It could have been one of the most bizarre musical hookups in pop history. According to a new interview with Michael Jackson’s choreographer, Travis Payne, the late King of Pop was a big fan of Lady Gaga and had tried to set up a meeting to discuss a possible joint project.
The revelation comes from a video posted on December 30 on YouTube by Amsterdam-based producer/actor Raffles van Exel, who asks Payne which artists MJ was interested in collaborating with before his death last June.
“I gave him a short wish list [of possible collaborators] … and he was like, ‘Sure, they can all come, as long as their schedules permit and it’s not too much of a problem for them,’ ” Payne said of Jackson’s humble response to a suggestion that he reach out to other artists to work with him on his ‘This Is It’ series of shows in London. “Of course, I suggested Janet, of course Whitney Houston. … Diana Ross and Mariah Carey we talked about. We talked about Missy Elliott. We talked about Usher, of course. We talked about Justin [Timberlake], Celine Dion … Sting, Seal, Bono, Tina Turner. We talked about all these people that I thought were cool but that he liked.”
Then, Payne said he asked Jackson if there was anyone else he wanted to reach out to. “He goes, ‘Lady Gaga.’ I go, ‘Really?’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ He’s the one who really got me to get into her. He literally told me, ‘You gotta get into her. She’s good.’ So, I started listening to her music more and going on YouTube and looking at her performances, and I was like, ‘He’s right.’ ”
Payne did not specify in the video when these conversations took place. He said that last November, he got a call from Lady Gaga and told her the story about the conversation with Jackson. “She got moved by it,” he recalled. A spokesperson for Gaga could not be reached for comment about Payne’s claims.