Michael Jacksonâs BAD Album Re-Released On 25th Anniversary<br />

Siedah Garrett and Michael Jackson

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you go finish the lyrics and I’ll finish the music.” It was Wednesday. He said, “We’ll meet on Friday and we’ll do the demo.” So, on Friday, by the time we finished the actual demo, the Qwest Publishing office was closed for the weekend. I could not wait until Monday. I mean, I’ve never done this since and I have never done it before. I called Quincy and said, “Dude, I have this song that Glen and I wrote for Michael. I think it’s a really good song. I would love if you could hear it.” He said, “Okay. Just take it to the Qwest Publishing on Monday and I’ll hear it and I’ll get back to you.” I said, “Dude, can we just -- let me just drop it off.” He’s like, “I’m in a meeting. I have 12 people here in a meeting. I can’t right now.” I tell him again,“Let me just drop it off.” He said, “Alright.” Then he hung up. So, I go to Quincy’s house and I knock on the door. He comes to the door. He opens the front door and I see a view of the dining room from the front door and there are 12 suits sitting at his dining room table. They’re all looking up at me like, “This better be good because you’re interrupting some big business here. This really better be good.” So, I’m getting all their vibes, right? Quincy comes to the door and I hand him the cassette. I said, “Dude, all I ask is just let me know what you think.” He says, “Alright. Alright.”

EBONY: What happened next?

SIEDAH GARRETT: A couple hours later, the phone rings and Quincy goes, “Siedah, this is the best song I’ve heard in 10 years.” So, I’m like grooving. The fact that Quincy’s telling me the best song in 10 years. Yes! Then he says, “But -- then I hear that Charlie Brown teacher voice, “Wha, wha, wha, wha.” Because I really don’t want to know what is coming after but because I don’t really care. I’m just bubbling in the best song in 10 years. Let me just live in that for a moment. Then I hear Quincy say something like, “Michael has been in the studio with him for two and a half years. He has yet to record a song that he didn’t write. I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s going to record it.” I just had to let it go. I said, “Okay. Whatever. Just let it go. I’m going to release that.” Four or five days later I get a call from Quincy and he’s in the studio. He comes on the phone and he says, “Well, we’re in the studio recording your old piece of song.” I’m like, “Yes!” He says, “Michael wants the chorus to be twice as long. He really wants you to -- then he says, “Hold on a minute.” Then I hear [him talking to Michael in the background]. Of course, he said, “He really wants you to bring home the idea of -- hold on Siedah.” Then I hear [him talking to Michael in the background]. Then Quincy says, “Hold on a minute.” Quincy Jones puts Michael on the phone.

EBONY: What was it like talking to him for the first time?

SIEDAH GARRETT: Okay, my whole childhood when I was growing up, Michael was my husband. My cousins had Jackie and my sister had Jermaine. We all had the brothers, but Michael was my husband. So, to me, in my little 6-year-old or 13-year-old brain I’m talking to my husband. I don’t want to get over excited. I don’t want to sound too much like a screaming fan. I went strictly into telephone operator [mode]. I said, “Hello? How can I help you?” He says, “I love your voice. I love the song.” Then he starts telling me what he wants the next four lines of lyrics to say. So, the next day I write six different stanzas for him to choose from. What he ended up choosing was, “You got to get it right while you got the time. When you close your heart then you close your mind.” Those four, that stanza, those four lines were not in the original demo. He asked me to come up with more lines to make the chorus twice as long and I did. The rest, as they say, is history.

EBONY: That was the beginning of your work relationship with Michael?

SIEDAH GARRETT: Yeah.

EBONY: The demo they heard was actually you singing what he would ultimately record?

SIEDAH GARRETT: That’s right. When we recorded the song, my vocal range is a little higher than Michael’s range. The song demo was in a key one step higher than he was comfortable singing it.