LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson had two albums in the works at the time of his death, Billboard reported Thursday.
The singer was reportedly crafting a pop album with songwriter Claude Kelly and Akon as well as a collection of classical compositions.
“He was the 'King of Pop,' the biggest to ever do it, and the one thing you never lose -- whether known by the whole world or just 10 people -- is your love for music,” Kelly told the music trade mag. “That never goes away, and it never went away for him amidst his troubles.”
Akon added that Jackson’s upcoming sold-out “This Is It” shows in London had been an inspiration, as well.
“He said, ‘My fans are still there. They still love me. They’re alive,’” Akon said. “His kids are like his first priority, and they had never seen him perform live. He was trying to create the most incredible show for his kids.”
Billboard also reported that Jackson was working on an instrumental album, collaborating with composer David Michael Frank, who had previously worked with the singer on a 1989 TV tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.
“He had two demos of two pieces he’d written, but they weren’t complete,” Frank said. “For one of them, he had a whole section of it done in his head. He had not recorded it. He hummed it to me as I sat at the keyboard in his pool house and we figured out the chords -- I guess this recording I made is the only copy that exists of this music.”
And Jackson had more compositions in the works, including a jazz track.
“He mentioned more instrumental music of his he wanted to record, including one jazz piece,” Frank noted, adding that Jackson had called him to check in on the project several weeks ago. “I hope one day his family will decide to record this music as a tribute and show the world the depth of his artistry.”
This wasn’t the only music Jackson had in the works. When Access Hollywood visited Jackson for his last on-camera interview in Ireland in 2006, he was joined by Will.i.am, who himself was also collaborating with Jackson on new songs.
The Black Eyed Peas frontman told BBC News earlier this week that Jackson had held onto the recordings.
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“He had all the hard drives because I didn’t want to be responsible for that,” Will.i.am said. “It’s one thing to lose a Black Eyed Peas hard drive. I move around a lot and to make songs with Michael Jackson and risk me losing that music, I didn’t want that responsibility. So he kept all the stuff that we worked on.”
He described the tracks as “fresh.”
“It demanded all the people to the dance floor,” Will.i.am said. “Of course, it was melodic. As he would say, ‘juicy.’”
The status of these recordings, and whether they will see future release, remains unknown.