Michael Jackson’s life brimmed with controversy, and the first album of posthumous music that arrived after his 2009 death was no different. At the time of its release, Michael was subject to rumblings regarding who, exactly, was singing on the record. The biggest rumors hypothesized that unsigned Seattle-based pop singer Jason Malachi contributed vocals to the disc. Now new reports claim that in 2008, a year before her father’s death, Jackson’s daughter Paris had admitted to friends via videochat that the record her father was preparing was being made by Malachi.
Malachi first made waves in the Jackson fan community with his song “Mamacita” in 2007, when listeners picked up on the track and could have sworn it was new material from the King of Pop. In January 2011, a report surfaced that Malachi might have been the one singing on a number of Michael tracks, and the singer seemingly posted a confession on his Facebook page confirming that he had: “Sheesh, guys, I guess it’s time to confess. I’ve lied to many people, including someone today, but … It was me. It was me who sang Breaking News [sic], Keep Your Head Up, Monster and Stay.” Sony and the Jackson camp all denied the report and Malachi returned to Facebook, writing that a hacker had infiltrated his account. Considering Malachi usually updates his page in broken English — he’s a native Spanish-speaker; it’s unlikely the man has ever used the word “sheesh” — the denial made sense.
Now, however, TMZ reports that a video recording of Paris’ 2008 conversation, in which she reasons, “I should know if it’s [my father’s voice on ‘Hold My Hand’] or not because he would sing to me all the time,” is being shopped around. Two curiosities, however, cast doubt on its veracity — she speaks of her father in the past tense while he was still alive (“he would sing to me all the time,” as opposed to “he sings to me all the time”), and Paris would have been a young 10 years old at the time of the chat.
Here’s a cut of Malachi’s “Mamacita,” the song that got Jackson fans all hot and bothered back in 2007. Whether or not he actually sang on Michael, his vocal resemblance to Jackson is striking: