Brad Sundberg granted us with an exclusive interview just a few days before his seminar in Paris. Next stop should be Stockholm. More information about the seminar here.

MJJ NEWS: How and when did you meet Michael Jackson ?

BRAD SUNDBERG: I first met Michael when he was recording at Westlake Studios for Captain Eo, likely in the fall of 1984.  I was a runner (janitor/helper/food delivery guy) for Westlake, and Michael was working with my friend Matt Forger.  He used to drive himself to the studio, and we would let him in the back door.  There was virtually no security, no entourage, nothing special.  He was lighthearted, and focused on the project.  From the first time I met him I genuinely liked him as a person.  He was pleasant to be around, had a great sense of humor and brought laughter into any room.

MJJN: How would you describe his artistry and his impact on the music industry ?

BS : He was a groundbreaker.  He danced, he sang, he wrote, he entertained virtually in a class of his own.  He was the right talent with the right team at the right place and at the right time.  I am happy his career took place when it did.  The industry has changed so much since then, but he paved the way for so many others, and his work stands up to almost anything and anyone today.

MJJN: How did he idea of doing seminars in different countries come out ?

BS: I made some wonderful friends in France a few years ago, and they came up with the idea of hearing my stories and music in a studio, like where it was created.   We booked a studio in Paris and had a great time.   Since then I have refined the seminar quite a bit, trying to present a balance of stories, music and videos.  I tested the new format in New York this past summer and it went really well.   The ticket holders really liked it. Next came Orlando, now Paris, Stockholm and Toronto.   We are already making plans in 2014 for New York and Los Angeles.  By bringing my seminar to other locations, it allows more people to experience it without having to travel to the US.

MJJN: What is your intention with these seminars ? What do you want to tell the people who will come to the seminars ?
BS : My primary intention with the seminar is to try to introduce people to Michael, the artist.   I want them to see, hear and feel what it was like to work with him.   My focus is on the music and the creative process.  Michael was all about music, entertaining people and making them happy.  We don’t discuss rumors or tabloid junk; those topics are not welcome. Besides, when I have so much amazing material to work with, why waste my time on garbage?  The nicest compliment I often receive is that I show Michael as a human, a nice guy and a good friend.

MJJN: For those who will attend and those who may do so, what can you tell them as what to expect ?  

BS: Every seminar is a bit different, and I like that.   It is a blend of rare mixes, stories and unseen photos and video footage.  Some parts are funny, some can be sad, some are very touching – but they are all real.   I don’t tell stories that I heard or read somewhere – I was there.  You will see things you have never seen, hear things you have never heard, and learn things you never knew.    I was involved with countless projects in the studio and at Neverland Valley Ranch, and it was an amazing experience.  I was able to work with one of the most creative and kind people I have ever known.  His name is Michael Jackson and I look forward to introducing him to you.

Interview by Richard Lecocq