Like many people, musician Tony Succar grew up with the music of Michael Jackson. Unlike most people though, the 28-year-old drummer was inspired to rearrange Jackson’s classic songs and make them his own.
Born in Peru and raised in Miami, Succar wanted to arrange his favorite pop songs in the Latin style he loved. Jackson’s music is notoriously difficult to obtain and perform, but after years of hard work — and the help of OPB — he made it happen.
“Over two years ago, I got an email from Tony out of the blue,” said Dave Davis, OPB’s vice president of television production. “I knew right away this would make a terrific PBS special. I told Tony that same day that I wanted OPB to be his PBS station partner. And two years later, the program is done and about to be broadcast on PBS.”
Unity – The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson combines classic Salsa and Latin rhythms with some of Jackson’s most iconic hits, resulting in versions of “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” and “Smooth Criminal” like you’ve never heard before. Among the many performers are Jon Secada, Angel Lopez, Michael Stuart, Obie Bermúdez, Jennifer Peña, Kevin Ceballo, Judith Hill and Jean Rodriguez, and host Sheila E.
“Unity began as an homage to Michael, and to underscore the key messages I always associated with his music: unity and love,” says Succar. “Every song is true to the essence of the original, but I predict viewers will be inspired to find new moves in their living rooms as salsa and other Latin beats drive their favorite songs.”
As the concert’s co-producer, OPB will be the first station in the country to air Unity, several days before it premieres on PBS. Tune in to OPB TV on Monday, October 5 at 9pm to watch the show.