How Michael Jackson’s Duet With a 1970s Singer Became a Drake Duet

Michael Jackson collaborated with a number of talented musicians from Quincy Jones to The Notorious B.I.G. He co-wrote a song with a 1970s pop star which eventually became a duet between Jackson and Drake. Here’s how that happened — and why Drake ultimately distanced himself from the song.

Michael Jackson holding a microphone
Michael Jackson | Joe Traver/ Liaison

The pop star who said working with Michael Jackson was unusual

Paul Anka was a huge star in the 1970s. He gave the world hits like “You’re Having my Baby,” “Diana,” and Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Anka also got the chance to work with the King of Pop. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Anka recalled why it was “unusual” to work with Jackson.

“He was very unusual in the way he approached a song,” Anka said. “I’d have to sell him on some chords, and convince him that it could be different or better. Then, once he got in the loop with me, he contributed, but not in an aggressive way. He was a very mild-mannered and shy human being.”

“(You’re) Having My Baby”

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Anka and Jackson recorded material for Anka’s album Walk a Fine Line but all of it was ultimately excluded from the album. One of the songs Anka and Jackson wrote together eventually saw the light of day under the title “Don’t Matter to Me”– but not as it was originally intended. The final version of the song featured posthumous vocals from Jackson as well as new vocals by Drake. Thus, a duet between Anka and Jackson became a duet between Drake and Jackson. Anka recalled how he met Drake and Drake’s people in order to create the new version of the song.

How Paul Anka felt about Drake

“There was apprehension when we got together [because] you want to know people and you want to like them,” Anka told Ottawa Citizen. “I’m at the stage in my life that I don’t want to waste my time [but] he’s a good human being. The people around him are very smart, and he’s very smart, and I knew that the component I brought to the table that he would, as I told him, break the code, and it did. It just came together with him creatively and intellectually. We’ve got a great record.”

“Don’t Matter to Me”

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Why Drake distanced himself from ‘Don’t Matter to Me’

A duet — even a posthumous one — between two of the most popular entertainers in recent memory certainly had the potential to be a hit. Despite this, Drake actually distanced himself from “Don’t Matter to Me.” According to Consequence of Sound, Drizzy took “Don’t Matter to Me” off the setlist of his Assassination Vacation tour. This decision was Drake’s response to the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland, which brought renewed attention to Jackson’s alleged sexual misconduct. 

However, Drake did not completely sever his image from that of Jackson. More recently, Drizzy positively compared himself to Jackson in the chorus to one of his biggest hits, “Toosie Slide.” Jackson certainly left an impression on Drake, whether he performs “Don’t Matter to Me” onstage or not.

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