In a Billboard cover story tribute/retrospective of George Michael’s career, the singer’s former manager Rob Kahane reveals that Michael’s death on Christmas day came as a surprise after the recent contact he’d had with the pop star:
In early December 2016, when Kahane was in London, a mutual friend encouraged him to reach out to Michael, who had recently finished 18 months in a Swiss rehab facility. “I called him, and he said, ‘I’m good.’ He sounded fine,” says Kahane. Though the two hadn’t talked in years, they made a plan to have lunch in January. And Kahane heard a few of Michael’s new songs, which he says are “totally pop, like something that would’ve been on Faith. The songs weren’t depressing. That’s why I thought everything was OK with him.”
There’s no word on whether these songs will see the light of day. If they do, an interesting thought exercise would be to ask yourself if you would have cared about this music were it released when Michael was still living. Does death make music sound better? Just asking. Last week, Michael’s boyfriend Fadi Fawaz tweeted a link to an unreleased track by Michael, “This Kind of Love,” but then deleted the tweet reportedly after he was contacted by record execs to remove it. “Those in charge of the estate insist the star did not want the song released and ‘unauthorized reproductions’ are an ‘exploitation of the material,’” reported The Daily Mail.
Also in the Billboard piece, Kahane claims that the “trigger that set George off” to sever his contract with Sony was overhearing Columbia Records president Don Ienner refer to Michael as “that faggot client of yours.” “It’s a silly accusation, and it’s untrue,” Ienner told Billboard.