Sananda on George Michael

Sananda in 2022 was interviewed by writer & journalist Godfried Nevels who wrote a book on George Michael.

This is the original interview in English and you can find below an extract from the book in Dutch. Enjoy !

Intro by Sananda:

“At one point 2 years ago we were given the opportunity to participate in a book being written about the late great George Michael. I was honored, as some one who knew him, to be asked by the Dutch writer Godfried Nevels to provide some perspective on the great artist that I had the privilege to know. We at TreeHouse Publishing find it fitting that we should share this interview with you on St. Valentine’s Day, as it is our Love Letter to a dear friend.”

Sananda Maitreya
February 14, 2024
Milano, Italia.

Interview with Sananda Maitreya:

  1. When did you first meet George Michael? And what was your first impression of him

I first met him in a nightclub called ‘BROWNS’ in London in 1987. Like in a dream, he literally stepped out from behind a curtain & suddenly, THERE HE WAS, announcing himself dressed all in black & informing me that he was a big fan. I was too initially startled to reciprocate that I too was a fan of his until later.

He was gorgeous & very much in the image of a Rock idol. Though our sexual appetites were different, I was still drawn to his energy as a person. He was very generous man.

  1. What do you think of the music of George’s solo career, compared to the music of Wham?

I don’t care to compare the great music of his youth, with the music of his maturity. He was a great artist, period. Just as one would be loathe in comparing the juvenilia of Beethoven with his later, mature works.
He was blessed with the ability to make great records & that’s what he did. End of story.

  1. In your experience, what kind of person was George?

George was a very thoughtful & generous person to his friends, but like a lot of creative geniuses, he was also incredibly sensitive. But as a gay dude, he wasn’t one that you’d want to cross without good cause.
As for my relationship with him, he never wasted an opportunity to reach out to me whenever I had a new record out, to tell me how much he loved it, of course also knowing first hand that, like him, I too were being ‘punished’ by the record company for being a maverick.

  1. What was the strength of George as a musician?

Of course this is the greatest instrument ANY of us have as musicians, our ears. As well as his incredible sensibility & taste. It’s at the level he attained, ALL ABOUT INSTINCTS, & time itself agrees that his instincts were timeless.

  1. Which songs of George are your personal favorites? And why?

Careless Whisper, Club Tropicana, Father Figure, Freedom, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Outside, Fastlove, A Different Corner.
He made other great records that I like but these are the first that come to mind.

  1. George once mentioned that he wasn’t pleased with his image on the Faith album, because it was created for the American market and it wasn’t who he really was. Can you understand how he must have felt?

The American market requires more of a ‘FALSE PERSONALITY’ than other markets, so it’s understandable that he felt that way.
It’s a tough place & they demand not just your music, but also, a piece of your soul. And whatever your full truth is, you’d better keep it to yourself, because IMAGE is what they want, not substance, but CONFORMITY.

  1. We all know about the long battle that George Michael fought against Sony. What are your thoughts about that? And does it remind you of the problems you once had with your record company about the promotion of Neither Fish Nor Flesh?

In fact, his case had been built upon the bones of MY case, we shared the same lawyer & before MY case got to the courts, Sony & I settled. Like myself, we had both signed to CBS when it was BY FAR, a more ‘artist friendly’ company. But Sony arrived as wolves who almost seemed to disdain artists. To them, we were all just NUMBERS & nothing more. They were heartless bastards & took deliberate aim at those of us who cared about more than just sales figures.

Our concern for one another was connected to our shared experiences as artists going through this ugly period. Michael Jackson also went through this time hating what Sony had become. There were more than a few of us who agreed that we were at that time in the wrong place. My dear friend Prince was at the time being courted by Sony & reached out to me to ask me what I thought & I told him in no uncertain terms to stay as far away from those bitches as possible, that he was too good for them.

At one point in time, Sony had 4 of the 5 biggest selling artists in the world, myself, George, Jackson & my great friend Springsteen & they fucked it up. ALL but Bruce got burned down to the ground & left to gather, like Phoenix, their own ashes.

Prince was the other of the 5 I mention, but HIS company, WARNER BROTHERS, were known to be less egregious towards their assets. Which is all that we are to these major companies & their shareholders.

  1. Can you understand how much George must have struggled for years, not being able to express who he really was?

So, OF COURSE, as a mixed ‘raced’ man, I can fully understand how brutal is a life that is a complete compromise so that other people can ALSO PRETEND that their lives are perfect. Yet, we are ALL expected to be PRETENDERS, to ‘GO ALONG TO GET ALONG’.
The world is hostile & cruel enough without having to live a fake life in order to get through. WE WILL ALL SUFFER ANYWAY, NO MATTER WHO WE ARE OR HOW WE COME, but FAR BETTER to suffer your OWN truth than to suffer someone ELSE’S bullshit.

  1. In 2011 & 2012 George performed a cover of your song “Let Her Down Easy” during the Symphonica Tour. Were you surprised to hear this? And what do you think of George’s version of the song?

I was elated but not really ‘surprised’. He was always a good friend to me & we shared many things in common, but I was deeply moved by his tribute.
I am proud of my own version but I loved his version even more. It’s like seeing your old girlfriend with a new guy, all of a sudden, only THEN, with a new man can you see with fresh eyes how beautiful she really is.
It is never not an honor when another great artist performs your songs, it gives them new life & new blood.

10.When did you hear the news about the passing of George? And what was you first reaction after hearing this sad news?

I first heard of his passing when everyone else did.
I always suspected that George was an Angel Of Mercy. He came to this world to share his heart & once the world became too heavy & unmerciful, there was no other reason for him to remain, he had done what was required of him. And his departure on CHRISTMAS was too poetic & perfect for words.
We owe the world nothing more than we give to it.

  1. Were you surprised by the sudden death of George? Or did you see it coming?

But when we are ready to receive it. It may APPEAR to come suddenly but is in fact much more merciful than we might imagine. It was never MINE to see ‘coming’, but his, & I am more than sure that HE saw it coming & prepared his soul for his sweet rest, WHICH HE MORE THAN EARNED.

  1. How does it feel for you that besides George so many other pop icons like Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston have died over the last years?

In one year alone, I lost 4 friends & icons.
George, Prince, Bowie & Tom Petty, all of whom I was close to in one way or another, all helpful to my own journey. It was a brutally tough year but I got through it by the best way I know how, by working.
Jackson & I weren’t very close, but he was still a giant in my eyes, if also a pain in the ass, but he owed me nothing more than he gave to the world. Whitney suffered a tremendous deal of pain, so it was an act of mercy that she was taken from the world.
But by the light of God’s tender love, as of this writing, Springsteen is still alive, Pete Townshend, Mick & Keith, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, my friend Dolly Parton, Elton John & my dear idol Rod Stewart, so we still have much to be grateful for as a culture & a community.

  1. What is the legacy of George Michael?

This dude wrote one of the ALL TIME CLASSICS, ‘CARELESS WHISPER’ at the age of 19 !
And then proceeded to work with even more icons & legends like Elton & Aretha who had immense respect for him also.
He came to earth & carved his name on the Tree Of Life.
Here is a Poem that I write to commemorate him:


So, as sayeth our Latin ancestors, ‘VENI, VIDI, VICI’, George came, he saw, did what he needed to do, then got the fuck out. Before his soul got too corrupted & spoiled. It is MUCH easier to replace a body than it is to replace a SOUL. He left us to remember him as we knew him best, through the great generosity of his music & he owed none of us bitches any more than we owed HIM.

MAY GOD REST HIS SOUL & may we ALL have the courage his life inspired & just fucking get on with it. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE A PRICE WE PAY FOR NOT BEING OURSELVES, just as there will be a price for being ourselves, just a price we can afford.

  • Do you have any photos that I can use for my book? For example a photo of you and George? Or a recent photo from you?

I truly wish that I could say that I did. But unfortunately I do not. But please let me thank YOU for allowing me a chance to discharge some of my duties towards the love he shared with me. He was an Angel to me & I will remain forever moved that he shared some of his life & spirit with me.

All I ask in return for this favor you ask of me is to make SURE that you write a great book about George, because he deserves no less than this.

I am sure that you are up to the task, or you would not have been inspired to have undertaken such a project in the first place.

Most Sincerely,
Sananda Maitreya
Milano, Italia

(this interview was made on Feb 14th, 2022)

© 2024 TreeHouse Publishing – All Rights Reserved.

It was at an LA recording studio, one of the main ones.

Its name I can’t at the moment recall, but it was located very close to East Los Angeles.
If I recall correctly I was Mixing & Mastering the ‘Symphony Or Damn’ project with either Craig Porteils (a lovely Australian fellow) or an Englishman whose name unfortunately now escapes me (but whose name would appear in the Credits either way).

I was almost completed with the project as I had a European tour obligation (& then an American one) when I was called to the Studio’s office to sign some paperwork as the project’s producer. I’d been having an affair (a ‘Scene’ in Hollywood vernacular) with the Studio’s manager, & realized once in the office that I’d have to come to terms with the imminent demise of our scenario.

As I had all of my Los Angeles projects, I recorded from my home studio in the Hollywood Hills. I took the paperwork to look over from her office & sat outside on a veranda overlooking the Studio where I was finalizing the project. But since the paperwork allowed me a small respite from being inside the studio, I lit up a smoke of the Good Lord’s Precious Green & instead thought of how I’d have to SOON end this brief but passionate relationship.

Immediately came to mind with the next exhalation “Whatever You Do, Let Her Down Easy”.

Just as quickly I got up from my sitting position & ran hurriedly into the Studio where I informed my Engineer that I’d need him to meet me in “EXACTLY ONE HOUR” back at the home studio. As one would, he inquired as to why, I told him to just meet me & be ready to record ASAP.

I got into my vehicle & drove back as fast as legality allowed & went straight to the piano & captured the song as it was still composing itself.
The very short window available before the project’s completion meant that there was no time for any ‘production’ other than what the time scale provided for.

We recorded the Piano, the Vocal & then a small Drum part for the ending & then took it straight back to the East Los Angeles studio that had inspired the song. It was mixed on that same day without us missing a beat.

AND the young beauty in question was quite moved & touched that I’d written a song for her instead of a crude & hurried ‘Ciao Amore, Ma Io Vado’. So ‘LET HER DOWN EASY’ was my ‘Mea Culpa’ for having to let go of her affections & the culpable nature of a Romantic, looking for love where it may be found.

OBVIOUSLY there were some lyrical inventions & liberties taken which were intended to broaden the scope & appeal of the piece, so I also wrote in some stuff which pertained to me as a young father at that point in time, looking ALSO from that viewpoint.
But it was initiated by the affair with the Studio Manager & me wanting to be a Gentleman & not a Cad.

I should hope that this suffices for your requirements forthwith. Sananda Maitreya !

‘Let Her Down Easy’ POST SCRIPT !

I’ve written literally thousands of songs & have as of yet still a back catalog of songs & ideas in the hundreds. I’ve had ‘Recorded & Published’ over 300. All of which I’m quite proud. The Gift Of Productivity’ is a great blessing to have.

There are always a few that standout in your being able to remember EXACTLY where you were & the conditions under which the song were composed. It almost never however bears much resemblance to how the song were received or the balance of your affections for it. Many songs are concurrent with having literally JUMPED out of a Guitar as soon as you pick it up, or a phrase triggered by sitting in a darkened movie theatre.

Many are brought forth from Dreams that awaken you to get your attention, in fact I’ve dreamt many, many of my songs. I remember ‘Delicate’ coming to me while driving to a dentist’s appointment. And me having to call my home phone & leave the song on the Answering Machine so as not to forget it, nor be distracted while at the dentist’s office.

But although more than a few songs are inspired by the END of a project I can only recall ‘LHDE’ being a real ‘STOP THE PRESSES’ moment where a song DEMANDS immediate fealty at the last possible moment & as if the entire project had finally found its Capstone. And the amount of people (particularly women) that it has affected, only bears this out all the more.

I once dated a woman in Hollywood that told me that the moment she heard the lines in LHDE (And If You Must Lay Her Down, May A Butterscotch Glow Be Her Dressing Gown), she KNEW she had to date that man. This she said before knowing exactly WHO that man was. And the line was totally not premeditated but came out as were it being channeled from another dimensional reality, as was most of the lines of the song.

All of this to say that the song is among those very lucky ones that one can only write ONCE in one’s lifetime. Like capturing a Fallen Star by being in the right place at the right time. The great maestro McCartney’s written an amazing quantity of bejeweled gems though only ONE ‘Yesterday’. The grand Master Dylan has composed an entire catalog of life altering moments, but only ONE ‘Like A Rolling Stone’. Springsteen only ONE ‘Born To Run’, despite having come up with over half a billion dollars worth of soul saving tunes.

I consider myself quite fortunate that ‘LHDE’ was granted me out of the blue & that our good brother master GEORGE MICHAEL was gracious & kind enough to further immortalize it with his beautiful & immense spirit.

Sananda Maitreya

Milano, April 26th 2022