Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds remembers his relationship with Michael Jackson, and how he got his first interview with the King of Pop.
In 1972, When he was just 13, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds got to live the dream of most young Americans at the time. He got to meet the Jackson 5, and interview the then 14-year-old Michael Jackson.
Babyface revealed the cunning plan that got an 8th grader a one-one with the world's biggest celebrities to Oprah Winfrey.
Years later. a now-legendary songwriter with 26 number-one R&B and 11 Grammys under his belt, Babyface would meet up with Michael Jackson again
Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds in 1992 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images
THE JACKSON 5 COME TO TOWN
The Jackson 5 had performed at the very first concert Babyface had ever attended back in 6th grade, and when he heard that they were coming to Indianapolis for a concert, and he immediately decided that he was going to meet them.
He phoned their promoter, Charles Williams, and speaking in his best James Steward voice, told him he was a school teacher named Mr. Clayton and arranged for one of his "kids" to interview the Jackson 5.
The Jackson brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael and Randy in London, in 1972 | Source: Getty Images
MEETING MICHAEL JACKSON
Babyface presented himself at the Indianapolis Hilton Hotel at the appointed time and was ushered into the room in which the Jacksons were staying. Babyface admitted that he made a beeline for Michale Jackson and greeted him.
Michael Jackson on stage with the Jackson Five in London, in 1972 | Source: Getty Images
For the next thirty minutes -- which he'd later confess to Oprah were the best moments in his life -- Babyface got to interact with his idol, just two teens talking together. Michael, who was homeschooled thought Babyface was in college, not 8th grade.
1972 was a hard year for Babyface, who lost his father, Marvin, to lung cancer. His mother Barbara was left to raise hee 6 sons alone. For Babyface, his meeting with Michael Jackson was a golden moment in a dark year.
Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds and wife Nicole Pantenburg at the 10th Anniversary at Red Studios in 2017 in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images
INSPIRED BY THE JACKSON 5
Coincidentally -- or maybe not -- it was that year that Babyface decided he wanted to be a musician. He started playing with musicians like Bootsy Collins, and it was he who coined the nickname, Babyface.
MEETING MICHAEL JACKSON AGAIN
Years later. a now-legendary songwriter with 26 number-one R&B hits and 11 Grammys under his belt, Babyface would meet up with Michael Jackson again. By then, Babyface was one of the most sought-after songwriters in the business.
Michael Jackson at a "A Night at the Apollo"at The Apollo Theater in New York in 2002 | Source: Getty Images
He was penning songs for stars like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Madonna, and scoring hits on every chart. Babyface recalls that MJ once phoning him, not to talk about music, but to ask him to set him up on a date.
Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry, circa 2003 | Source: Getty Images
MJ asked Babyface if he knew actress Halle Berry, which he confirmed. To the music producer's surprise, Michael had a request for him. He revealed:
"He said, ‘Could you do me a favor? I want you to call her, ’cause I wanna take her out on a date.’ I said, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Call her — I wanna take her out on a date.’”
Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds at Spotify's Inaugural Secret Genius Awards in Los Angeles in 2017 | Source: Getty Images
REACHING OUT TO HALLE BERRY
Babyface, who didn't have the beautiful Halle's number, called her agent in an attempt to get her to go out with MJ. He recalls:
"So I called and get the message to her manager, and he said, ‘What?’ [I said,] ‘Yeah, he wants to take her out on a date.’"
Halle was apparently not interested -- or her affections were otherwise engaged -- and that date with Michael Jackson never took place.
A MEMORABLE LIFE
Babyface admits that his life-journey has been incredible, a dream come true, beyond anything the shy 8th grader who interviewed Michale Jackson could ever have imagined.
Singer Michael Jackson signs an autograph outside the Adlon Hotel in Berlin in 2002 | Source: Getty Images
Sadly, his icon Michael Jackson passed away in 2009, a victim of cardiac arrest brought on by an overdose of the anesthetic propofol.
The insomniac pop icon had the anesthetic administered to him nightly by a doctor in order to sleep. The doctor, Conrad Murray. was later convicted of manslaughter by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, and sentenced to 4 years in prison.
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