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Meet 'Simply Jackson' – the Bury St Edmunds Michael Jackson tribute act who just performed his biggest gig with Royal Albert Hall performance





Fresh off his performance at the Royal Albert Hall last week which was his biggest gig yet, a Michael Jackson tribute act from Suffolk is making waves.

Edward Cook, 34, of Bury St Edmunds, not only spoke with Michael Jackson before his death, but also keeps in contact with the Jackson family and people who closely worked with the 'King of Pop'.

He’s also rehearsed dance moves with Jackson’s choreographers and lead dancers, Lavelle Smith and Travis Payne.

Edward Cook, 'Simply Jackson', works full-time as a Michael Jackson tribute act. Picture: Mark Westley
Edward Cook, 'Simply Jackson', works full-time as a Michael Jackson tribute act. Picture: Mark Westley

He said: “With the Jackson family, they love my voice and when I need help I’ll ask them questions. Like with make-up, I ask his make-up designer, Karen Faye, does this make-up look okay?

"For the crystals on my glove, I went to his costume designer, Michael Bush, who helped guide me.”

Simply Jackson’, who has been performing as the singer since he was at school, including his leavers’ assembly at Thurston Community College, couldn’t be happier after his Royal Albert Hall experience as a support act for P-Square.

He said: “I just love doing what I do and I love Michael Jackson so much. I’m living in a dreamworld. I’m doing this full-time as a career and I sometimes forget I’m getting paid for it because I love it so much.

“When you perform at the Royal Albert Hall I think it’s classed as the Holy Grail for any musician. So I do think that’s the highlight of my career other than maybe actually talking to Michael Jackson."

Interactions with Jackson’s family and associates stemmed from years of Mr Cook performing at fan events, which the superstar’s family often attended.

Mr Cook has been dancing as the 'King of Pop' since he was in school. Picture: Mark Westley
Mr Cook has been dancing as the 'King of Pop' since he was in school. Picture: Mark Westley

The Thriller-artist phoned the hotel where the tribute act was staying in 2008 after a performance in Devon and Mr Jackson invited him to come see him in London.

A couple of years later, the 34-year-old was able to have a brief conversation with the ‘King of Pop’ in the capital, who spoke to him from a hotel window.

"He said he was going to sleep and when he flipped the blinds it said 'I’m going to bed now, thanks so much for coming out'. I thought that's really quite sad," he said.

He first had a conversation with Michael Jackson over the phone in 2008 after performing in Devon. Picture: Mark Westley
He first had a conversation with Michael Jackson over the phone in 2008 after performing in Devon. Picture: Mark Westley

"He had practiced writing backwards enough to be able to do that. He also used to write that sort of message on paper airplanes and pillows just to get his message across."

Mr Cook can’t believe how far he’s come in his career but at the same time, it doesn’t come as a surprise to him.

“As long as I can remember, I was dancing before I was walking," he said.

'Simply Jackson' with his manager Andy Sexton. Picture: Mark Westley
'Simply Jackson' with his manager Andy Sexton. Picture: Mark Westley

"My first injury was from when I did a spin, and fell over before hitting my head on a radiator.

"In school, I was nobody so I thought about how I could be somebody, and so I ended up studying Michael Jackson.”

However, the 'Simply Jackson' role does come with some negatives.

'Simply Jackson' talking to reporter Cameron Reid. Picture: Mark Westley
'Simply Jackson' talking to reporter Cameron Reid. Picture: Mark Westley

"There are other impersonators that hate the fact I can sing, dance and look like Michael Jackson. So what can ruin the whole experience for me is that other tributes get jealous.

"I’d love to work with the other impersonators because it should just be about the music. This job is not an easy task - it's the hardest one to get right but it’s the easiest one to get wrong."

'Simply Jackson' performing a mooonwalk at the Abbey Gardens. Picture: Cameron Reid
'Simply Jackson' performing a mooonwalk at the Abbey Gardens. Picture: Cameron Reid

"If you don’t look the part you get laughed at immediately but you have to deliver it as well. I put my heart and soul into singing and it’s always the voice that’s the killer."