Papa Joe – Star Groomer
‘Slave-driver? No, I’m really a star groomer’
Jackson would rather preside over hip-hop TV boot camp than manage his famous
children again he was credited with overseeing the early careers of
his children, eventually turning them into singing superstars.
By Jeanmarie Tan
He was credited with
overseeing the early careers of his children, eventually turning them into
Ask the patriarch of
America’s first family of pop if he would ever want to manage his children
again, and he replied candidly: ‘No way. Not unless they listen.
‘When they get to a certain
age, they get these big ideas, and they don’t know the people that surround
them are not the friends they thought they were until five years down the road.
‘That’s the lesson you pay
for and you’re learning, and that’s a very, very, very expensive lesson,’
Jackson said, alluding to the countless public lawsuits and private settlements
that have plagued his troubled clan. Father
knows best, it seems.
soft-spoken and genial 77-year-old was speaking to The New Paper last Friday
from his Hyatt Hotel suite, looking exhausted from not getting enough shut-eye
since arriving in Singapore from Las Vegas the day before.
He is here to launch Joe
Jackson’s Hip-Hop Boot Camp, a singing competition-cum-reality TV series which
aims to unearth the world’s next hip-hop wunderkind.
Yet, Jackson didn’t lose
his cool when we brought up Michael’s 2005 trial, of which
he was acquitted in a US court.
‘I spoke to him a month
ago. He’s okay, he’s strong like me,’ Jackson said.
But are the effects of last
year’s controversial scandal still being felt by the family?
Jackson offered: ‘It was a
little bit bothersome to see Michael up there being accused of something that
he didn’t do, and knowing he didn’t do it because as parents, we believed in
him and knew it.
‘When you’re successful,
people come along and try to take advantage of that, use some type of scheme to
get money. It put him at a standstill for a reason – to regroup.
‘Now that he has found what
he wants to do from now on and the countries he wants to work in, I think he’s
turning himself around to do what he knows best.’
The reclusive ‘king of pop’
left the US in the wake of his harrassment by the media during his trial, spent
time in Bahrain, and is currently setting up temporary residence in Ireland.
Jackson said: ‘He doesn’t
want to go back (to the US) too quickly. He gets more recognition from other
countries all over the world than America.
‘People try to bring a superstar down, but he has too many loyal fans
all over the world, and I appreciate them for sticking by him through all these
After a five-year hiatus
from recording, Michael recently announced that he’s collaborating with Black
Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am for his comeback album, which is due for release
And what are Jackson’s
thoughts on his son branching out into hip-hop, the multi-billion-dollar
industry that he himself is trying to cash in on?
‘I don’t have any problem
with it – as long as he can take it to the bank!’ he said laughingly.
However, Jackson wasn’t as
pleased about the disappointing sales of daughter Janet’s latest album 20 Y.O. He said: ‘Well, what I would’ve liked to
have seen, is that when you’re working with great star producers and doing
great things with those producers, you don’t change up.
‘She did change up and you
see what’s happening now. I’m thinking her album would’ve been better if she
had stuck with those producers.’
But right now, Jackson is
saving his tips for his new proteges from the Hip-Hop Boot Camp project, which
is scheduled to start in the US in March.
The show will also have an Asian spin-off, as hip-hop talents from
Singapore and Malaysia can audition from January onwards for a chance to train
under hip-hop experts in New York City.
It has been mooted that the top 12 contestants from both countries
return to Singapore and compete on TV, Singapore Idol-style, for a recording
Jackson and his business
associates are currently promoting the concept to MediaCorp.
But a boot camp presided
over by Jackson, who has a reputation for dishing out tough love, sounds scary. ‘Now, why do they give that (label) to me? I
don’t know why they put me in that character,’ he protested. ‘No, it’s not
scary. It’s like a learning process you have to go through to make it big in
the entertainment field.’
So is he a slave-driver?
‘No, I’m no slave-driver –
I’m a driver,’ he said, chuckling at his own joke.
‘Anyway, we call that