079: Bryan Loren Special

As regular listeners of The MJCast know, Jamon and Q are sensitive to the delicate nature of leaks. While often thrilling for fans, they can profoundly affect the trajectory of a song, an album, and a career. In the case of renowned record producer, singer-songwriter, and instrumentalist Bryan Loren, much of his work with Michael Jackson, to which he dedicated years of hard work, leaked out to the public. Because of these unfortunate events, as well as other factors, Loren never got credit or compensation for much of the material he created. Loren is now inviting Michael Jackson fans to consider respectfully offering him a token of thanks, a voluntary sum of money through his website, along with a note on how we’ve enjoyed his music over the years.

In this week’s exclusive interview, Jamon, who is hosting solo, welcomes Season 4’s first musical collaborator special guest, Bryan Loren. Loren has worked as a producer with a number of notable artists, including Whitney Houston, Barry White, Sly Stone, Sting, and, of course, Michael Jackson. A talented musician at a young age, Loren was a professional session artist by age 15 and had signed his first contract at only 17. He had two Billboard-charting R&B songs in 1984 as a solo artist, including ‘Lollipop Luv’ and ‘Do You Really Love Me’. Loren started working with Michael Jackson in the years leading up to the release of the Dangerous album in 1991. They collaborated on several songs together, including, to name just a few, ‘Work That Body’, ‘Serious Effect’, ‘She Got It’, ‘Man In Black’, ‘Superfly Sister’, ‘Mind Is The Magic’ and ‘Do the Bartman’. Their collaborative relationship and friendship would last for many years beyond those early sessions. Loren continues to make his own music as a solo artist, and plans to release his new album in the Summer of 2018.

This week’s episode is a a tough but important discussion about the deep and complex impact that leaks and other events have had on Loren’s life and career. Ultimately, The MJCast hopes that this interview will inspire listeners to think about the rights of artists, and about where lines must be drawn.

• Bryan Loren’s website and letter to fans, which includes information about how to make financial contributions.
• Bryan Loren’s Facebook, Twitter and Apple Music pages.
• You can read Jamon’s ‘Thoughts on Leaks…’ op-ed here.
• The Philadelphia Experiment album
• The Jacksons’ self titled album and Goin’ Places
• Bryan Loren – Lollipop Luv (12″ Version)
• Michael Jackson – Superfly Sister
• Do The Bartman
• Gavin Christopher – One Step Closer
• Rufus & Chaka Khan – Destiny
• Bryan’s three favourite albums (Stevie Wonder’s Music Of My Mind, Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall and Steely Dan’s Aja).

Music Breaks & Ads
• Michael Jackson – Work That Body
Michael Jackson – Serious Effect
• Do The Bartman
• Michael Jackson – She Got It

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If you have any thoughts, opinions, or feedback on the show, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at themjcast@icloud.com or find the links to our many social networks on www.themjcast.com. Keep Michaeling!

13 Replies to “079: Bryan Loren Special”

  1. Des

    I just want to make a comment here when Mr Bryan said nobody could make Michael do something that he didn’t want to do. I agree , but that was before the trial. That trial destroyed him and he lost control of his life.We only have to listen to Karen Faye or read her comments,its very clear that they were controlling him.If Michael had any control he would have had his own video recording man on the this is it rehearsals .We all know the truth now.Thank you for all that you do.

    1. Elise Capron Post author

      Thanks for listening and for your feedback, Des!
      We agree that Michael was in a very different place later in his life, most certainly. And while it’s nice to think about the era of his career when he did have control in his creative and personal life, it’s always good to keep the full picture in mind, as well.
      We appreciate your support and your engagement with the show.
      Stay BAD,

  2. SGGB

    Honestly? This episode was quite insightful, it really gives some insight about how MJ worked amd what went behind his work and the work of the people involved, but at the same time there’s a lot of stuff this guy’s saying that i just don’t buy. It contradicts a lot of stuff said by more than one person, and he’s claiming to be responsible for a lot of stuff that, if true, everyone around him would have to have been conciously “conspiring” againts him.

    I also didn’t like how egotistical and unhumble this guy came out as, constantly refering to himself in the third person and constantly boasting about how much he influenced Dangerous when most of his stuff was thrown in the trash.

    I can admit that the fact that his work was leaked is a pretty shitty experience, but i can’t feel bad for him about his work being “copyed” when all odds point that he’s lying.

    1. Elise Capron Post author

      It’s absolutely a complex issue. It will always be impossible to interpret the exact situation, since we weren’t in the room, and can’t know what was going on in Michael’s head in terms of the decisions he made. That said, we strive to give everyone a voice, and, with that in mind, we wanted Bryan Loren to be able to tell his story in his own words, and appreciate that he did so. He was put in a situation that would frustrate any creative artist, and it’s clearly had major ripple effects in the rest of his life.
      Thanks for listening and for your thoughts. As always, we welcome all opinions, and appreciate yours!
      Stay BAD,

      1. Liat

        Thank you for the work you do with those amazing podcasts! It’s professional and important for Michael’s legacy. With that said, I find it difficult to appreciate mr Loren, he sounds a bit bitter, and couldn’t except the fact that Michael probably looked for different sounds and styles. And what bothers me the most is the fact that he hints Michael stole songs, and that he manipulated the people around him (and the world!) during this is it! I mean, Michael died! And in an unnecessary, tragic, sad way, that could have been prevented if he had people around that really took care of him! Maybe he is right about Michael being in control and did what he wanted to do, but that was before the horrible trial. We all know, and everyone around him knew and tell to this day Michael wasn’t the same after the trial. It’s a fact, he was a broken man, and even someone that didn’t knew him personally, can see clearly. He wasn’t the same, and the horrible “movie “ This is it (which is a disgrace and disrespect for Michael because we all know the truth about Michael mantel and physical situation and they turned it to a celebration knowing the truth just because they wanted 💵💵💵💵💵💰) we can see how Michael didn’t have the confidence and control he used to have.. it wasn’t him in his spirit. I know Karen Faye and Michael Bush said that, Brad Buxer, Bill witfilied and so many people that around and it’s obvious.. so Mr Loren says Michael was trying to victimize himself during This is it but he had a control??? That’s ridiculous! Michael died.. I believe Michael didn’t want to do the tour, didn’t like AEG and the people around him, they treated him badly and disrespectfully, they used him as a money machine without helping him, and they knew the truth! (Btw Karen Faye said last year that Randy Phillips knew about the propofol! Instead of helping him with his insomnia he threatened Michael he will tell the authorities and Michael will loose his children, and we all know that was Michael’s biggest fear..) so it saddens me the way he portrayed Michael, but then again, that was Michael’s life I guess, his unique talent was a blessing and a curse, in his life and in his death.. RIP Michael

    1. Elise Capron Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Jane! We are really glad that you enjoyed the episode.
      Stay BAD!

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  5. jamilah

    i haven’t finished this episode yet… With a dude like Bryan Loren though, you gotta step your interviewing game up and do MASSIVE research before you start the interview. i as a listener find it more compelling when people speak about obscure facts or focus on what makes someone tick; and as a person who did radio for many years, in my experience the people being interviewed loved it as well. It was VERY clear he did not have time to waste, and i think if more homework was done he would have been a little more patient.

    i grew up in the 80s and was familiar with his Philly World era, and his work with folks like Vesta Williams (RIP). To be honest, while i knew there was gonna be an obvious discussion on the Dangerous and Blood On The Dance Floor sessions; i clicked on the interview thinking there was gonna be much more detail about his work outside of MJ as well. Bryan Loren is one of those cats like Bernard Wright, or an even closer comparison, Kashif (RIP)- a young cat who got his experience as a session musician, merging into a world-renowned producer, songwriter and arranger (Loren with Fat Larry’s Band and Cashmere; Kashif with B.T. Express). Y’all could have spent 45 minutes straight up talking about his work with MFSB and Philly International (something i wished people actually interviewed MJ about in the later years); another 30 minutes talking about his two albums (a huge question being, ‘why was your second album only officially released in Japan?’); you could have spent another half hour talking about his work with artists like with Me’lissa Morgan and Vesta Williams, and another 20 minutes on Fat Larry!!! You had an opportunity to have an interview with Bryan Loren, and did not spend much time picking his brain? That’s like getting an interview with the great Greg Phillinganes and only asking him about working with Michael Jackson; and while his work with MJ was amazing and significant, you could probably spend a half hour (at least!) with him talking JUST about George Duke (who also worked with MJ), and another 50 minutes just talking about scales and musical direction, before you even begin to talk about MJ.

    Yes, this is a podcast focused on MJ (i do one myself), but the people who worked with him have such a rich history outside of their work with him. i think only acknowledging their craft as if in passing just so you could get to their work with MJ ASAP (which is really what it felt like) does a disservice to their work as a whole.

    Again, i have not finished the episode, so perhaps everything i said will be stood corrected. As for now, this is a positive criticism i have. In response to a comment above; i don’t find him to be egotistical/not humble- dude is from Philly… The east coast. He doesn’t really have time to waste. He also is clearly frustrated by the fact that his work was posted without his consent.

    i have dialectical thinking behind people posting on Youtube, etc. for free: while i concur that people should absolutely be paid for their work; there’s also a class privilege attached to music access. Firstly, the artists are not paid their work, as the executives scrape that money off the top with these 360 deals and publishing conundrums. People in the poverty and peasant class do not have the same access to music- they cannot just readily go to concerts and shows, and neither can people in these small towns where performers do not go. So watching something on Youtube gives them that connection and access. Also, with older music, younger people can be exposed. People can hear different types of music they otherwise would not have been exposed to. Youtube and other streaming formats focus on today’s popular music, and not everybody wants to hear that- they maybe wanna hear Mel & Tim, or The S.O.S. Band. i think what Radiohead (and before that, David Bowie) did was good- make albums that are pay-what you can. They still made money on their own terms that way. i am amazed more people are not doing this, outside of things like Bandcamp.

    That said, uploading songs which were not for public consumption in the first place? That is a whole different story. In order for songs to be leaked, in a lot of cases it had to be someone with immediate access to the songs who leaked them. This is why Prince had a vacuum-sealed vault. While some bootlegs happened, dude still has thousands of songs people have never heard.

    i have only heard a few of your podcasts, and while i don’t agree with all your views it is nice to see that y’all get a bit deeper on the subject matter (and do a little more sociopolitical stuff- the type of podcasts i prefer to listen to), and humanize the man- there’s not a focus on deifying Michael Jackson. Be well…

  6. jamilah

    Oh yeah!!! i would have asked him about his time with Nick Martinelli too!!! THAT would have probably been a 45-minute conversation!!!!! Martinelli was another world-renowned producer, working with 5ive Star, Loose Ends, 52nd Street, Miki Howard, Regina Belle… Bryan Loren worked under THAT dude and you didn’t spend ANY time talking about that??!! HOW??!!

    1. LalaXx

      Interesting interview that contradicts the work of so many other producers and engineers, which leads me to think Loren was bitter his work wasn’t used, but he should humble himself and be like Babyface and accept the fact that his sound wasn’t the sound MJ wanted on his albums. The shade he was giving Bill Bottrell, Teddy Riley and Heavy D let’s me know all I need to I know about this guy. Heavy D not feeling his sound is a honest opinion (RIP) because Loren does not have a traditional street/Hip Hop sound, that’s just a fact. Being from Philly don’t mean you know hip hop or rap like someone like Riley that went on to work with rappers such as Jay-Z and also mentored great producers like Rodney Jerkins & Pharrell Williams. That in itself speaks more for Riley, as his sound has been copied and watered down since the early 90s. The idea that Riley somehow lifted the sound of Loren is also quite far fetched because Riley’s work was prominent before and after he worked with MJ, although I will say it turned more melodic while working with Michael. MJ was a master at creating melodic arrangement that worked with different music styles throughout the eras. On another point, Loren also low key accused MJ of stealing songs from other artists and it’s so far fetched. If anything the string arrangement that Claire Fischer (RIP) did on Push Me Away is rather lazy work more so than stealing lol, that’s classic Fisher stuff. The other One Step Closer song was a typical beat/drum pattern used in the mid 80s. It wasn’t an original sound but then again most music in essence isn’t truly “new” because most melodies, harmonies, arrangement etc have been used one or the other for the past 300 years. – studied music for 18 years of my life including 3 years at university level doing musicology studies.

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