Marsha Ambrosius

Marsha Ambrosius Remembers Michael Jackson: ‘I Was His Singing Heifer’

Not many artists can lay claim to collaborating with a legend before they’ve even gotten their feet wet, but they’re not Marsha Ambrosius. Ten years ago, the English songstress worked alongside Michael Jackson to create “Butterflies,” a hit single off the King of Pop’s Invincible album, and has fond memories from the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The former Floetry member played a pivotal role in the song’s evolution, but she was just happy to be part of the process. “The original record I produced and wrote myself,” Marsha tells “Andre Harris co-produced it with me. I worked with Michael Jackson on the record here in New York in March 2001. Wow, it’s 10 years later and my album is going to be out. I just did the math on that. It’s crazy.”

As a sign of appreciation to the late pop icon, Marsha offers a remixed version of “Butterflies” on her debut solo LP, Late Nights & Early Mornings. The 33-year-old is grateful for the memories, even years later.

“Getting the opportunity to work with the best who ever did it, on planet Earth, period, is just a blessing,” she shares. “For me, it was just paying my respects. For those who don’t know, I’ve worked with him, but I knew him outside of music. I knew him as a father, as a friend. It was me paying my respects back to him and just thanking him for doing something for me so early in my career I never expected. When I came in the industry at such an early age—for me, 20, 21—it was way early to take on as a businesswoman and having Michael Jackson be one of the first artists that you work with as a producer and a writer, I just think that’s a blessing.”

Though the public knew Jackson for being reserved and soft-spoken in interviews, behind studio doors he was anything but. “Michael Jackson was a practical joker,” reveals Marsha. “He was just funny. And his laugh just made you laugh. When we were in the studio, his engineer kept calling me a singing heifer. And [Michael] would tell the engineer, ‘You know a heifer is a cow, that’s a cow.’ I’ll never forget that. So I’ll always be Michael Jackson’s singing heifer.”

Marsha Ambrosius’ debut album Late Nights & Early Mornings arrives in stores March 1, featuring the singles “Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)” and “Far Away.”

–Georgette Cline