Music, News

T-Pain Remembers His Near-Miss With Michael Jackson & Usher

T-Pain once was on the verge of having a song with Michael Jackson and Usher – but it never got to see the light of day thanks to an overzealous reference singer.

In a clip he shared to Twitter/X on Tuesday (January 23), Teddy Pain recalled the never-completed song from the mid-aughts and even played a brief sample for his fans while explaining what messed up its release.


“We are about to listen to a song that I wrote and produced that was meant for me, Usher, and Michael Jackson,” he began. “And then the person that was in charge of doing the references and the person that sang it got too excited and was like, ‘N-gga, I’m on a song with Michael Jackson and Usher and T-Pain!’ And then he released it and then Michael Jackson was like, ‘Nah, never mind. I don’t wanna do it anymore.’ Yeah, that pissed me off. Not gonna lie to ya.”

A reference vocal is a vocal performance recorded by someone other than the intended singer (in this case, MJ and/or Usher) so that the final performer can hear and learn his or her part.


You can listen to T-Pain’s story — and an excerpt of the track — below.

While his opportunity with the legendary Michael Jackson got thwarted, T-Pain did recently get his props from another legend in Ozzy Osbourne.

Pain uploaded a video of his cover of Black Sabbath’s classic hit “War Pigs” to social media last month, and the heavy metal legend was suitably impressed.


Osbourne commented on T-Pain’s post: “This is the best cover of ‘War Pigs’ ever. Why didn’t you guys call me?”

T-Pain responded to the praise by saying: “You’re always invited. Top of the list, every time!! Thank you so much. Means a lot coming from the greatness himself.”


“War Pigs” was originally released in 1970 and featured on Black Sabbath’s second album Paranoid. The track is considered one of the band’s signature songs and was previously covered by Post Malone during a New Year’s Eve performance in 2020.

T-Pain’s Ozzy Osbourne-approved rendition of the song came as part of his performance at The Sun Rose in West Hollywood last year.

T-Pain Announces Las Vegas Residency: ‘Vegas, Let’s Turn Up!’

The full performance, which saw him perform other hits like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” sans Auto-Tune, was uploaded to YouTube in December and also released as a live album.

Much like with his 2014 Tiny Desk Concert, T-Pain’s natural singing voice stunned viewers, with one person writing on social media: “His voice gives me chills. I don’t think people realize how great of a singer he really is.”


Another commented: “So basically autotune needed him this whole time… noted,” while another said: “Pain deserves his flowers. He’s so talented and versatile.”