The way they made him feel...is defensive.
Michael Jackson's longtime producer Teddy Riley isn't too thrilled with suggestions put forth by skeptical Jackson family members that it's not actually the King of Pop's voice on the new song "Breaking News," which Sony began streaming online Monday.
And he's hitting back hard.
Riley, who produced Jackson's Dangerous, HIStory and Invincible albums, defends the authenticity of the vocals on the track—the lead single off Michael, the first posthumous collection of new music from the singer due in stores Dec. 14.
"When I heard these songs, my heart cried hearing Michael again in good spirits. The vocals sounded very polished, very on key and processed. I have no doubts that these are Michael's vocals," said Riley in a statement today.
The recording wiz wasn't the only one. The Moonwalker's former manager, Frank DiLeo, who oversaw Jackson's career for many years after Thriller, seconded that emotion.
"I spoke to Michael by telephone at [longtime Jackson friends Frank and Eddie] Cascios' home studio several times while he was recording with them, and he was excited and enthused by the music and the experience," Dileo said in a statement. "While listening to the tracks, especially the ones not heard by the general public, you can hear that he was having a great time!"
Last week came word that mother Katherine and Michael's kids questioned whether the song was legit. That was followed up this by tweets by Jackson's nephews Taj, Taryll and T.J.
"I KNOW my Uncle's voice and something's seriously wrong when you have immediate FAMILY saying it's not him," tweeted Taryll. "Don't you have to wonder why? I have strong, undeniable points. They can't give me answers, yet continue to move forward with lies and deception. Sounding like Michael Jackson and BEING Michael Jackson are two different things."
Not so, according to the Gloved One's label. Sony-owned Epic Records, at the behest of John McClain and John Branca, executors of Jackson's estate, hired a number of forensic music experts to test that assertion. The scientists analyzed a cappella vocals for "Breaking News" and compared the wave forms and other technical features of M.J.'s voice to a cappella vocals from other songs he's done and declared the vocals were the real deal.
But that hasn't stopped aggrieved Jackson relatives from lashing out.
"If you heard the acapella you would be even more disgusted. Sampled breaths after sampled breaths mixed in with fake vocals to try to fool u," tweeted T.J., later adding: "There's many MJ vocal impersonators. Some better than others. But there is only ONE Michael Jackson."
Michael's brother Jackie reacted a little more cooly, writing on Twitter that "my friend John McClain and I have insisted for many weeks to have certain tracks removed from Michael's new album. Unfortunately, our concerns were not taken seriously."
Reps for Epic Records did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.