Michael Jackson’s close friend talked about the King of Pop and his last moments to Aysegul Ekinci
Travis Payne: ‘We came to Turkey with Michael. He loved Turkey. He could not stop talking about it when we returned’
Skilled dance and choreographer Travis Payne has danced with megastars such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Sting, Janet Jackson, Faith Hill, Britney Spears. He says he owes a lot to MJ. He has danced with MJ since childhood years and he was with MJ during his last days.
Travis was one of the choreographers of the ‘This is it’ concert shows and he rehearsed for hours during the last days of MJ while generating ideas for the London concerts.
He still has a hard time believing the sudden death of MJ. The choreographer had visited Turkey with MJ in the past. For MJ Travis Payne says: ‘Before anything else, he was a man of peace’. This is the first time he can talk about MJ…
You danced with MJ for hours during his last days, you rehearsed together, worked together, ate together. Are the rumors true? How was MJ like during the rehearsals?
Travis Payne: Michael was unbelievable during the rehearsals. He was very good. Really… He could see everything and everyone around him. To the last detail. And he wanted his come back to the show world to be amazing.
This being thin matter is nonsense. Us dances, we have to be at a certain weight in order to be able to dance. Michael kept the same weight to perform those dances. His appearance seemed normal to me of course. Look at me 20 years ago and look at me now. No one can stay the same!
But when it comes to Michael, there is no end to the stories…
So how about his psychology?
Travis Payne: It was great. He was excited to return to the stage. He wanted everything to be perfect. But I never saw him getting exhausted after the rehearsals. He was quite dynamic.
How do you see the movie ‘This it it’? You worked on the movie too…
Travis Payne: It was an incredible movie. Michael would have been proud. But I know that he can see us. I owe him a lot. I started my career with him. He always supported me.
What kind of a friend was MJ? How was he as a person?
Travis Payne: Before anything else, MJ was a man of peace. He loved people a lot. Look at it, he was the first person who mentioned climate changes in songs. He was the one who said “We are the world”. He gave a number of messages to the humanity.
And he gave such messages via his art. Could there be anything more valuable than this? I believe that the press should talk a little about this side of Michael as well.
MJ was a very sensitive and thoughtful person. He was very different. He was one of a kind.
You came to Turkey with MJ. What were his impressions of Turkey? Could you share them with us?
Travis Payne: We loved Turkey and Turkish people. Especially Michael, he loved Turkey. He was very impressed by it. When we got back to USA he could not stop talking about Turkey.
After Michael, I came back to Istanbul again to work with a Turkish artist.
Who was the Turkish artist you worked with?
Travis Payne: It was Tarkan. I actually want to visit Turkey for vacation when I find the time. Especially the beaches on the south. I wish we could come here again with Michael!!!
Do you have a message for MJ fans in Turkey?
Travis Payne: Michael Jackson loved your country and your people..I hope that the MJ fans in Turkey will love the movie. I hope we can keep the MJ legend alive.