Gouna's Club 88 plays host to the world's number one MJ impersonator this Spring Break. We talk to the man about dancing in the kitchen, being chosen by the King of Pop and he gives us the scoop on the upcoming Xscape album...
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is back and this time he's coming to Gouna. Yes that's right folks - Michael Jackson has returned from the dead for one night only and rather than waste his time in New York , LA or Miami he's headed for a beach resort that probably won't kill him El-Gouna. The move comes as part of this summer's hottest pool and lounge shindig, Club 88's soon to be famous 'Moonwalker Party' on Easter Sunday night. Ok, ok we lied... Michael Jackson hasn't actually gone all Jesus on us and risen from the dead...but here's the next best thing. The lavish night, spearheaded by International Man of Mystery Tamer Banna, will feature the world's top MJ impersonator - known simply as Navi - so that we can all pretend its the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s or early 2000s again.
We caught up with Navi to talk being chosen by MJ, seeing Egypt and gives us the exclusive scoop on the real Michael Jackson's upcoming post-humous album, Xscape.
Where are you from/where did you grow up?
I was born in the Caribbean but grew up in London. I have been in the UK for the past 34 years now.
How did you get into Michael Jackson impersonation?
When I arrived in the UK in 1979 , MJ dominated the 80s and 90s and therefore I wanted to be like him. He was like a real like super-hero and all his music and videos were everywhere. I remember standing outside the hotel in London as a kid looking up at the hotel window with hundreds of other MJ fans on the street. A few years later, I was in the hotel with him looking down at the MJ fans, was surreal to have my life turned around like that.
I grew up learning to dance in my parent’s kitchen and I had my first break opening for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame group The Drifters at the age of 15. I went on from opportunity to opportunity evening opening the Virgin Megastores across 9 European cities.
Then working for MJ in promotion of albums and concerts and also as a decoy (being used as a double so he could leave a certain place easier).
Have you ever met Michael Jackson in real life, if so what was the meeting like?
I have met Michael several times, evening being chosen to perform at his birthday parties in London, New York and Los Angeles. I also had the honour of being invited to Neverland which was amazing.
Michael was always humble and supportive, always the kind of person you never expected to be so kind. He loved people and admired everyone by just watching and trying to learn. He said to me once “you’re an amazing dancer, do you practice everyday?”... to hear MJ ask you that was unbelievable.
What was your favourite MJ album?
It’s difficult to choose but I guess Bad. It’s the album around the time I was in my teens and filled with so many classic Pop hits.
There are a lot of MJ impersonators out there. What makes you number one?
I have been branded number one for several years now, so I suppose it's being ‘Chosen By Michael’ and working for him. Even last week, I was invited to Los Angeles to hear the brand new MJ Album Xscape then meet with the Epic Record executives. The album I have to say is truly amazing and a tribute to the legendary dance beats Michael always likes to have associated with his catchy tunes.
I am also the only impersonator to have been invited to Neverland, and guess having performed in over 300 international shows on 58 different countries covers most of the world. But to be honest, I believe we all are top impersonators – we all fly the flag for MJ in our own way and none is more important than the other.
Have you been to or performed in Egypt before?
Egypt is one of my favourite places in the world. The history and culture is amazing. This year alone I have been to Thailand, Malaysia, Los Angeles twice and now to Egypt. So I see many amazing places, but I’m not sure many people can say they would rather visit another country than Egypt.
I have been here twice before: once for a wedding and once for a small private show. This time I am looking forward to performing at this event at Club 88. I have always heard of the Red Sea region and now I get a chance to finally see it. I wish I could have stayed a few more days, but also hope this is the first of many trips back to this beautiful place.
Michael Jackson is huge in Egypt, what do you have planned for the crowd?
I plan to celebrate the music and legacy of MJ with the Egyptians. I know they love music and dance and I also know I could learn quite a lot from them, so I look forward to dropping some of the classic MJ hits we all know.