On Monday, a duet Michael Jackson recorded with Akon was released. It is the first official single from the upcoming album "Michael," a collection of previously unpublished songs from the late pop star.
A note handwritten by Jackson was found after his death indicating his desire that "Hold My Hand," recorded in 2007, be the first single on his next project, Epic Records said. The song is familiar to Jackson fans since an unfinished version leaked onto the Internet in 2008, but Akon returned to the studio to complete a new version, Epic said.
"The world was not ready to hear 'Hold My Hand' when it leaked a couple years ago," Akon said. "We were devastated about it." The song is now in "its final state," Akon said. "It has become an incredible, beautiful, anthemic song," he said. "I'm so proud to have had the chance to work with Michael, one of my all-time idols."
The song was unveiled on www.michaeljackson.com on Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET. It is available for purchase by digital download, the company said. Earlier, the site streamed another song, "Breaking News," as a preview.
"Michael," Jackson's first album of new music in nine years, will also include duets with rapper 50 Cent and rocker Lenny Kravitz, according to Epic. It will be released on December 14. The 10-track album will mostly include "songs that Michael worked on recently. There are also earlier compelling tracks," Epic said.
Sony's Music, the parent of Epic Records, has a contract with Jackson's estate for 10 albums of unreleased material over the next seven years.