What More Can I Give by Michael Jackson

Summary

"What More Can I Give" (also "Todo Para Ti" in Spanish) is a song written by American singer Michael Jackson and recorded by a supergroup of singers following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The inspiration for the song had initially come to Jackson after a meeting with the President of South Africa Nelson Mandela in the late 1990s. The song was to be premiered at a Jackson concert, but the singer failed to perform it. The song also failed to gain an official release, despite the pop singer having stated that it would be issued as a charity single for the refugees of the Kosovo War, which ended in 1999.

Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Jackson rewrote "What More Can I Give" at the suggestion of Marc Schaffel. Schaffel, who produced and became the executive producer on the project, convinced Jackson to also do a Spanish version of the song as well, and handled the details of the production. Jackson and other artists recorded the new version of the song shortly afterward; the other artists included Reba McEntire, Anastacia, Nick Carter, Beyoncé, NSYNC, Celine Dion, Brian McKnight, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey and Usher. In addition, a Spanish language version of the song was recorded. Entitled "Todo Para Ti", his lyrics were adapted into Spanish by the Panamanian musician Rubén Blades. Schaffel brought three-time Grammy winner K. C. Porter on to the project to give the Spanish version a different sound from the English recording.

"What More Can I Give" was scheduled for release as a charity single in the hope that $50 million would be raised between downloads, sponsors, and donations to aid the survivors and the families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The plan, however, never came to fruition and the reasons why have varied between sources and the individuals involved. One newspaper stated that the release of the song was abandoned after part of a marketing ploy by Sony Music after Jackson started a public campaign against Sony and its USA music head.

"What More Can I Give" was played on the radio for the first time in late 2002. The debut airing was made without permission by radio station WKTU-FM in New York. The following year, on October 27, 2003, "What More Can I Give" was made available to the public by way of digital download for several days. Jackson had the song taken down on the eve of the raid on his Neverland Valley Ranch property by Santa Barbara Sheriffs. Proceeds from the short sale of the song went to children's charities.

Schaffel enlisted friend and famed Brazilian artist Romero Britto to design, create, and paint an artwork to be used as the cover for the single. Britto created the "ribbon" piece in bright colors including yellow, blue and red. Britto created 250 of this piece as a special collector's item and both Britto and Michael Jackson signed and numbered each of these pieces.

Michael Jackson recorded the song in both English and Spanish, and shot the video for Marc Schaffel. Even after his death it is believed to be the "last" actual completed song and video that Michael Jackson had done, and approved for release. It was also one of the only few tracks Michael Jackson ever performed in Spanish and is considered the last. Michael Jackson had told many people he felt that "What More Can I Give" was a definite contender for song of the year for both the English and Latin Grammys, and felt it would be a more successful as "We Are the World". The Spanish version has never been heard by the public. No official release date for either project has been given since the death of Jackson in June 2009, by either Schaffel or Jackson's estate.

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