When Michael Jackson beatboxed and sang 'Who Is it' acapella for an awestruck Oprah Winfrey
29 September 2020, 17:19
Michael Jackson was being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 1993 when he stunned the interviewer by showcasing his incredible beatboxing skills as he sang acapella.
Video of Michael Jackson showcasing his beatboxing and singing talent in an impromptu performance from 1993 confirms what we've known all along: MJ was a natural born entertainer.
The King of Pop was being interviewed by live on TV by Oprah Winfrey at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez Valley, California when Oprah asked him to sing something for her.
The pair were sitting on stage of the star's private theatre when Oprah made the request, and while MJ squirmed at being put on the spot he started to perform after some persuasion.
Humming to the tune of 'Who Is It' Jackson beatboxes and starts to sing the chorus of the famous song, filling the theatre with his amazing voice as a stunned Oprah watches on.
The revealing interview saw Michael open up about his childhood, love life and career as well as his relationship with his father, Joe Jackson.
'What's your relationship like with him?' asked Oprah.
“I love my father, but I don’t know him," adding that his father used to beat him.
Asked why he thought his father was so hard on him Michael replied: “I don't know if I was his golden child or whatever it was. Some may call it a strict disciplinarian or whatever, but he was very strict.
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"He was very hard. Just a look would scare… but I do forgive him.”
MJ later went on to explain he felt his childhood had been ripped away due to becoming famous so young.
Michael Jackson - Who Is It (acapella)
“On stage for me was home, it was most comfortable and still is,” Jackson began. “But once I got off-stage I was very sad.
“Lonely, sad, having to face with popularity and all of that. There were times when I had good times with my brothers, pillow fights and things, but I used to always cry from loneliness.
“It was from when I was very little - eight or nine. Yes when we all first became famous."
“So it wasn’t what it appeared to be to the rest of us?” Winfrey asked him.
Michael smiled before responding: “It is wonderful, there is a lot of wonderment in being famous, you travel the world, you see things, you meet people, you go places, it’s great,” Jackson enthused.
“And then there’s the other side, which I’m not complaining [about], [but] there’s a lot of rehearsal, you have to give up a lot of your time, give up yourself a lot."
"I’ve come to realise, especially now, we would do our schooling which was three hours a day, with a tutor, then right after that, I’d go to a recording studio and record, and I’d record for hours and hours until it’s time to go to sleep.
The Jackson 5 perform 'Dancing Machine' on The Carol Burnett Show
“So it’d be nighttime. And I remember, going to the recording studio there was a park across the street and I’d see all the children playing and they’d be making noise and I would cry.
“It would make me sad that I would have to go and work instead.”
MJ also showed Oprah how to moonwalk and explained the history of the dance move.
"The moonwalk came from these beautiful black kids who live in the ghettos in the inner cities, who are brilliant. They just have that natural talent for dancing any of the new, hot dances. They come up with these dances," Michael said. "All I did was enhance the dance."
The interview was a huge scoop for Ms Winfrey as it was Michael Jackson's first for 14 years.
See more: The moment Michael Jackson did his first moonwalk on TV and changed music history forever - video
The 90-minute live unedited sit down with the star beat the famous 1977 Frost Nixon and 1999 Monica Lewinsky interviews to become the most watched exclusive in American TV history.
Over 90 million people tuned in the watch Michael Jackson talk live about his life with the legendary talk show host, a viewing figure yet to be beaten.
Watch the full 1993 Michael Jackson interview below:
1993 Michael Jackson interview (Oprah)
"It was the most exciting interview I had ever done," Oprah said later. "Coming in the gates of Neverland, it's like a moment in The Wizard of Oz. It was literally like going to see the wizard.
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"I really, really liked him," she said, adding: "What I remember about Michael the most is that he was a person who was passionate about life.
"He was really passionate about his work and his desire to try to be a good force in the world."
Michael Jackson died at his Beverly Hill, California home 16 years later on June 25 2009, just 48 hours after giving a sensational performance ahead of his This Is It London tour.