Jackson Vs Jackson: Honouring Two Icons From One Family

Published in Arts  
Charmaine Jones and The Gospo Collective play the greatest hits of Michael and Janet Jackson. Charmaine Jones and The Gospo Collective play the greatest hits of Michael and Janet Jackson.

In a musical tribute to Michael and Janet Jackson, Charmaine Jones and The Gospo Collective will power through greatest hits.

They'll be in the company of a full band as well as a supporting backing choir, making the show a fully-realised experience that promises to deliver all of that Jackson goodness.

Here, Charmaine answers some questions about the performance.

First of all, what does it mean to you to be paying tribute to Janet and Michael in this way?
The thing about Michael and Janet is the similarities between them growing up with music, being in a driven musical family and the undeniable bond between these siblings – much like my own story. I also have a sister who sings and we have grown up around music and come from a musical family.

In this world, when we are faced with the two words, life and death, on a daily basis whether it be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual – in a world that is really tough – music is the safe space that keeps you grounded and connected. It is important to look at both aspects (life and death) in a peaceful and focused manner. And I believe music enables this. Being able to encapsulate that feeling into a show is my passion. Every artists wants to leave a legacy – like Michael and Janet – and in the same way I would like to leave one – of hope through music.

I have chosen the music of Michael and Janet as they have been such influential mentors in the music scene. They are family too, and music to me is about community and making it with people who become like family sharing a similar vision, ethos and passion. I’m also incredibly interested in who has influenced them over history, from their blood family to their music mentors. The history of what built them to create as the have. His (Michael’s) album 'History' is interesting even in title as its sub-heading is 'Past present future'. A great example of everyone and everything that has moulded and shaped him.”

Why do you think it's important to celebrate these two musicians?
The concept of brother/sisterhood and family (by blood or by choice), community, evolution, paying homage to history.

And what are you looking forward to when it comes to bringing the show to Adelaide Fringe?
There is something so exciting in being able to deliver a product that is a creation of something you have versed through the experiences of your life. Every artistic offering is a production of what you are or what you have become at that point in life. I’m honoured to share some of my journey with my beloved state. It is wonderful to be able to put my heart, soul and mind into the production of 'Jackson Vs Jackson' and share it with my community. It is great to share the stage with so many people in Adelaide and across Australia (some members of The Jones Commentary are from Brisbane, Sydney etc). Having so many people on stage that have the same mindset – it is an army of people who want to give the world everything through art. So many armies bring death and destruction and I am looking forward to bringing Adelaide an army of hope and joy to give people a chance to rebuild.

You'll be joined for this by The Gospo Collective. What do you love about this group?
I love the fact that we have evolved over the years to become a team of people who started out doing something purely because we were moved to and it was fun. Now we are people who do it as our craft. I love how life can perfect something you do for pleasure and turn it into a profession. You gotta love what you do! The Gospo Collective are my extended family – it is nice to regroup at the start of the year to plan our creative opportunities for the year ahead. We keep each other grounded and I love that we can perform together on high levels both musically and emotively. That’s what life is for – to be lived at its fullest.

There is news swirling around lately about a potentially damaging documentary with some pretty serious accusations against MJ. What are your thoughts on the controversies surrounding Michael?
I was just reading about this the other day and prior to that I wasn’t aware that there were new allegations that had come up. I have watched a few documentaries about previous allegations but my belief is that if there is ever a complaint against your neighbour you should attend to it when they are alive and able to defend themselves. If you aren’t brave enough to bring it up when they are alive you will have a much longer healing or reconciliation process – and the end of the day it’s about integrity. If you can lay your head down at night without grievances, this is important.

As a society, we are constantly filtering perceptions and gossips as humans. Some people may view our group (Gospo Collective) as a cult or an exclusive club. We are neither! We have very strong ethos and work together under one direction.
One could view our group as a very peaceful or joy activist group.

Alternatively, you may hate us and think we are cheesy or view the Gospo Collective as a clever business model, blah blah blah  – everyone will have a different view or opinion. I suppose only we in the group know who and what we are. But anyone is welcome to join! Bottom line is, you can’t attack someone who is dead and can’t defend themselves. Personally, I can’t make assumptions as he is not here but karma will take care of it whether you are dead or alive. It’s up to the hands of something greater than all of us combined.

Do you remember where you were/what you were doing when news of the King Of Pop's death broke?
That [2009] was the year we did our first show as Gospo Collective interestingly enough. I don’t remember what I was doing but I do remember finding out about his death and thinking that’s a life that made a difference and suffered but now it can rest. Whatever allegations were put against him, they can now be put to rest and if there is truth in them, those people can now also be free.

Why do you think Michael was hailed as the King Of Pop?
Any true leader or King/Queen gets his or her respects by doing and not by saying and certainly not by demanding attention. I think Michael Jackson did that from the time he was a kid. He just DID. He was extremely passionate and worked hard from a young age and at the end of the day, the title of King became him because there was no other choice but to because of the greatness of his craft. He was precise and ever-evolving – he never thought he was the top of anything. There is something about people who can admit their flaws and failures while continuing to strive for better.

What is your favourite Janet Jackson song and why?
'Best Things In Life Are Free'. I was still new to Australia when I first heard this song. Growing up, we were only allowed to listen to the CDs and albums that my parents had but I had just been allowed to start listening to the radio and this song was playing. It brings back a lot of memories and a a sense of freedom that I felt when I first heard it! I was finally allowed to listen to what I wanted to! It signifies a time that I was allowed to start having my own thoughts and make my own decisions.

And your favourite Michael song?
'Black or White' or 'Will You Be There'. Both songs have really strong lyrics about your beliefs and your ethics which I love.

Describe your show using a Jackson lyric.
“Broken hearts heal stronger”.

'Jackson Vs Jackson' plays The Flamingo at Gluttony from 19 February-17 March.


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