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During the Invincible Era, 2000-2003, Michael would be honoured with many awards as “Artist of the Millennium”, and usher in new sounds for a new century. He gave many interviews and appearances in his 30th year as a solo artist.
During 1999, Michael went back into the studio to prepare a new album. In October, he gave an interview with TV Guide where he discussed his upcoming projects and his past projects, such as Thriller.
In October 2000, Michael was presented with the Best Selling Male Pop Artist of the Millennium Award at the World Music Awards.
On October 21st, 2001, Michael organised a special charity concert in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, called “United We Stand: What More Can I Give”. It was held at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. John Stamos hosted the event which included performances by Al Green, Bette Midler, Destiny’s Child, Pink, Usher, Mariah Carey and many more. Michael closed the concert with performances of “Man in the Mirror” and his new benefit single “What More Can I Give”. All proceeds from the concert went to several charities.
“What More Can I Give” was recorded in October 2001 and featured 35 recording artists. The song was written by Michael in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks with the goal of raising $50 million for charity. Michael said the song was intended to “create a sense of global unity in the face of mindless violence and mass murder”. Michael produced the single which featured Beyonce, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Aaron Carter and many more. Michael intended for the single to be released immediately for the benefit of 9/11 victims, but the song would be shelved by Sony for almost two years.
Michael took part in an online Audio Chat sponsored by Rolling Stone on October 26th. He answered questions from fans via telephone about the new album, the recording process and his music.
The album Invincible was released world wide on October 30th, 2001. The album was the Michael’s first in 10 years that featured all new material. Invincible spent two years in production and cost approximately $30 million to make; reportedly the most expensive album ever made. The album featured 16 tracks, 14 of which Michael wrote or co-wrote; “Unbreakable”, “Heartbreaker”, “Invincible”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “You Rock My World”, “Speechless”, “2000 Watts”, “You Are My Life”, “Privacy”, “Don’t Walk Away”, “The Lost Children” and “Threatened”. R. Kelly contributed the anthem track “Cry” and UK duo Floetry contributed the beautiful “Butterflies”. Slash performed a guitar solo on “Privacy” and Santana contributed a guitar performance to “Whatever Happens”. The album featured two posthumous appearances; a rap performance by Notorious B.I.G on “Unbreakable” and samples of Rod Sterling’s voice on “Threatened”. Brandy contributed additional vocals to “Unbreakable”. Michael brought in Rodney Jerkins of Darkchild to produce and write on six of the tracks. Again, Michael produced the entire project himself and played many of the musical instruments. The album was initially released with cover art that came in five limited edition colours. Invincible went to number 1 in 13 countries including the US, UK and Australia. The album showed incredible first week sales in the US, selling over 300,000 copies. Invincible sold a massive 5.4 million copies in just two months of its release.
Michael was interviewed by TV Guide in early November 2001. He discussed his music, his 30th Anniversary celebration and fatherhood. On November 7th, Michael gave his first ever in-store signing appearance at the Virgin Mega Store in Times Square in New York City to promote Invincible.
The second single from Invincible; “Cry”, was released world wide, except for the US in November 2001. The song was written and produced by R. Kelly. The anthem ballad featured a music video depicting people holding hands all across the world. It did not feature Michael himself. The song became a top 10 single in four countries and peaked at number 25 in the UK.
On January 9, 2002, Michael appeared at the American Music Awards to accept the “Artist of the Century Award”.
In Early 2002, Sony Music suddenly cancelled its promotion of Invincible. The third single, “Butterflies” was due for release in early February, but Sony pulled the single’s commercial release for unknown reasons. The single was released to radio stations and reached number 14 on the US chart and number 2 on the US R&B chart based on radio play alone. The single was also promotionally released in Europe.
Also in June, Michael launched an attack on Sony Music Entertainment and head Tommy Mottola, because of their decision to cancel promotion of Invincible. Just prior to the release of Invincible, Michael had informed Tommy Mottola that he would not be renewing his contract with Sony Music, which was due to expire in 2002. All single releases, video shooting and promotion was cancelled as a result of the feud. Michael joined forces with Johnnie Cochrane and Rev. Al Sharpton and held press conferences and protests to speak out against Sony Music in June and July. Michael accused record companies of conspiring against their artists and he also personally attacked Tommy Mottola.
Fans staged a peaceful protest outside Sony Music’s offices in London on 15th of June, where Michael joined in. On the same day, Michael attended the Killer Thriller party, held by MJNI at The Equinox at Leicester Square, along with 2,200 fans. Michael announced that Invincible was indeed his last studio album for Sony. Tommy Mottola resigned from Sony Music Entertainment in January 2003.
In August 2002, it was announced that Michael had become the father of a third child. Prince Michael II (nicknamed “Blanket”) was born in February 2002 with the help of an unknown surrogate mother.
In November 2002, Michael was presented an award for “Pop Artist of the Milennium” at the Bambi Awards in Berlin, Germany. It was at this award show that the official music video for “What More Can I Give” was debuted.
On February 3rd, 2003, the documentary, “Living With Michael Jackson” aired on UK television. For the 90 minute special, Michael allowed journalist Martin Bashir to interview him over a period of eight months. Michael made nothing off limits and agreed to do the documentary so that he could give the world a truthful account of his life. Martin Bashir followed Michael to Europe, Las Vegas and Neverland and Michael spoke of his personal life, creating his music and dancing and his children. Martin Bashir’s narration provided a sinister and sensational overtone to the documentary. The programme was watched by 13 million viewers in the UK and 27 million in the US. Michael issued a statement immediately after the broadcasts, citing his disappointment at the dishonest representation of his life. Michael said he felt betrayed by Martin Bashir, calling the documentary “terrible and unfair”.
Michael released footage of the “Living With Michael Jackson” interviews, captured by his own cameras in the form of a documentary; “Take Two”, presented by Maury Pauvich. “Take Two” aired on February 20th, 2002 and showed Martin Bashir’s actual comments and reactions during the “Living With Michael Jackson” interviews. The documentary showed that Martin Bashir had deceived Michael Jackson for the purposes of a sensational documentary.
On July 3rd, “Men In Black II” was released. Michael had a small comedic cameo as the character in the movie as “Agent M”.
In June Michael was honoured in his hometown of Gary, Indiana with a key to the city. He went back to his old home on 2300 Jackson Street and was then presented with an honorary High School Diploma from Roosevelt High School in Gary.
On August 29th, 2003, Michael turned 45. He attended a special birthday party held in his honour; the “Celebration of Love” in Los Angeles on August 30th. The party was attended by fans and friends from all over the world and Michael gave a heartfelt thank you speech dedicated to his fans.
Finally, in October 2003, “What More Can I Give” was released to the public in the form of a download from an official website for $2. The proceeds went to various children’s charities. Also in October, Michael was presented with a key to the City of Las Vegas.
On November 18th, 2003, Michael released “Number Ones”; a new compilation album. The album featured 18 tracks- 16 number one hits from Michael’s solo career with Epic / Sony and two bonus tracks; “Break of Dawn” (from Invincible) and a new single; “One More Chance”. A DVD was released to accompany the album which featured 15 short films from Michael’s career.
By the end of the 2003, Michael Jackson had released two albums, gave many appearances and special performances. Despite little promotion, the album Invincible sold over 8 million copies world wide. Number Ones has sold over 6 million copies world wide and the DVD has sold over a million copies. Michael had been honoured several times over as the “Artist of the Millennium”. He took on many projects including charity, performance and even a movie cameo. He received keys to two different cities and campaigned for his rights. Michael had started the new century with a bang!
Read about the previous History era.
Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness by J. Randy Tarraborrelli
Michael Jackson’s Online Audio Chat 2001
Articles from the following newspapers and magazines:
Article written solely for allmichaeljackson.com by Marni Carlsson.
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