'This was a record that [MJ] wrote and that he produced. And I just got in there,' the producer maintains.
By Jayson Rodriguez, with reporting by James Lacsina
While detractors of Michael Jackson's Michael album cry foul over the unfinished material that makes up the bulk of the posthumous project, producer Christopher "Tricky" Stewart is insisting that his contribution to the release was material MJ put together — and finished — himself.
In the case of "Keep Your Head Up," one of the album's biggest standouts, Stewart told MTV News that the track was not a remake of any kind. Rather, he just added minor additional production flourishes to the number.
"The main thing I wanted to do was make sure that Michael would like it," said Stewart, who has worked with Beyoncé, Mariah Carey and The-Dream. "And that it would feel like something he would do naturally if he was here. A lot of it was probably me overthinking it a little bit. And trying to deliver what I think he would do. And there's so much music that he made that I could reference the precision of what he was into musically. I did that and this was a song that he wrote. It wasn't he and me making a record. This was a record that he wrote and that he produced. And I just got in there.
He added, "It was really just about getting into his mental space and trying to find out the best way to deliver that record."
"Keep Your Head" leaked online prior to Michael's release and was under scrutiny regarding the validity of MJ's vocals.
Although, it's evident that Jackson's lead crooning on "Keep Your Head" is authentic and new, some of the background vocals are alleged to be from previously released material, like the 1995 tune "Earth Song."
Stewart confirmed that the primary vocals are Jackson's and said he was satisfied with the result.
"It was really surreal," the producer said of the experience. "Getting into that moment and getting into that space, to have the opportunity to work with the greatest entertainer of all time. Or work on, I should say. It was a tremendous time in my life to just get in there and listen to his voice, be able to strip down the track and listen to him in his purest form — something that most people can't do. It was a great experience. I'm glad I did it, I had a lot of fun doing it and I think the track came out great."
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