Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros

July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson: 3 Thoughts About the King of Pop

Just watched the Michael Jackson memorial tribute at the Staples Center in LA. A lot has been written and broadcast about MJ over the past two weeks. I haven't posted anything about it thus far, but feel inspired to share some thoughts now.
In no particular order, here are three things I've been reminded of in the wake of Michael Jackson's passing:

- The power of music. I always encourage musicians to remember what it's like to be a fan as well as an artist -- and to realize the true impact that music can have on individuals, groups of people, entire nations, and even the world at large.

That was certainly evident as MJ's entire musical catalog hit our collective awareness this past week or so. How many times did you say or think, "Oh yeah. I remember that one. What a great song!"

Beyond that, the songs tapped into an emotion, a memory, or a spark of energy that made you feel good -- then sad to know the person who created that unique musical expression was gone.

What an amazing reminder of the powerful impact that simple melody and lyrics can create!

- The power of vision and focus. I spoke last week with someone who had spent time with Michael Jackson. He shared a story that MJ told him about his childhood.

Back in the early days of the Jackson 5, the family was driving by a crowded soccer stadium. The young Michael remarked, "I'd like to play music at soccer stadiums some day." His brothers laughed it off as a childish dream. Michael kept quiet, but later found a photo of a packed stadium and pictured himself on stage in front of a massive crowd when he rehearsed.

Obviously, MJ was socially shy and had self-image issues. But what is undeniable was his confidence and work ethic as a performer. He had boundless ambitions and put in the hours of practice and recording to become one of the most successful entertainers in history.

What a great reminder to not let perceived weaknesses or circumstances hold you back.

- Success requires sacrifice ... and balance. Countless people desire large-scale success as a performer. But few are willing to make it the focus of their existence. Michael Jackson backed up his dreams with a pursuit of excellence (and probably perfection). But going that route had consequences.

Elvis Presley suffered the same fate, as do many celebrities in the spotlight. Single-mindedness can certainly get you results -- but what about your health, your relationships, your finances, and your personal development? I'm not suggesting you water down your goals - just look at the bigger picture as you pursue them.

MJ's death serves as a reminder to think through what you're getting into when you dream big.

Michael Jackson was nearly two years older than me, which means I grew up with him -- when he was a kid, so was I; when he was making history on MTV in the '80s, I was in my 20s digging this new form of music media; when he changed his look and appeared in court in the '90s, I made fun of him along with so many others. He's always been there.

And now he's gone.

But he left behind an amazing cultural impact, an incredible body of work, countless charitable good deeds, millions of fans ...

And now a reason to pause and reflect on his gifts, his legacy, and the lessons we can learn from him.

Long live Michael Jackson!

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posted by Bob Baker @ 4:04 PM   4 comments


At Jul 7, 2009, 4:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Michael has influenced the whole world and set out and done his job: RIP Mike

At Jul 9, 2009, 12:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your thoughtful and honest commentary. Nicely done. :-)

At Jul 9, 2009, 4:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very insightful commentary about the power of visualizing. Michael saw himself in the soccer stadium as a kid, woah. And I'm wondering if he forget to imagine all aspects of his life working, including personal health and relationship with the public.

At Jul 11, 2009, 12:49:00 AM, Blogger Jeffrey Paul said...


I think your points about dreaming big and finding balance are right on.

I'm glad you focused especially on his musical legacy.

Let me know how you enjoy this tribute song:


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