The Jacksons are fronting Dubai's biggest NYE disco. Read our interview
The Jacksons redefined popular music as we know it. Chanelle Tourish talks to Jackie and Tito about their legacy, and their up-coming NYE gig in Dubai.
Adored by millions the world over, the Jacksons redefined the landscape of popular music. When siblings Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito rose to fame in the ’70s with their late brother Michael, they instantly became an unstoppable global sensation. Their unique brand of soulful pop-funk, lengthy catalogue of hits and impeccable live performances have made them one of the most loved musical acts of all time.
Classic number one hits including ‘ABC’, ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘I’ll Be There’, catapulted the group to superstardom. With nine number one hits and 14 top tens, the Jacksons have certainly left their mark on the charts. These timeless tracks remain every bit as infectious, incomparable and iconic today as they were when first released. We find out more about their enduring legacy. Get tickets here
There aren’t many artists nowadays whose first four singles reach number one. It must still feel pretty incredible to have made history so young. Tito: It was incredible to make history so young. Although we were kids we knew that we had a dream, and we had a lot of older protégés such as Diana Ross, The Temptations and The Miracles who used to prepare us for the ‘big time’ as we called it back then, but it was very exciting, the whole thing.
Those earlier days must have been pandemonium. What’s the craziest fan experience you’ve ever had? Tito: We had something like 10,000 fans at Heathrow Airport when we first went to London. It was a disaster because they mobbed us and tore our clothes off us and they just had their way with us. Jackie: It was something that we weren’t expecting, the minute we were taxing down the runway when we landed, there was more than 10,000 screaming fans at five in the morning. They were camping in sleeping bags waiting for us to land. It just shows how much they really loved the music and it was fun to see that the first time around.
You’ve been in the industry for more than 30 years. What was it like coming back together for your Unity Tour in 2012? Jackie: I mean, coming back after 30 years to do that was something special because we really didn’t know what to expect because we haven’t been on the stage in a long time. We got together and we met and talked things over before we did any music and just tried to put a song list together that we thought the fans would really want to hear. So when we went to the rehearsal hall, everything just fell together. You are performing at the New Year’s Eve Masterjam in Dubai. How do you usually spend New Year’s Eve? Jackie: Tito spends it with his family in Los Angeles, I spend it with mine in Las Vegas and Marlon is in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s been a long time since we got together so this time we will be doing New Year’s Eve together because we will be doing the show. What can we expect from the New Year’s Eve concert? Tito: We’re gonna have a lot of fun, it’s going to be one big party. We will sing all the hits that you know and we gonna light it up! It’s New Year’s! Jackie: Tell everyone to bring their dancing shoes because we gonna have them dancing all night. You are sharing the stage with Gloria Gaynor, Chaka Khan and Nile Rodgers. Are you looking forward to reliving the disco days? Jackie: When they told us that all those people were going to be in the show, we were so excited because we know all of them. We haven’t seen them in a while so I can’t wait to see them and just say hello, they are part of musical history as well. Do you have a favourite performance or tour to date? Jackie: Yeah, the Victory Tour in 1984. Tito: It was a great time in our career because we played 17 cities, and in some, we did more than three concerts. We hold the record for stadium tours, so that was one of the most exciting and memorable times of our career. Being family, does it make it easier or more difficult to be in a group? Tito: It makes it easier because we are brothers and although all brothers have their differences, we love each other dearly. The one thing is we will always be brothers, so if we were friends in a group, one of us would probably just say ‘I don’t want to deal with these guys’ but when you are brothers there is a love there that you just can’t run away from. You’ve been an inspiration for so many modern artists, but who inspires you? Jackie: James Brown and Johnny Mathis, Jackie Wilson and Sammy Davis, Jr. all inspired us. Mary J Blige recently told us that Michael Jackson gave everything to his fans and kept nothing for himself. Do you agree with that? Tito: I don’t think you can ever give too much… Jackie [interrupts]: I agree with her. He gave so much all the time and that’s something he’s always done is give a lot to his fans. That’s why he’s so successful so that’s why he catered to them because the fans are the ones who made him. Tito: I think we all did. You said in an interview that your goal is ‘to unite the world together as one and let the world come together as one.’ What did you mean? Jackie: If you listen to the lyrics on ‘Can You Feel It’, which was written by Michael and myself, it talks about uniting the world in peace and harmony. I think the best and quickest way to spread love is through music, always. How do you want The Jacksons to be remembered as a group? Jackie: The Jacksons are a group that made music for all ages, a group that when they stepped on the stage they gave 100 percent no matter what and more. A group that have so much love for their fans and who are willing to always give back to those in need. You are all on Twitter. Jackie, you posted something recently about being a fan of electronic music and Ariana Grande. Jackie: Yeah, I’m a big fan of Ariana, she’s got so much talent and she’s destined to be a superstar artist. I like to listen to all kinds of different music, all depending on what I’m in the mood for. At the moment electronic music seems to be making everyone happy and that’s what makes me smile – people having a great time and enjoying themselves.’ What are you plans for 2015? Jackie: We have great projects coming up, more touring and albums. We are in the studio recording now. People don’t want us to shy away from our old sound, that’s what they want to hear, The Jacksons, along with a new sound today. Dhs495-13,500. 6pm-3am. New Year’s Eve Masterjam, Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City masterjam.ae
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Laurence P Dec 17, 2014 11:27 pm
That show is going to be off the chain. I understand that Kathy Sledge is also going to be there. They were kids stars together when they they were the Jackson 5 and she was with Sister Sledge . What a reunion. This is a stellar lineup.