Akon songwriter surprised by guest singer
Michael Jackson appears on 'Hold My Hand'NEW YORK -- Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Claude Kelly wrote the recently leaked Akon song "Hold My Hand" featuring Michael Jackson, but he confesses that hearing the legendary singer's voice on the track the first time was a total surprise to him.
"I wrote the song and gave it to Akon with the intention of it going to maybe Whitney Houston, but Akon said he wanted to cut it himself. I thought, 'It doesn't get any bigger than this,' " the 27-year-old New York native said. "A few months after, Akon plays the song for me and all of a sudden I hear Michael Jackson's voice. I was literally shaking by the time the song was over."
The track, which is in contention to be the first single from Akon's new album, due late this year, has since been pulled off the Internet. As per when an actual Michael Jackson album will be released, Kelly said a date hasn't been set yet. What has been confirmed, as per Kelly's manager Michael "Make" Mentore from Star Power Media/Make Moves Management, is that the track will appear on both Akon and Jackson's albums.
Since penning the collaborative track, Kelly has been tapped to work not only with Akon and Whitney Houston but also with Jennifer Hudson, Frankie J, Brandy, New Kids on the Block, Toni Braxton, recent Def Jam signee Unique and Leona Lewis, including the latter's second single, "Forgive Me," which will be released in the coming weeks. He also wrote the entire debut solo album for Corbin Bleu from "High School Musical" fame.
As a child, Kelly took piano and flute lessons and sang with local choirs. He attended Brooklyn College of Music in 1999, and in 2002 wrote his first song, which was placed in a Bathing Ape compilation released in Japan. His first major placement came with "Daddy's Little Girl" from Frankie J's 2006 album "Priceless."
In the future, Kelly says he hopes to work with the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, Usher, Chris Brown and Kelly Clarkson, among others. He also plans on delving into country and rock music as well.