musicians? What was going to happen to the music?

I remember sitting on the beach, my eyes lost in the horizon of this coast where I had too often brushed against him, never approached him, with a recurrent spectre in my eyes: that of his immobile body. Unbearable idea, dysfunctional. An impossible equation. I didn't know then that a year later the counterpart to this image would appear in the same way and just as suddenly... That, stuck at the door of his mausoleum, in Los Angeles, as close as possible to this body, I would suddenly have the specter of his feet in motion and his body dancing. I kept this memory anchored in me because the dizziness had been so sudden. I was a few meters away from his unbearably inert and silent corpse and it was suddenly a wildly alive image that came to life in my mind.

I don't know if this mental image was the result of an uncontrollable denial or a message of life imposing itself on me.... Yet the wave of grief was immense at that very moment.

After those 2 months of summer 2009 spent wondering what to do to thank him for all he had brought to music in general and to my life in particular, wandering in the first few forums on the net (I was not yet registered on any social network), having searched for books talking about his music (the only one I could find was "In the studio with MJ" by Bruce), I told myself that I had to act. Yes, but what to do? A blog? A website?

I would have loved to find books revealing the recipes of his work, of his talent, to discover the inner kitchens of his sound, shaped in the studio, that I had always tried to imagine... I would have loved to be told about the combined talents of those names that I peeled off the back of LP covers as a kid, without being able to imagine their faces - except for Quincy, of course, whom we saw on television from time to time: Bruce Swedien, Rod Temperton, David Paich, Greg Phillinganes, Paulinho Da Costa... who were these shadowy people who made these sounds? I would have liked to read the stories of this miraculous factory, of this sound Ali Baba's cave where they worked with him, and to be told about this face that I imagined singing behind the microphone, close to my ear, when I closed my eyes... The sound was so transparent, so pure, so luxuriant, and he was so close, accessible, within reach of my heart... But nothing. Only bibliographical accounts by the mile and superimposable as one pleases.

At the end of September, on a Sunday morning when I was attending a religious ceremony from outside the building, because of the crowd, an idea came to me. I couldn't concentrate on what was going on. For 3 months I had been totally absorbed by this event, by this loss. All of a sudden, this idea came up: "Why don't you go back to college and do a thesis on him? His music is so rich and no one seems to have done it in this field. The next thing I thought was, "You're crazy! They're going to laugh in your face!" Indeed, 15 years earlier, when I had wanted to do a DEA and then a PhD on pop music, it had been explained to me that I had to be serious.... "You have to study Music, but finally, Miss!...What could be interesting to analyze in all this "zing-boum-boum"? (a little cynical, condescending laughter...)" I had therefore stopped my research, which at the time was about music criticism in the 19th century, and I had taken the competitive exams to enter teaching. I had to live.

This being said, in addition, it was the end of September, and university registrations had to be completed. This idea seemed a bit far-fetched and hopeless...

And at that moment, I raised my eyes to the sky. And my eyes met, on the pediment of the chapel, a triangle with lightning bolts and 7s in the middle. I had never paid any attention to it... And then I had an electric shock. I said to myself, "You have to do this! Call tomorrow!" And I called. First call to the Sorbonne: it was, indeed, too late. Second call to Strasbourg: I was asked to send in my research project and, a few days later, it was an unconditional "Yes!

That day, like some of the days of the summer before and many days after, I knew that he was there. That he was going to accompany me. That he had not let us down... I began to believe in his star...


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