Michael Jackson is an American recording artist, who has influenced and inspired numerous musicians to sing and dance. Jackson debuted on the professional music scene at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group. He became a dominant figure in popular music during the 1980s, and the first African-American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. His sixth solo studio album, Thriller (1982), became the the best-selling album of all time. The album, which has sold over 104 million units, inspired his younger sister Janet to release Control.
With stage performances and music videos, Jackson, referred to as the "King of Pop" in subsequent years, popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. The dance moves impacted on the lives of several young artists, who sought to emulate their idol. Jackson's clothing was also a source of inspiration for many people. The attire he wore during the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever performance of "Billie Jean" inspired millions of children to don black fedoras and single white gloves. Among those who sought or sported the single glove were Beanie Sigel and Fefe Dobson, the latter insisting that she was Jackson.
Many current contemporary R&B, pop and hip hop artists were influenced by Jackson. Spin editor Doug Brod commented, "In terms of pop songs and performance, Jackson pretty much has no peer. Every current pop star, from Kanye West to Rihanna, will say he's their biggest influence. His impact on the pop charts has been phenomenal." Jackson has stated that several of the artists that he influenced are as equally inspiring to him. "I think Justin is doing a wonderful job as well as Usher and it's great to see. I'm inspired by what they do and I'm sure I inspired him and it's very nice."
Artists influenced and inspired by Jackson
|Artist||Country||Comments on Jackson||Ref|
|A. R. Rahman||India||"Yes, I have been inspired by Michael Jackson, though probably not in character. My voice and Michael Jackson's have the same range, since we both have a high pitch, so it probably creates an impression that it is similar."|||
|Beanie Sigel||U.S.||"I don't give a fuck how tough you are, you wanted a [Michael Jackson] glove. If you were anywhere between the ages of 25 and 40, when Michael was out there doing his thing with 'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It', you wanted the glove. And you had the [leather] jacket and you had the button and you had that poster too — the one when Michael had that yellow V-neck sweater on."|||
|Beyoncé Knowles||U.S.||"If it wasn’t for Michael Jackson I would never have ever performed."|||
|Britney Spears||U.S.||"This is someone who has inspired me and just about everybody in this room, and the world. I consider him the artist of the millennium. He is a true innovator, who pioneered the art of music video, broke down countless barriers, and sold more records than any other artists along the way."[nb 1]|||
|Chris Brown||U.S.||"There isn't an artist out now that hasn't been influenced or inspired by Michael Jackson. When I was 2 years old in diapers, I sang and danced to Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson is as close to perfection as an artist can be."|||
|Ciara||U.S.||"The biggest influence for me is Michael Jackson, and then there is Prince and Janet Jackson. I'm an old soul. I love older material."|||
|Dan the Automator||U.S.||"I was much more inspired by Michael Jackson than Beethoven."|||
|Dryden Mitchell||U.S.||"My first concert was Michael Jackson at Dodger Stadium when I was like 10 years old. I was a huge fanatic, and I never stopped being a fan."|||
|Fefe Dobson||Canada||"Dude, I thought I was Michael Jackson, OK? I was wearing that white wife-beater and the glove. I swore I was Michael Jackson. Then I found out I wasn't Michael Jackson and it broke my heart."|||
|Ginuwine||U.S.||"If it weren't for Michael Jackson, a lot of us wouldn't be here."|||
|Janet Jackson||U.S||"When Thriller came, I was so envious. It was so incredible. I was so happy for him but it was like, 'Why can't that be me? That's what I want to do.' That's what inspired me to do Control."|||
|John Legend||U.S.||"He's still a genius and he's still made some of the most important music of the last 30 years. And I still have the utmost respect for him as an artist."|||
|Juggy D||U.K.||"MJ as an inspiration reflects in me when I'm performing. I'm an entertainer and I get the crowd going."|||
|Justin Timberlake||U.S.||"Just like Michael took inspiration from James [Brown], sure, Michael's inspired me immensely to do what I do. Anytime someone comes out and dances and does something with choreography, they say, 'Well, that's inspired by Michael.' So, thank you. That's a compliment."|||
|Kelis||U.S.||"He's influenced all of us in some way. We all at some point were in the mirror trying to be him."|||
|Lil' Romeo||U.S.||"I'm influenced by my dad's music and Michael Jackson."|||
|Marques Houston||U.S.||"Everyone knows that my greatest influence has been Michael Jackson, basically because of his musical genius and abilities. In terms of skills as an artiste, I would like to be on par with him."|||
|Missy Elliott||U.S.||"He's my biggest influence so that's why I'm very defensive. I'm ready to fight about Michael Jackson, so we pray to God he didn't do it, 'cause I might go to jail trying to defend him."[nb 2]|||
|Ne-Yo||U.S||"Michael Jackson is one of the reasons why I sing. When we met he was really cool people. He was really regular people. Everyone expects Michael Jackson to be this weird guy and he's not. He had a regular suit on. There was nothing weird about him."|||
|Omarion||U.S.||"He was my main influence. I think Michael Jackson started a lot of things in this industry. He's a great entertainer, and that's what I always wanted to do."|||
|Pharrell Williams||U.S.||"I met Michael at his video shoot in California. I told him from the age of 6 I would burn holes in my socks moon walking in the bathroom."|||
|R. Kelly||U.S.||"I was psyched ... I feel I could have done his whole album. Not being selfish. I was just that geeked about it. It was an experience out of this world ... It's amazing to know that five years ago I was writing songs in a basement in the ghetto and now I'm writing for Michael Jackson ... I'd be a fool not to say it's a dream come true."[nb 3]|||
|Sean Combs||U.S.||"Michael Jackson has been a positive influence in my life."|||
|Snoop Dogg||U.S||"That's the king right there. Michael Jackson has always been an inspiration to me as far as his music is concerned. You can't take nothing from him."|||
|Usher||U.S.||"Mike is the truth and you can never deny the truth. That great choreography and great energy that Michael puts behind it, [entertainers] try to re-create that feeling. I try to take different kinds of dance and apply it in the same way Michael did in 'Thriller,' 'Beat It' and 'Off the Wall'."|||
- List of best-selling albums worldwide
- List of best-selling music artists
- List of Michael Jackson's awards
- Records and achievements of Michael Jackson
- Britney Spears introducing Jackson at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002.
- Missy Elliott after Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 2003. He was later acquited on all charges.
- R. Kelly on working with Jackson on "You Are Not Alone" for the HIStory album.
- George, p. 20
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