Voice on Jackson album far from finished article

Mon Dec 13, 2010 2:21pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Recordings of Michael Jackson's voice on a new album being released this week were far from the finished article and required considerable digital enhancement, according to one of its main producers.

But Teddy Riley, who worked with the King of Pop on several records before his death, believed that "Michael" would go down as a classic, albeit short of the heights of Jackson's heyday in the late 70s and early 80s.

"I had to do more processing to the voice, which is why people were asking about the authenticity of his voice," Riley told Reuters of the first album of new Jackson material since the singer's sudden death 18 months ago.

The project has been mired in controversy since members of Jackson's family were quoted questioning the authenticity of the voice on some tracks and his father's lawyer said the perfectionist would never have wanted the music released.

"We had to do what we had to do to make ... his voice work with the actual music," Riley added in an interview.

"He (Jackson) would never consider it being a final vocal. But because he's not with us he cannot give us new vocals. What we did was utilize the Melodyne (technology) to get him in key.

"With the Melodyne we actually move the stuff up which is the reason why some of the vibrato sounds a little off or processed, over-processed. We truly apologize for that happening, but you are still hearing the true Michael Jackson."

Riley worked on three of the 10 songs on the album -- "Hollywood Tonight," "Monster" and "Breaking News."   Continued...

<p>The wax figure of late pop star Michael Jackson is unveiled at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood, California August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>