The name Michael Jackson conjures images of an unmistakable high-pitched voice that became an indelible part of his iconic persona. Even after his untimely passing in 2009, impersonators continued to emulate the King of Pop’s signature voice as an essential aspect of their tribute acts, much like his bedazzled glove and signature white trilby hat.
Yet, recent revelations from those who knew Jackson intimately suggest that the singer’s high-pitched voice was not a true reflection of his natural vocal timbre. According to close associates, Jackson’s famed voice was a crafted persona reserved for interviews and public appearances, while he spoke in a significantly deeper tone in his day-to-day life.
Samm Brown III, a former friend of the late musician, shared this revelation in 2005 during an interview with VH1. Brown, a musical director, disclosed, “I hope he doesn’t get angry at me for telling you this, but that’s his public persona.” He continued, “I remember a time I called him up and he answered the phone and I didn’t know I was talking to him, because he was talking in his normal voice, which is pretty deep.”
Remarkably, these insights challenge the common perception of Jackson’s vocal identity, especially considering the comments were made while Jackson Five bandmate was still alive.
David Guest, an actor and friend of Jackson, echoed similar sentiments during an appearance on Larry King Live. Guest asserted that the public was unfamiliar with the real Jackson, remarking, “I think people don’t know the real him. He doesn’t talk like [that].” Guest’s wife also shared an intriguing anecdote that illuminated Jackson’s authentic voice. Overhearing a conversation between her husband and Jackson, she realized that the high-pitched tone was a facade.
Liza Minnelli, a prominent figure in the entertainment industry, also weighed in on this revelation during the same Larry King interview. She confessed that, like many others, she had always believed the high-pitched voice was genuine. However, an accidental phone call involving Guest and Jackson exposed the truth. In a surprising moment, Minnelli playfully confronted Jackson about his vocal façade. She recalled saying, “Michael, you’re busted. I got you now. All these years you’ve been talking in that voice!”
The couple went on to explain that the manufactured voice served as a protective barrier for Jackson, allowing him to conceal the scars of his tumultuous past and the relentless scrutiny he faced. Minnelli empathetically noted, “This is who you think I am and I can be me within these walls but you can’t come in.” She revealed that the manufactured persona provided a measure of safety from the public’s judgment, particularly given the unkind remarks he had endured.
In the wake of Jackson’s passing, his enigmatic persona remains a subject of fascination. The layers of his identity, including the contrived high-pitched voice, continue to unravel posthumously, shedding light on the complexity of his life and the enduring impact of his legacy.