【Cascio Family Talks To Oprah Show】
Oprah Winfrey Show (December 6th, 2010)
Also making news is the controversy surrounding release of a new Michael Jackson album titled MICHAEL with 10 never before heard songs recorded before his death. Now, this is the Cascio family. They have been reluctant to come here today, afraid that they might be betraying a friendship that they’ve held so privately and dearly for over 25 years. That is how long they have had a secret relationship with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He called them his second family. And they’ve written music together, have personal home videos and endless memories with a man who was a mystery to most of us. Here is how it all started.
Dominic Cascio: When I first met Michael Jackson, I was working at the Helmsley Palace Hotel. I used to manage all the suites and the apartments, and that’s where he normally stayed. Michael asked me if I was married, if I had any kids and that one day he would love to meet them.
Connie: He was wonderful, and we treated him as he was part of our family, and he was not the king of pop but just a human being.
Dominic: He called us “the family of love”, “my second family.”
Eddie and Frank Cascio
We grew up with him, literally, since he was 3 and I was 5, and so being around him was just normal.
He really was just so humble, and then never really played off on the fact that he was, you know, Michael Jackson, you know. He was just Michael. He was just our friend.
Connie: I used to cook all his favorite food. I knew exactly what he loved, and I would make it for him. I even would make him homemade pizza and, he loved it, and turkey dinners.
Turkey diners. Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing. Thanksgiving dinner every day.
And he did love his sweets.
Well, the candy counter, he kind of introduced us to… at Neverland, he always had the candy counter, one of the first time he came here, he was like “Where’s your candy counter?” and he made us go out and get..
He thought everyone had a candy counter.
And my father went out and got boxes and boxes of all different types of candy that Michael loved, and we actually placed it over there, and then he was like, “OK, we got the candy counter. We’re good.”
Just liked hanging out.
He’d hang out just like this. Just standing around the counter and talking, and when here was.
He took my garbage out one night.
Yeah. He loved doing things like that.
He loved doing things like that. Helped her vacuum, clean up the house.
Yeah he tried to clean up the house, his way of cleaning (laughs).
Yeah, it was funny…he would just come up and enjoy family dinners and just be part of the family. He would always make sure that before every meal that we’d say our prayers and say grace, and even afterwards we’d have sit-downs, and we’d all go through and, just talk about what we’re thankful for, those type of memories that we all have are just… they’re just really priceless, you know, because that was Michael.
Oprah: Connie and Dominic Cascio and their children Eddie, Frank, and Marie Nicole have never spoken publicly about their relationship with Michael until today. Eddie has known Michael since he was a toddler. That was Eddie playing the piano in the home video that we just saw over the years. Michael mentored Eddie and taught him the ropes about music, and in just a few moments, for the first time, we’re gonna hear a few of the songs that Eddie produced and wrote with Michael Jackson before he died. So why did you want to be here, Eddie?
Eddie: I felt that it was important to show the world who Michael really was, especially to us as a family.
Oprah: So you were just a little boy when he first came to the house. I have to ask your mother, Connie, what in the world did you think when your husband said, “Michael Jackson is dropping by”?
Connie: Well, you know, Michael never made an announcement when he was coming. He would just show up at the door, and we were like… in the middle of the night sometimes, he’d just knock at the door, and I’d wake up the kids. If you notice, they were all in their pajamas when they were playing and half asleep.
Oprah: How did you all keep this a secret all these years?
Eddie: Michael was very private, and he felt that he saw the warmth and how we respected Michael for who he was, and now he just didn’t want us to be that family that goes out and, you know, talks about Michael Jackson, and we never did that.
Connie: We wanted to give Michael that opportunity to know that we weren’t there to… for who he was as a celebrity, that we were really there to be a family for him and get him through all his bad times that he’s been through because we knew him before the bad times, and when the bad times came…
Oprah: Bad times meaning charges of sexual molestation?
Connie: Right. We weren’t gonna turn our backs on him, and we stood there, and we said, “We’re with you all the way.” And he appreciate it and we did it.
Oprah: Well, I have to ask the questions because obviously, there were bad tunes, accused of sexual molestation. You had two young boys, a young daughter. Did you ever ask your children if any improprieties had occurred with them?
Dominic: As a father, I did. And they looked at me like, “Are you serious?” But I had to do it.
Connie: We had to explain it to him, the ids, what was going on. They didn’t understand it.
Oprah: At the time.
Oprah: So I have to ask you, Frank, Marie Nicole, were there any ever any improprieties with you and Michael Jackson.
Eddie: Michael couldn’t… He couldn’t harm a fly. I mean, he’s such a kind and gentle soul.
Oprah: So when you heard those charges and heard those charges then again, and he went on trial for those charges, what did you think?
Eddie: “This is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.”
Eddie: Michael was a target, and unfortunately, he was targeted.
Oprah: So at no time did you ever feel, during all of those charges against him, that your children were not safe with him
Dominic: Never. Never a doubt.
Oprah: Did he continue to come to your home and be with your family after he had his own children?
Connie: Oh, yes, oh absolutely, we were there when the kids were born, and we were there. I mean, and he was so happy, and we, you know.
Oprah: Like physically there.
Connie: Yeah, physically there.
Oprah: Would be bring the children to your house?
Connie: Absolutely, absolutely, he trusted no one but us to even… like, he would leave the kids with no one but… other than the nanny, and we were the other family that he left the kids with.
Oprah: We’ll be right back. Where have you all been (laughs)?
Eddie: I had been studying piano since the age of four, and my brother as well, and as we grew up, we would play for Michael, and we both learned pretty much all of Michael’s songs.
Eddie: I’ll take you down to the studio. It’s in the basement, so this is the studio, and it didn’t always look like this. When Michael was here, there wasn’t any drums or anything here, there was just a box spring with a mattress. So he would sleep over here. Then I had sectioned off this corner with curtains, black, dark curtains going all the way around it, with a flat-screen TV. So he had, like his little cave. Right here, we had… it wasn’t this dance floor, but we had a regular wooden dance floor put in just for him. He was training every morning. He’d dance, and I would be right here next to him dancing. Years later, fast forward to , I would say, the beginning of ’07, he came ready to work, and that’s what we did. Spent long hours working in the studio, recording.
Eddie: The vocals were done, actually, right in this room. I think Michael would be very excited right now that the music that he was doing for his fans, they’re finally gonna get a chance to hear it.
♪Keep your head up… ♪
Eddie & Michael’s Last Photo / January 2009
Oprah: That was an exclusive preview of the new song “Keep Your Head Up,” produced and written by Michael Jackson and Eddie Cascio, who’s sitting here right now. The new album “Michael” is out on December 14th. What do you think is the most important thing he actually taught you?
Eddie: Just to always be true to who you are. Be humble. Be grateful for everything, and never stop seeking knowledge.
Oprah: He was a perfectionist.
Eddie: Oh, absolutely, yes.
Oprah: Did he always look like Michael Jackson? I mean, like, with the epaulets and… did he ever, like, come in a pair of sweats?
Dominic: Actually, Michael…
Oprah: Did he wear pajamas?
Eddie: He always looked, he was always ahead of his time when it came to fashion in public…
Frank: Especially when he wore the pajamas in the house, walking around.
Eddie: The funny thing is, he’d wear pajamas with, like, a T-shirt, and then he’d have a nice blazer. So he’d always have something… he would always have something that you saw, “Oh, that’s Michael.” With the blazer or with, you know, the iconic… the armband and everything.
Oprah: Did your family benefit in any way from the association other than the love that you felt from him? Did he buy you lavish gifts or, you know, Rolls-Royces? Cars?
Eddie: No, no, there was never any lavish gift. There was always.. we celebrated holidays, Christmases together, so there was always Christmas presents, but we also gave him Christmas presents.
Connie: and he loved them.
Oprah: Because I thought he was a Jehovah’s Witness and his religion didn’t celebrate holidays.
Connie: But he celebrated Christmas. He always loved Christmas receiving gifts, and giving gifts, and that’s what he did.
Oprah: OK. What do we actually get Michael for Christmas?
Dominic: Well, Michael… He loved books. Just buying books, and art. He loved art.
Connie: A lot of Disney stuff.
Dominic: He loved Michelangelo. He truly loved. Always talked to me about Michelangelo.
Oprah: I hear you spoke to him 3 days before he died.
Dominic: Yeah. He called us at home. Father’s day, to wish us happy Father’s day, and coincidental, we were all in my house, so he got to talk to all the family. It’s some time when we think about that.
Oprah: Were you aware.. did you all see signs of drug addiction?
Dominic: We didn’t see the signs. When he was at home, he was a normal person.
Oprah: What would you say, Eddie?
Eddie: He was sharp. It was unfortunate to learn of the so-called problem or addiction problem that we now know he suffered from. Unfortunately, it got the best of him.
Oprah: Did he… everybody who’s known him says that he had a chronic problem sleeping. Did you.. yes, because if he’s coming to your house in the middle of the night…
Connie: Well, we knew that, but I’ll tell you, he slept at our house. Because he really did relax and sleep at my house. I mean, it’s just amazing. I guess he felt like he can really just feel secure and separate from everything else. We did a lot of family things to get his mind off of, I guess, the superstar that he was.
Oprah: How much do you miss him?
Dominic: We still do.
Connie: It’ll never go away. It’ll never… It’s an everyday battle that we all have, and we all mention his name. At least once a day, we mention him because we actually can feel him in our home.
Oprah: Michael and Eddie recorded 12 songs in the Cascios’ basement. They are locked in a vault, and we’re hearing 3 of them today. Eddie, there have been some questions, you know, about, first of all, people saying that this isn’t Michael’s voice. You know that. What can you tell us about that?
Eddie: I can tell you that it is Michael’s voice. He recorded right there in my basement.
Oprah: In that little room with the mat on the floor?
Oprah: So sophisticated (laughs). In the sophisticated studios there.
Eddie: Yeah, it was a home studio, and we worked. I was there pushing the buttons. He was right there directing, and he… that’s Michael Jackson.
Oprah: As we go to break, here’s another exclusive track called Monster, written and produced by Eddie Cascio and Michael Jackson. Eddie says this is one that Michael would’ve gotten up and danced to. Take a listen.
Oprah: That’s a song called “Breaking News,” written and produced by Eddie Cascio and Michael Jackson, and it’s being released December 14. Some of the tracks on Michael’s new album were finished by his longtime producer and friend Teddy Riley. Teddy worked with Michael for over 18 years on some of his most successful albums, including “Dangerous” “HIStory” and “Invincible.” He was also one of 6 producers and engineers who verified the authenticity of Michael’s voice. So what do you… Hi, welcome. How are you? What do you say to the doubters?
Teddy: I say to the doubters, along with my friends who also worked with Michael over 20 years, over 25 years, this is Michael’s voice. And so many people, including some of the family, they doubt that it’s him, but we professionally, we’ve been around him.
Oprah: Why do they doubt that it’s him? Do they recognize the relationship? Was the family aware of this relationship with you all?
Oprah: Why do you say for sure it is him?
Teddy: Because you can hear the authenticity in his voice and you can hear, like, the natural part of him, and no one could really do a scream like that, strong scream on the music that you hear like Michael. I don’t care if you get anyone. They will never be able to duplicate Michael’s voice.
Oprah: You know, there are some who are saying this new album, these new songs, should not be released. Will. I. Am, who’s a friend of mine and a friend of the show’s, has said that Michael is a perfectionist and would not have wanted this released because it wasn’t perfect, you know. The way he left it wasn’t perfect. What do you say to that, Eddie, and you, Teddy?
Eddie: Well, I feel that Michael absolutely wanted these songs released. Michael did it for his fans. He recorded for his fans. And it deserves to come out, and the fans deserve to hear what the musical genius of Michael really is
Oprah: And what his last work was. What do you say?
Teddy: It’s to continue his legacy. I think…. They are saying it’s not perfect, but this is Michael’s, you know, his art, and we must continue his legacy. Michael’s worst day is probably a lot of those people’s, you know, best day. So this is still Michael and this is…
Oprah: So are you saying it’s better to have some Michael rather than no Michael?
Teddy: That’s right.
Oprah: Would Michael have liked the heat on this new album? Would he like the controversy?
Teddy: He’d love. He lives controversy. He lives for it.
Oprah: So the fact that we’re sitting here going “Is it or isn’t it?”
Teddy: Exactly. He would be… He’s smiling at us right now. “Just what I want you all to do.”
Oprah: Were both of you planning on going to London for his final concert, for the “This is It”?
Teddy: Yes. I had two weeks there with my children.
Oprah: Well, I think it’s remarkable… First of all, thank you for coming to share this story with me. I think it’s remarkable that this family has known Michael Jackson… that has been going on in your basement, in Michael’s pajamas, all of this time, you all never told anybody. Thanks to the Cascio Family, thank you, Teddy Riley. Thank you, Eddie. Michael Jackson’s new album “Michael” in stores December 14, with all the exclusive tracks that we heard today and much more.
(On the screen) We have complete confidence in the results of our extensive research, as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael, that the vocals on the new album are his own… Epic Records