1987 "Ebony/Jet" TV interview PDF Print E-mail


On his feelings about finishing album “BAD” and how long the creative process for it took:

“I feel rejuvenated kind of. Because after working on it so long, it’s so much work. A lot of people, they’re used to just seeing the outcome of work. […] I don’t remember [how long the creative process took]. I totally don’t remember. I don’t even count the hours or anything. Every song is different. Sometimes it happends quickly, sometimes it happens slowly. No one can quite say what the creative process is. I have nothing to do with it almost. It’s created in space. It’s God’s work, not mine.”

On the concept of single "Man In The Mirror":

"It is my philosophy, too: "If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change". People don’t look at themselves honestly. They don’t look at themselves and point the finger, it’s always the other guy’s fault. You should change yourself. Look at yourself, make better of yourself. [...] I’m never totally satisfied, I always wish the world could be a better place. [...] No, not at all!...Hopefully, that’s what I do with my music, and bring happiness to people...and to bring joy and some peace in their lives."

On short film Bad’s plot, based on a true story:

"This kid who went to school upstate, in the country or whatever, who is from the ghetto and he tries to make something of his life, and he will leave all his friends behind. And when he came back on a spring break, or whatever, Thanksgiving break, his friends became so envious, jealous of him and they killed him. But in the film I don’t die, of course. So it’s a true story that we’ve taken from „Time” or „Newsweek” magazine. And he is a black kid like me, and it’s a sad story. (…) Stories like that are very sad, because it’s all very negative, it’s wrong. I think that’s life to want to grow and become more. Like you plant a seed and it grows into something beautiful, and it never dies really. I think people should be that way.”

On being a "prayer person":

"I pray a lot. I see beautiful sunset and I say „God, that’s beautiful…Thank you”, or a baby smile or butterfly wings or anything like that.”

On Joseph Merrick, the 'Elephant Man'’s life story:

"I’ve been to the London school for doctors twice and I visited John Merrick’s remains, who I feel a closeness to. I love the story of the Elephant Man, it’s a very sad story. […]”

On human beings treating people as animals (in reference to the Elephant Man’s story):

"[…] That’s what war is all about…so many of the problems in the past… I don’t think anybody likes war and, in truth, I don’t like war, I like peace, I’m a peaceful person.”

On thinking about being an ambassador on the premise of being "accepted” by the world:

"I feel I’m that already with my music [...] and it breaks all barriers, I don’t have to make a political statement. I do all that with music. It breaks all language barriers and everything, to all races of people. I go to (see people) all over the world. And it’s fun to see kids from India or whatever country you name who know about the music.”

On a specific part from his spoken intro to love song, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”:

“I say: ‘A lot of people misunderstand me, that’s because they don’t know me’… I guess that’s true… People believe a lot of crazy stories that were written — some is true, some is not and... […] Sometimes [it hurts], but it’s part of the work, you know…[…] A lot of times [I feel like telling them ‘Hey, that’s not true!’]. But why bring more attention to a thing, you know?…”

On whether he feels he missed out on a lot by not remembering not performing:

“Of course, but I’ve gained a lot too. A lot of people never get out of their home town and get to see other wonderful places. A lot of kids read about things that I get to see in person, all over the world. I’m so happy about that, I mean, you never can have everything.”