Alumnus lands three tracks on King of Pop’s new CD and a spot on Oprah’s couch.

“Breaking News” is one of ten new songs on Michael, the new CD from the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. But the real headline for the Drew community is that the tune and two others were co-written and produced by alumnus Eddie Cascio, a 2004 sociology major and former member of the men’s soccer team.

How Cascio came to work with Jackson was the subject of a December 6 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. There, he and his family broke their silence on a 25-year friendship with the star that included visits to their home in Bergen County.

“It was funny because he would just come up and enjoy family dinners and just be part of the family,” Cascio told Oprah. “He would always make sure that before every meal we always say our prayers, say grace, and even afterward we’d have sit-downs and we’d all go through and just talk about what we’re thankful for. Those types of memories that we all have are just really priceless, because that was Michael.”

Cascio was already finding success in the music business while a student at Drew. A 2003 Acorn article detailed his work with *NSYNC and Luther Vandross as well as his venture into music publishing and producing.

“The production time really cut into his ability to practice with the team,” recalls Men’s Soccer Head Coach Lenny Armuth, who may be one of the few people who knew of Cascio’s famous friend. “I knew that Michael was helping him build a studio at his house and that he was writing some songs for Jackson. I thought it was great that Jackson was helping him.”

Cascio’s three tracks on Michael—“Breaking News,” Jackson’s response to his tabloid detractors, “Monster,” which features rapper 50 Cent, and the ballad “Keep Your Head Up”—were recorded at his home studio, which is cause for suspicion among some fans who don’t believe it is actually Jackson’s voice on the tracks. But several producers and engineers who worked with Jackson over the years and had the opportunity to review the tapes vouch for their authenticity.

Cascio addressed the controversy, telling Oprah: “I can tell you that it is Michael’s voice. He recorded right there in my basement. It was a home studio and, you know, we worked. I was there pushing the buttons. He was right there directing, and that’s Michael Jackson.”

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