Archive for category In the Studio with MJ
After visiting the Santa Ynez Valley and LA during Michael week, I came across some beautiful murals, memories and great places that show just how much Michael was loved, admired and respected. I’m sharing a few of my personal photos, some I have already shared on twitter, but have been asked the exact location of them. I am listing them below and encourage everyone who lives or visits California to bask in the loveliness of the artistry and the history of Michael Jackson. TII Mural – Graff Lab – 1038 Venice Boulevard LA, CA on the corner of S. Union Ave. and Venice Blvd. – A wonderful mural of Michael called “MJ2010” by Rudy Martinez. Super Bowl Mural – 1716 N Cahuenga Boulevard – On North Cahuenga Blvd & Hollywood Blvd next to Sharkey’s restaurant. The mural is on the wall in the parking lot.
Gone to Soon MJ Mural – Hollywood/Los Angeles Near Santa Monica Blvd. and Orange Dr. (just a little down from Santa Monica Blvd. on a brick building on the left side) UPDATE: Mr. Brainwash Xscape Mural – Outside on the wall of the studio – 1251 S LaBrea Ave. just north of San Vincente Blvd in Los Angeles, CA. On the west side of LaBrea next to the Sparadise The mural of Michael is the creation of Thierry Guetta aka Mr. Brainwash Santa Monica Pier – Michael saw Cirque du Soliel for the first time with John Branca here in the early 80’s. The Cirque show was set up in a big tent in the sand to the right of the pier where a memorial to war heroes is now set up. On the pier is a carousel, roller coaster, Ferris wheel, arcades and bumper cars reminders of Michael’s Neverland rides.
Hard Rock Cafe – Hollywood Blvd. – MJ’s fedora, signed Dangerous album, Jennifer Batten’s tour jacket, original pic of MJ’s Hollywood Star ceremony.
Westlake Recording Studios – Where Michael recorded Thriller and Bad. 7265 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood – tours by appointment only (I got in to only because I attended Brad Sundberg’s seminar “In the Studio with MJ”) It was a beautiful week and I met so many wonderful friends and people who loved Michael with all their hearts. I was truly honoured and hope to go back next year to enjoy the love. Thank you to Michael Jackson Fans of Southern California for giving me the directions to some of these beautiful murals xoxox
Willa: This week Lisha McDuff and I are so honored to be joined by Brad Sundberg, who worked with Michael Jackson for nearly two decades. He served as Technical Director on the Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory albums, and helped design the sound system at Neverland. While working on Bad, Michael Jackson gave him the nickname Really, Really Brad, as in “I’m Brad, I’m Brad, I’m Really, Really Brad.” That cracks me up!
Over the past year Brad has been offering seminars in the U.S., Canada, and Europe to share his insights as well as sound recordings from his work with Michael Jackson. Several of our friends and contributors – Lisha, Susan Fast, and Joe Vogel – attended his recent seminar in Toronto, and from everything I’ve heard it was incredible! Lisha asked Brad if he’d like to talk with us, and he said yes. Brad, thank you…
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NOTE: I need to start this post off by saying it was months and months ago that I approached Brad Sundberg to bring his seminar to Toronto, it was just a “Pie in the Sky” dream and never in a million years did I think it would happen. Brad let me know what we needed to do and connected me with another MJ fan who was interested in making it happen as well. We contacted each other and the rest is history. We made it happen because it was so important to us. That being said, it was worth every tweet, every post, every email, every poster we taped to trees and cement posts to get the information that Brad has stored away in his head, on audio on video, etc. Thank you Brad for making our dream come true.
Michael Jackson was definitely in the building! On November 23, 2013 in D.C. Studios in Toronto, Canada, Brad Sundberg brought his fantastic seminar “In the Studio with MJ” to our fair city on a cold and snowy day. Brad is a remarkably kind, generous, and humble man. He greeted and introduced himself to every attendee as they walked in (he would step away from setting up his equipment just to come over and shake hands) and I know all of us were pleasantly surprised by the gesture.
To our great surprise, we also had the incredible honour of having Joe Vogel attend the seminar driving all the way from Rochester, New York. An added bonus for us all. He, too, is a very kind and humble man and very happy to accommodate all the fans. Joe seemed to just enjoy the music and insights that Brad was offering and every so often Brad would ask “Is this your take on it Joe?”, it was usually a “yes, that’s right”. Joe was there to learn and listen just like the rest of us.
In 1985, Brad got his first job as a “runner” at his first music studio and met Michael Jackson while he was working on Captain EO, the first true surround sound movie. He would see him walking down the halls while he was getting coffee, cheeseburgers, vacuuming and even holding Bubbles. He did anything he could to get himself into the music industry, something he always loved. He was a 19-year-old who wanted to get into the business and was dying to make his mark. He got that chance when he grew from being a runner to an engineer. Bruce Swedien was Michael’s primary engineer and with the approval of Michael, Bruce invited Brad to sit in on the “Bad” recording sessions. As Brad says, “I was still learning my way around the studio, and it was an honour to be asked to sit in and watch, learn and help on the “Bad” album”.
The business relationship between Michael and Brad changed when Michael brought a book about the Sycamore Valley Ranch to the studio during the recording of Bad and MJ later hired Brad to do some sound technical work at Neverland. There were no birds at Neverland so Michael wanted the sound of birds, chirping and tweeting piped into the grounds. Brad was also asked to pipe music into every single ride and every corner of the ranch, even in the train. There was music everywhere but never Michael’s, as he insisted it not be his. It was classical or Disney songs and occasionally on the carousel, Childhood would play. The Zipper, Michael’s favourite ride, was his sister’s Janet’s music, particularly “Black Cat” and “Rhythm Nation”… two songs Michael loved.
Brad ended up working with Michael for 18 years and assisted on four studio albums “Bad”, “Dangerous”, “HIStory”, and “Blood On The Dance Floor.” Brad’s overall responsibility in the years with Michael was to have whatever recording studio Michael was working in to be up to Michael Jackson quality. Ever microphone, every patch-point, every machine and device in the studio had to tested and, if possible, calibrated to perfection. His involvement also included the involved in day-to-day recording, setting up microphones, headphones, booking studios, keeping tapes organized, getting Michael’s hot water ready for his vocals, even making coffee and even cleaning off jheri curl substance from microphone.
Scared of the Moon: Matt Forger and others had worked on the beautiful and mysterious song “Scared Of the Moon” for a very long time. Unfortunately for Matt, Michael asked for the original master with Michael’s voice so he could work on it. He gave him the original and kept the cassette, which were used at the time. The problem was “you never give anything to MJ, pens, papers, ANYTHING because you would never see it again,” says Brad. One day, Matt Forger got a phone call from Bruce Swedien and Michael asking to bring that original master of “Scared of the Moon” over to the studio so they could work on it. Unfortunately, because Matt had given it to Michael, he had to do something that should never be done and rarely ever works: he transferred the cassette to a master and then mixed it. Brad could never understand how it sounded so fantastic due to the way it was mixed. He personally feels it was Michael’s voice that makes it work and sounds so wonderful to this day.
Give In To Me: Brad presented us with Michael’s true creative process when he turned off all the lights in the studio. Brad believes that you must listen to any music in the dark, that way you have no distractions, you only listen and let the music take you away. Nothing could be more true when he turned on the audio of Michael, Brad and Bill Bottrell in a jam session creating “Give in to Me”. It started by Michael just talking with Bill while Brad played a simple programmed drum beat. Bill played while MJ began to ad lib, beat box, make some sounds and then slowly, because it took around 3 hours, you could hear these sounds morphing into this incredible song. You could hear it change and develop and we could feel Michael’s process flow through the room. This to me was one of the highlights of the seminar and something that will be forever cherished. To actually hear Michael create a song from just a programmed drum beat and a guitar was a dream come true. Michael always said “ Magic is created in the moment”and this proved it.
Childhood: A visual that Brad shared with us was the Andrae Crouch Choir warming up with a beautiful gospel song. Michael was listening in and smiling as they were singing in pitch perfect voices. Later on we saw Michael recording “Childhood” while the New York Philharmonic accompanied him in the studio. While singing this biographical song in this very small recording room, Michael had a look of pure joy on his face, because he knew he was “nailing it” and it showed in every movement he made, every note he sang, and a smile that was indescribable. You could see this song meant everything to him. While watching him sing you could see him take a breath and annunciate every single word…his face was perfect, never contorting, as you see some do when they hit a particular note, as it was so easy for him. When he finished, he clenched his fists and with complete excitement and release, muttered “yes”, walked out of the booth and the lights came on. It is said that the orchestra rose and gave him a standing ovation. I could see why.
Some very beautiful raw tracks of Michael’s work that were recorded before the release of the original songs were ever heard. These tracks sound much different in the studio than the final commercial tracks. To keep the “up/pop tempo”, these original tracks were sped up before ever being released. When hearing the original track, Michael’s voice was deeper, richer, and much more soulful than the commercial versions. They were incredible to listen to.
“I never made a pitch correction on Michael’s voice on the songs he worked on” Brad admitted. A testament to MJ’s beautiful voice and hard work as well as his true genius. It is something people tend to underestimate, the power and perfection of Michael’s pitch and the preparation he took to make that happen.
The wonderful memories of Brad seeing Michael in the corner of the room drinking his scalding water, preparing his voice with musical scales, and Brad, with a lump in his throat recalled a time when he was part of music history. Brad recalled a time where music was made without the bells and whistles, it was just Michael and the music. Only when he matured and nostalgia came rushing forward did he realize that he hadn’t really grieved; he shared his personal feelings with us and was very appreciative to bring these seminars to Michael’s fans. It was not until fans asked him to do this that he brought his experiences and memories to fruition. You could see that Brad misses those days and it is noted in his voice and the lumps in this throat that he gets when relating the innermost personal stories. Brad says, “I could write page after page of simple acts of kindness I have seen firsthand.” This tells you how MJ has touched every single person that he has worked with. Brad blessed us with his personal stories of Michael… we laughed and we cried but it was impossible not to feel a sense of love and understanding of how Michael was and what it was like to work with him. There was never anything too small that he wasn’t appreciative of. This is one story that proves the point:
Michael always had Cherry Chapstick lying around and he used it all the time. One day, Brad was driving to do some work at Neverland. He stopped by a 7-Eleven to purchase a few things and picked up a 3 pack of Cherry Chapstick. As he drove into Neverland, Michael was driving up on a golf cart towards him. They greeted each other and Brad said, “I have something for you Michael” and Michael replied with childlike excitement “What is it, What is it?! Brad handed him the Chapstick and said “Here you go Michael!”. Brad said he will never forget how appreciative he was. Michael said, “Brad, no one has ever done anything like this for me before, thank you so much”. It was only a $2.00 purchase but Michael was always so grateful for everything. Brad choked up while relaying this story and had us all in tears. This was Michael Jackson.
Amid the trials and the hate that sometimes occur around Michael, I felt a beautiful calm and love in every song that Brad played. It made me realize what Michael really wanted us all to know: it was his music that mattered, the integrity of it, the message of it, the magic he could create. Something happened to me in that seminar listening to that music, his spoken word, hearing his laughter and the personal stories and pictures that Brad shared, and I am so blessed to have been there. Thank you Brad for bringing Michael to us, even for a short time, and allowing us that sensitivity and heartfelt compassion that he had in everything he did.
Anyone that has a chance to see one of Brad’s seminars will be more than moved and grateful that they went. It is something that you will cherish for a lifetime. What is written above is only a small portion of what goes on in “In The Studio With MJ”. Go, be amazed and bask in Michael Jackson.
NOTE: Special thanks to @Coleen4MJ for her additional input into this article.
Greetings Toronto Friends!
We are just three weeks away from my seminar “In The Studio With MJ” comes to Canada! Many of you have worked very hard to get us to this point, and some of you are still wondering what it is. Either way, I’m glad you have given up a Saturday to spend time in a really cool music studio with me.
First things first: I am Brad Sundberg, your host and the creator of “In The Studio With MJ.” I spent nearly 18 years working on various projects, albums, tours and even a place called “Neverland” with Michael. I part of an awesome team, and it is my pleasure to share some of those stories with you.
We just got back from a series of seminars in Paris and Stockholm, and the response was amazing. I have every belief you are going to really enjoy what I have in store for you.
There will be some ground rules that will be strictly enforced (no phones, computers, electronic recording devices, costumes, etc.), but we’ll go into those as the event gets closer. In the meantime, I really need your help.
I have done enough of these that something always happens the week after it is over: People find out about it and wish they had been invited or heard about it so they could attend. We have to get the word out to the community.
Here’s is what you can do to help:
1) Post a link on Facebook, and tell your friends that you are excited to be going.
2) Contact me for posters and the press release. Send it out to newspapers, radio stations, fan clubs, dance studios, music stores, churches – anywhere that you can think might connect with someone who would also enjoy this event.
3) Send tweets, emails and phone calls. I can assure you this is a very unique opportunity to see, hear and feel what it was like to be in the studio with MJ, and you will want to share that with your friends.
If you come up with a great marketing idea, I will certainly reward you with a Tee-shirt and a front-row seat!
I will be contacting you again in the coming days, and please feel free to contact me with any questions. This is like nothing you have ever seen or heard before, and I so excited to share it with you! Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you “In The Studio” in three weeks!
Get your tickets here
Brad Sundberg’s “In the Studio with MJ” – Toronto is fast approaching. We still have tickets left to this once in a lifetime experience. Toronto will be the only place in Canada that Brad will be bringing this seminar and we are fortunate to have him here. Toronto is a great city with so much to do, a brand new aquarium, sports, opera, ballet, museums and art galleries and home of the Tiff Bell Lightbox and the Toronto International Film Festival, second only to Cannes. It is well worth a weekend trip if you can. If you live in Toronto or the GTA all the better, it’s a car drive away also the studio is close to transit. If you wish to purchase tickets you can do so here.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 24, 2013
Contact: Brad Sundberg (407) 968-2020
“In the Studio with MJ” seminar scheduled in Toronto on November 23, 2013
Toronto, Canada – “In the Studio with MJ” is pleased to present a first-person seminar offering an in-depth perspective on working with Michael Jackson in the recording studio and at his amazing residence, Neverland Valley Ranch. The seminar will take place on November 23, 2013, at D. C. Studios. The seminar lasts approximately six hours, and includes dinner (optional) based on Michael’s weekly album tradition of “Family Friday Dinner.”.
Brad Sundberg, a voting member of the Grammys, fills the seminar with music, videos, personal behind-the-scenes stories and photos. It is a very unique opportunity for people interested in the music industry, and in Michael Jackson in particular, to see, hear and learn what it was like to work side-by-side with a true music legend.
“The seminars were born out a desire from Michael Jackson’s fans to know more about how these incredible projects came to life”, says Brad Sundberg, seminar host/presenter. “People want to go back to the music, to where it all began – in the studio. His creative process was unlike anything I have ever been a part of, and if I can give people just a glimpse of what it was like, that’s very rewarding. And that same creative nature wasn’t just used in the studio; he brought several people together, including me, to build his dream home, Neverland. In it’s day, Neverland was one of the most beautiful places you could imagine.”
Among other topics, the seminar will detail how songs went from the original demo to the album version. Following that, many of the songs were edited, remixed and restructured for various dance mixes, short films and live tours. Brad will explain and demonstrate how the songs changed and progressed along the way. Sundberg’s primary title with the team was Technical Director, and his journey took him through Captain EO, Bad, Dangerous, HIStory and Blood On The Dance Floor. At Michael’s request, Brad also joined the Neverland Valley Ranch team where he was instrumental in designing custom music and video systems at one of the most recognized homes on the planet. From studio to tour prep to ranch, Brad was there and will take you along for the ride.
In June 2013, Brad presented the “In the Studio with MJ” seminar in New York City. In August it was in Orlando, and in October it was presented in Paris and Stockholm. Attendees comment on their experience:
“In the Studio with MJ” is worth every penny. The most amazing experience. So glad to meet Brad! Go to his seminar! Thrilling!” – Jared B.
“This seminar is a unique and exciting opportunity for fans to get to know Michael the artist, as well as Michael the person. You will never hear his music the same way again!” -Tarin C.
“I cannot thank you enough for all the gems and treasures you shared with us. You have no idea how much it means. I truly liked the pace of the seminar, and the un- scripted parts. You did a fantastic job and made us feel part of that team which created those projects. You made me feel at home and very comfortable. It was like going to a music school, as it was the real deal of how the songs and artistry come about. Thank you! Thank you! And Thank You!!” -Gaston F.
“Forget the media circus, forget the fame and fortune that surrounded the name. If you want to get to know Michael Jackson the man and his genius while at work this seminar is not to be missed. This is a priceless experience that you will never forget.” -Kat C
“I have discovered a warm-hearted human being with a great sense of sharing and humility. Thank you so much, I will treasure this day in my memory and in my heart forever.” – Virginia R
After Toronto Sundberg plans on bringing the seminar to groups in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo in 2014. “We have interested groups in Brazil, UK, Germany and Russia. The response has been amazing!”
About Brad Sundberg:
Brad Sundberg owns and operates BSUN Media Systems, a company specializing and designing entertainment systems for homes, businesses, churches, etc., with offices in Orlando, Los Angeles, New York. His client list includes Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Helen Hunt and Elizabeth Taylor, plus many more across the US and Europe. He loves to travel, spend time with his wife of 28 years and four daughters. In his spare time, Brad is in the process of writing a book about his 18 years with Michael.
Tickets are available at https://inthestudiowithmj.ticketbud.com/toronto
Cost for the seminar is $249 USD, with VIP dinner included, or $179 USD for the standard seminar ticket.
For interviews and other media inquiries, please contact Brad directly at (407) 968-2020 or email@example.com
OK Toronto, I have some exciting news for you: We have selected and booked a studio for our event! D.C. Studios in Toronto will be THE place to be on November 23, 2013! This is an awesome venue, and we will have a great time. After our Orlando seminar I also decided to offer the VIP dinner to ALL ticket holders, and eliminate the “standard” ticket. It makes for a longer, more enjoyable time for everyone.
The new venue also offers more space, so I have increased the number of available tickets. Tell your friends that “In The Studio With MJ” is coming to town, and it is something they do not want to miss! See you in November!
Get your VIP tickets here
Hey Toronto, I have not forgotten about you! We have seminars in place in Orlando, Paris, Stockholm… and then you! I am working on studio locations, etc., but the wheels are moving. I know it is still many weeks out, but we need to sell enough tickets to book travel, hotel, studio, etc. Please continue to tell your friends that this will be THE place to be for MJ fans, music fans and those curious about the recording industry on November 23rd. Here is a post I put on my Orlando page, but I thought you might enjoy it. Have a great weekend!
Hey Orlando, we are just 15 days away from “In The Studio With MJ” at Starke Lake Studios! This will likely be the last stop in the US before we pack the show up and head to Paris in October.
So let me tell you about this photo and note. Many of you have already seen the photo of Michael and I playing Jenga (I won), but the note is kind of cool. Michael was never known for his spelling, but he was amazingly honest. One evening during the Dangerous project he went up to the front desk at Record One, and our runner/resident comedian Rob Disner was out getting food or something. Michael needed a pen, just a simple 5-cent ink pen. So he takes one, but leaves Rob this note. How cool is that? Michael was at the top of his game, making a new album, prepping for the next tour, building Neverland, writing songs, etc., but he writes a note about taking a pen. Rob kept it and has it framed in his house, which I think is awesome.
More stories, music, video and “Family Friday Dinner” in Toronto on November 23. Will You Be There?
Stop Global Airwave Abuse is overjoyed that Brad Sundberg has confirmed that November 23, 2013 is the day he will bring his seminar “In the Studio with Michael Jackson” to Toronto, Canada. This is a once in a lifetime experience to learn first-hand what went on behind the scenes in the studio and the work Brad did on Michael’s beloved Neverland.
We require 50 people to make this happen so please purchase your tickets as soon as possible. You can buy them through Brad’s site here. There are two selections: General Admission from 12:00 pm to 5 pm for US $179.00 where you can “Enjoy the music, video, photos and stories as Brad shares from his many years of working with Michael in the studio and at Neverland”. VIP Extended Admission and Dinner from 12:00pm to 7pm for US $249.00. “Family Friday” dinner will be served and shared as a group and more music and stories will be shared.
The Studio will be announced very shortly since Brad is scouting around Toronto for the best possible studio venue he can find.
NOTE: Space is limited so purchase your tickets as soon as possible so you won’t be disappointed. So far this is his only visit to Canada.
I’m sure most of you are aware of Brad Sundberg’s fantastic seminar “In the Studio With Michael Jackson“. His seminar is a huge success and has had wonderful reviews. Brad Sundberg joined Michael’s team during the production of Captain Eo in 1985, and stayed with Michael as one of his engineers and technical director (in the studio as well as at Neverland Valley Ranch) for nearly 18 years. He worked closely with Michael, not only with music, but also worked on Neverland’s sound system and lights to meet MJ’s high standards. He holds Michael in the highest regard and feels blessed for the time he spent with him
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and Stop Global Airwave Abuse is happy to promote Brad’s seminar coming to Toronto, Canada hopefully sometime toward the end of November 2013. Currently close to 50 people have taken an interest in this remarkable seminar and we are hoping to be able to obtain another 50 so Brad can do a seminar for a second night. We need people to commit to make this become a reality. The cost would be approximately $200.00 per person (less if we can get 100 people) and for any interested parties a special VIP promotion (dinner with Brad) for an extra $50 to $60 where you could have a chance to talk with Brad in a more intimate setting.
Please check out the Facebook Page and add your name to the list. Toronto is a fantastic city and the largest in Canada, it is a tourist mecca with much to see and do. We are inviting all MJ and music fans in all Provinces and all States to join us and take advantage of this wonderful piece of Michael that only Brad can share.
Please visit Brad’s “In the Studio With Michael Jackson” FB page for more information on the seminar and what it entails.
We encourage MJ fans to come join us on this magical tour of the working of his studio, the beauty of his music and Brad’s personal insight into many of his albums, vocals and professionalism.
Listen to Brad speak about his work with Michael both in the studio and Neverland on Rev. Catherine Gross’ Blogtalk Radio Show