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Too shocked for words: Luke Kenny

I started my career on stage by doing Michael Jackson’s impersonations. In fact, I got into the performing arts through him by doing everything that he did. Luke Kenny reminisces...

entertainment Updated: Jun 27, 2009 18:22 IST
(As told to Nikhil Taneja)

I’m too shocked for words right now. I’ve been following this story ever since it broke, but ever since it was confirmed that he’s dead, I just can’t come to terms with it.

I started my career on stage by doing Michael Jackson’s impersonations. In fact, I got into the performing arts through him – by doing everything that he did at that time. I was 11-years-old at the time when Doordarshan had this late night show which played international music videos for half an hour.

On one of those nights, I saw the music video of Bilie Jean. And I was hooked. It was an impressionable age and from that day onwards, I started dancing, trying to do those fantastic moves, wearing the hat, the gloves, the socks, the white shirt – so I could look exactly like MJ.

Simply electric
In fact, I still have that shirt with me. I was the only MJ improviser at that time in my school.. no one else had been doing it so far. And doing it got me instant fame! People would get charged up with the music and the style, whenever I performed it on stage, the audience just loved it!

MJ inspired me in that way – after watching him perform, I had decided that whatever I did in life from that point onwards, if I ever took to the stage, I’d perform like him. For all musicians up till then, performance was always secondary.

But I learnt from him that when you are up on that stage, you need to get the audience going. So I would jump, dance, shout, and do everything on stage to keep the energy levels going.

I remember his concert at the Andheri Sports complex in 1996.. He did a bit in a crane where the crane passed over the audience. I was right below the crane and I think, well I would like to believe that for a split second he kind of looked at me! It was surreal!

India connection
The concert was everything like what we had seen in videos. People had lined up for it from the day before and the road outside the stadium looked narrower than it ever had. It felt like we could be in any part of the world since India had never seen that kind of hysteria before. Because he was the only iconic pop star who came down here in his prime.

People loved him because of his commitment to performance — when he came on stage, he made sure that people had the time of their lives. He made sure everyone sang, danced and went mad.. his music had to reach out to the people. Especially in India, we’ve never had rockstars, so when he came, with his power and charisma, nothing else mattered to India I think the saddest thing that could have happened before his death was that he couldn’t put together great music because of all the court cases and controversies that kept interfering with his work. It’s tragic that we couldn’t see what was left in him, for one last time, before his death.

And now that he’s gone, I think the whole world should come together to pay tribute to the legend, that is MJ. It’s time to look back and admire the artistry of the true king of pop, and look past all the negativity.