3T interview (B&W)


How did it all start for 3T?
Taryll: We grew up watching our uncles sing and dance, as everybody else. We'd imitate them, without taking ourselves seriously. At first, we wanted to become Baseball players and do music at the same time, but we soon realized it wouldn't be possible. We had to make a choice. We've always wanted to do music, even before we started
thinking about Baseball, so we decided to go that way.
Taj: But we still play Baseball, with our friends or relatives.

Like all the Jackson brothers, Tito loves sports. He even used to train your Baseball team...
Taryll: Yeah! He loves Baseball, everybody in the family loves Baseball. We like sports in general. Tito also loves music but, even if he chose to work in the music industry, he'd always get involved in a sports activity. That's how he became the coach of our Little League Baseball team. Later, I think we'll do the same.

Do you remember the time when your started writing songs for the album Brotherhood?
Taryll: Actually, I think it goes back to the time when we simply started writing music. As soon as we started writing, we started putting songs together for Brotherhood. Since it is 3T's first album, we worked on it for a long time. The oldest song on the album was probably written 5 or 6 years ago.

Does that mean you wouldn't write songs before that?
Taryll: Oh no, we had written many songs before that.

But you didn't think they were good enough to be on the album?
Taj: Exactly. We're perfectionists. And music changes, as well as our voices.

Before the release of Brotherhood, three 3T songs came out: "You Are The Ones" on "The Jacksons - An American Dream" Soundtrack, "Didn't Mean To Hurt You" on the "Free Willy" Soundtrack, and "What Will It Take" on the "Free Willy 2" Soundtrack. Those songs are excellent and could have been on your album, especially "Didn't Mean To Hurt You". We heard you actually got signed on MJJ Music thanks to that song, is this true?

Taj: It's partly true. Actually, we got a deal with Epic Records thanks to that song. At the time, we were supposed to record an album with Epic, not MJJ Music. And if you look at the credits on the "Free Willy" Soundtrack, you'll see "3T appears courtesy of Epic Records". Our Sony biography says we were signed by Michael, but it's not true. At first, we got signed by Epic. Our uncle helped us in the sense that he made us work in a studio, which allowed us to do good-quality recording. And the song "Didn't Mean To Hurt You" which features on the "Free Willy" Soundtrack is the original version we presented to Epic, we didn't have to record it again. But Michael didn't sign us. We got a deal with Epic on our own, as everybody else. Then, after we had signed with Epic, Jerry Greenberg -MJJ Music President- insisted that we should be on his label. We thought it was the perfect way to thank our uncle for all he had been doing for us. We also wanted to contribute to the development of his label and help it become the next Motown.

How do you write songs? Do you play any instruments?
TJ: We play the piano but most of the time, when melodies come to our minds, we just sing and record them on a dictaphone. That way, we remember everything, and when we get inspired, we can start again from where we had stopped.

Have you brought your recorders with you?

TJ: Yes, they're in our room.

If a melody comes to your mind during this interview, feel free to record it!

Taryll: I'll use your dictaphone!

Did you study music at school?

Taj: I studied music, it was among the subjects I had chosen at school, but my brothers write by
TJ: In general, we get inspired by our personal experiences, we use lots of different things. We all write songs, sometimes together, sometimes separately. That's something we enjoy doing.

How do you deal with fame? Fans screaming your names... is it something totally new for you?
Taryll: Actually, it's not totally new because we followed our uncle on tour so we got to see that sort of things. Now the difference is, people call our names instead of Michael's. They're interested in us. But we've seen worse, we've found ourselves in situations that were completely out of control with our uncle...
Is it nice to get so much attention?
Taryll: It's great!

Isn't it worrying sometimes?
Taryll: No, it's not worrying... well, it can be when there are rushes because we don't want people to get hurt. That's all. We always try to sign autographs to everybody (laughs) but it's impossible! We can't get to everyone but we still try!

If it all ended tomorrow, would you miss that?
Taryll: I wouldn't miss it only if people could still listen to our music. That's the most important thing. Fans, the screams and all that, it's great, but the most important thing - and what made us do this job - is the music. If the screams disappeared but people still liked our music, I'd be happy. I wouldn't complain about it. What's important is that they like the music.

Here are two personal questions which -according to the amount of letters we received- seem to be important for some of our female readers. First of all, how would you describe the ideal girl?
Taryll: She would have to be affectionate, very caring, sweet. But, and I speak for all of us here, she shouldn't smoke because we really can't stand cigarettes. She would have to be someone who likes to have fun, someone who's intelligent, true, normal and who's not interested in fame and everything that goes with it. That's how we are ourselves. She would also have to be understanding and honest because we travel a lot. She would have to understand that and trust us.

Do you have girlfriends?
3T: Not right now. We haven't found someone that understanding and honest yet! We're always on the road so it makes things difficult...

Isn't it harder to find someone because you're famous?
TJ: Yes, of course. But it was already hard before because we're Tito's sons and Michael's nephews. It's hard to find someone who likes you for who you are and not your last name.

Another question from the fans: what are your dates of birth?
Taj: Taryll was born on August 8 1975, TJ July 16 1978 and me August 4...
TJ: 1912... (laughs)
Taj: August 4 1973.

How's your life at the moment? Doing all those TV shows, radio interviews, etc... is that what you thought you'd be doing?
Taj: It's still hard to get up early. We have to get up at dawn and spend hours travelling but apart from that, we knew we'd have to work really hard.
Taryll: I think we have to do more than any other new band because of the name "Jackson". Some journalists have problems getting an interview with us, so we have to spend more time doing that. We don't complain about having to give lots of interviews, the thing is, we have to do more than any other new band. Instead of giving, for example, 3 interviews, we have to give 6 or 7. We have to travel a lot and it takes a lot of time so we don't get much sleep and we can't do other things...
But you still like this job?
Taryll: Yeah! We want to do music, share our music. One of our main ambitions is to do a world tour, like our uncle. Everything we do now is helping us reach our goal.

Isn't it boring to do all those interviews and answer the same questions over and over again?
Taryll: Yes, but we have to do it. Everybody does it, everybody gives interviews. Later, we'll have other things to talk about than our first single. We'll be able to talk about the differences between our albums, there'll be the first concerts, the first tour and we'll talk about all of that. Now, with just one single out, there's not much to talk about, but we're progressing.

What's your favorite song on the Brotherhood album?
TJ: It's hard to tell. To me, the most personal song, the most touching one, is "Anything" because it's our first single. We produced that song on our own, without the help of anyone else. I think it describes 3T the best, our sound. That's why I would say "Anything".
Taryll: I agree with TJ. "Anything" is a very special song, but I also love "Why" very much. Just working with Michael... it's a dream come true. I didn't think it'd happen so quickly. I was very happy to work with him, to be together on one song really is a dream come true.
Taj: "Anything" is also the song that touches me the most.

What happened to the song "Brotherhood"? Weren't your uncles supposed to do the backing vocals?
Taj: This version of the song, with our uncles singing on it, does exist but it's not on the album. But when the single comes out, we're planning to use both versions.
TJ: We didn't put it on the album because we wanted people to make the difference between the Jacksons and 3T. This version with our uncles is different. In a way, it's unique because it has two generations of the Jacksons singing on it. That's cool.

After "Anything", "24/7" is coming out in Europe and "Tease Me" in the US. Do you know which songs will be released next?
Taryll: We've made a list of the singles we'd like to release and we talk about it with our uncle and our record company. We hope things go as planned, but we never know, it could always change.

Will "Why" ever come out?
TJ: It could be our next single, or the one after.

Where does this song come from?
TJ: At first, it was one of our uncle's songs for the HIStory album. He made the mistake to let us listen to it before the release of the album and we fell in love with this track -as it happens with all of his songs - but he gave us that one. We admire Babyface a lot, which could explain the reason why Michael gave us this particular song. So we could have the song, but under one condition: we should keep his voice on it. So we kept the chorus as it was, sang by Michael, and we re-sang the verses. Uncle Michael was with us during the recording, he helped us with our singing as well as getting into the atmosphere of the song. You should hear Michael's version of "Why", that would be cool.

How did the recording of this other song on which Michael sings -"I Need You"- go?
Taj: We made him listen to the song and he loved it. He just wanted TJ to re-sing one or two sentences and put more emotion in it. So TJ said that was a great idea but he wanted Michael to how him how to do it. So we all went to the studio where Michael was recording his own songs five minutes away from where we were. We gave him a call and he came. He helped TJ all the way through the recording of his part and he also got the idea for the voice inflexions in the end. The producer of the track then asked him if he would sing at the end of the song and Michael said "of course." When Michael started singing, the producer started crying because it was a dream come true for him; to see Michael Jackson singing one of his songs.

Why do you call Michael "Uncle Doo Doo"?
Taryll: As you know, he's stupid (laughs). He does silly things.
Taj: It's one of the thousand nicknames he gave himself. Even when he's away, we stay in touch with him. We send him letters and he answers. He signs his letters "Uncle Doo Doo," it's just to do something silly.

So there's no real meaning behind it?
Taj: No! (laughs) I'm sorry, I wish there was one!

What's your favorite song on the HIStory album?
Taj: Gosh, I don't know. It's hard to tell...
TJ: One thing's for sure, out of all his albums, this is probably our favorite one because it has more songs on it! (laughs)

What do you think of "Money"?
Taryll: What do we think of money?

No, the song! (laughs)
Taryll: I love it. It's great. Seriously, I really love "Money". Actually, the whole album is fantastic.
TJ: I like the words of this song, they're really strong and, in most cases in America, they tell the truth.

During the Dangerous Tour, you spent a lot of time on the road with Michael. Tell us more about it...
Taryll: I think that's when we learned the meaning of the words "travel" and "do a show". At the time of the Jackson 5 and even the Victory Tour, we were too young and we had to go to school. We would only travel during our school breaks so we wouldn't miss class. During the Dangerous Tour, we had the opportunity to spend time away from home without having to go back to school. Each day, for months, we saw everything. We saw the fans, the way our uncle would act with them. He taught us lots of things. We learned a lot.

Do you see Michael as your uncle or as the King of Pop? Can you, for example, tell him anything you want?
Taryll: Oh yes! One time, during the Dangerous Tour, he'd get the words wrong during "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and show after show, he'd make the same mistake. We kept telling him but he'd always forget. One day, he finally sang the words correctly and at that very moment, he pointed at us from the stage. We have a video camera and another time we asked him to wave at us while he'd be onstage and he did so during "Heal The World," that was funny. It reminds us he's still our uncle. When we're backstage playing video games or acting stupid or joking around, he's just Uncle Doo Doo. But when he comes up onstage, even us we get stunned, he's fantastic. Anybody would get stunned seeing him perform, it's the same for us.

People must ask you loads of questions about Michael. Is it okay with you?
Taryll: It doesn't bother us. We're very proud of our uncle. We understand why people want to talk about him, it's because he's great! It's nice to talk about him sometimes, but when we get up at 5:30 in the morning to do a TV interview at 6 and there's not a single question about us... but we don't mind. We wouldn't be where we are today without him, we know that. He gave us so much.
TJ: He gave us so much advice, it gave us confidence in ourselves.
Taryll: He taught us how to write songs, how to sing, he helped us. Without him, we would still have made an album but I don't think it would have been as good. He really taught us a lot of things.

TJ, you're still at school, how is it with the other students? Do they ask you questions about Michael?
TJ: No. I go to the same school my brothers went to before me. We've spent our whole lives there, about 15 years. We grew up with the same people. They never ask me questions. It's a small school, mainly for showbiz kids like Tevin Campbell, Sydney Poitier or Quincy Jones' kids, to name just a few. They simply don't ask me questions.

What kind of advice were you given by the other members of your family when you started in the business?
Taryll: We were told to stay together, to work hard, to make the most of it, to have fun and to fight for what we believe in. But most importantly, to stay together.

Will you support Michael on the HIStory Tour?
Taryll: Maybe, we haven't asked our uncle. We haven't talked about that. If he wants us to do it, we'll be happy to accept. I think anybody would do the same. But we don't think we have to do it to assure 3T's success. Whether we do support our uncle or not, we think we have a good album and the chance to make it anyway. We're not running after this tour, we don't count on it.

Michael and Janet are great dancers. Are you planning to dance in your future videos?
We dance a little bit, but we're not as good as them. They're fantastic. It's alright (laughs). We play Baseball.

Frank Dileo is your manager. What do you think of him?
Taryll: He's great! We have fun with him. We've known Frank for a long time, our family's known him for a long time. He used to kick us out of the dressing room when Michael had to do something. He'd tell us to stop playing our video games and go do our homeworks! He's a great guy, we have fun with him!

What are your favorite hobbies?
Taryll: We like playing video games, watch movies, do fun things in general.
Taj: We like sleeping (laughs).

Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Taryll: Personally, on stage, with my brothers, singing in stadiums...
Taj: Same for me.
TJ: In 10 years? On stage, a world tour.

Basically, are you happy?
Taj: We're happy with the way things are going with our career. We've been working hard and we're starting to see the result. But we still have to get better and we keep on learning everyday.
Well, we wish you all the success...
TJ: Thank you very much. I'd like you to know that your magazine really is the one I like best. I'm serious! A few weeks ago, we asked Frank Dileo to get us a subscription. We fight over the copies you gave us last time. It's 3T's favorite magazine, you can include that in the interview!
Black & White

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