On Thursday night at the iHeart Music Awards, Usher honored the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, by helping to premiere a previously unreleased Michael Jackson song from 1983, “Love Never Felt So Good.” The song was co-written by Kathy Wakefield and Paul Anka, and produced by Anka and John McClain. Veteran music executive L.A. Reid introduced the song, which will be officially released on Friday. It will appear on the upcoming Michael Jackson album, XSCAPE, which will be released by the Epic Records label and the Estate of Michael Jackson on May 13.
XSCAPE will not be the first album of previously unreleased material that Epic Records has come out with. Michael, released in 2010 by the Epic Records label, also featured songs that had previously been unreleased. Epic Records and the Estate of Michael Jackson are counting on XSCAPE being a hit, and, as there are millions of Michael Jackson fans around the world, it likely will be one.
Usher is a long-time fan and admirer of Michael Jackson, and he was inspired by Jackson’s songs and dance moves, as many musicians have been over the years. When he was interviewed by MTV News in 2009, Usher paid tribute to the King of Pop and the debt that he and other musicians owed him. In the interview, Usher relates that he got to know Michael Jackson personally, and he said he was “very fortunate to have had the opportunity to share the stage with him.”
At the iHeart Music Awards, in front of a live audience at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium, the R&B did an amazing job doing choreographed dance moves to “Love Never Felt So Good.” As digital images of the king of Pop scrolled across a wall, black-and-white clad dancers moonwalked up to it and simulated spray painting it. Their “artwork” became a figure of Michael Jackson dancing. Usher, dressed in gold and black, came out onto the stage, and he did several of Michael Jackson’s signature moves, including the moonwalk. Ush surprised guests at a table by jumping up on top of it to finish the dance. The song “Love Never Felt So Good” will be available to be downloaded Friday morning at 12:01 a.m.
XSCAPE will have eight songs on it, which Timbaland and a variety of other producers “contemporised” by adding touches to make the songs seem to have been produced recently instead of back in 1983. L.a. Reid selected the Michael Jackson songs after having been granted access to four decades’ worth of the King of Pop’s music. Among the featured artists appearing on XSCAPE are Mary J. Blige and Justin Timberlake.
Usher’s performance brought down the house. “Love Never Felt So Good” showcased both Usher’s love for the music of Michael Jackson, and his own impressive dancing skills. You can check out a video of Usher dancing to the MJ song below, and if you are a Sony Mobile customer, when XSCAPE is released on May 13 you will be able to download the entire record for free on select devices, according to a news report by the site Jezebel.com. What did you think of Usher’s performance and the Michael Jackson song? Please leave your comments below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb
Usher dancing to “Love Never Felt So Good” at the IHeart Music Awards May 1, 2014