INVESTING | 2/20/2012 @ 3:40PM
Weeks before Whitney Houston’s death, Grammy-nominated songwriter Claude Kelly stopped by the Forbes headquarters in New York and shared his thoughts on mashups, Miley Cyrus, Notorious B.I.G. and the business of songwriting.
In the interview, he told a fascinating story about how a song he’d written called “Hold My Hand” ended up being one of Michael Jackson’s last recordings. Kelly had penned the tune with Akon, originally creating it with Whitney Houston in mind. In the end, Akon liked the song so much that he decided to record it himself rather than giving it to Houston.
In 2008, Akon found himself in the studio with Michael Jackson–and decided to offer the song to The King of Pop as a duet. The two recorded the song together; a version would appear on Jackson’s posthumous album, Michael. Though the final product was a bit different than Kelly’s original tune, he was pleased with the end result.
“He’s my all-time favorite artist,” says Kelly of Jackson. “['Hold My Hand'] didn’t go No. 1, it didn’t match ‘Thriller,’ or anything else he’s done. But for me I can say I was one of the last people to have a song recored by Michael Jackson. That’s good enough.”
To hear the full story from Claude Kelly, see the video below — the part about “Hold My Hand” bouncing from Whitney Houston to Akon to Michael Jackson begins at 2:30.