Before he died this summer, Michael Jackson gave a Merseyside band, supported by James Bulger’s mother Denise Fergus, permission to release a version of his 'Heal The World' song to help "make it a better place" for suffering children.
The single is to be released by a group called Bulief on November 2nd and all money raised from the single will go towards opening a Red Balloon Centre for bullied children in Liverpool.
The James Bulger House will give children who have been bullied out of school a chance to further their education.
Last week saw Denise make her first personal appearance at a public event since the abduction and murder of her son in Bootle in 1993 as she helped promote the single at Liverpool One.
It is a subject very close to the 42-year-old's heart. She told JMU Journalism: “I’m hoping to save a lot of kids lives. Some are taking their own lives. It’s that severe. By the time the house is up and running I hope it will be full. I just want to get going and make sure these kids are safe and secure.
“I thought we need a house in Liverpool because bullying goes on everywhere. Some teachers are bullies. I can’t stop it all completely but if I can save just one life I am more than willing to do that.”
Terri-Ann Devine, a member of Bulief, added: “Everybody knows somebody who has been bullied. If you haven’t been yourself you know a family member or friend.”
On being asked if she believed that the single could reach number one in the UK charts, she replied: “Never say never. It could sell out in one day. I think there is every possibility. The most important thing is to get the charity recognised and raise as much money for the James Bulger House as possible. Anything else is a bonus."
Although a few song names were being thrown around by the band members, it seems fitting that Heal The World was given the go-ahead. Lewis Devine, producer of the song, said: “We tried to think of songs that would be fitting. The words in this song mean a lot to Denise, as it was James’ funeral song. We had no idea. So it was meant to be really.”
Terri-Ann agreed with her brother and fellow band member, adding: “The lyrics fit perfectly. You could sing that song and give a message without saying anything else. It’s so meaningful and so special to Denise.”
A self-proclaimed Michael Jackson fanatic, Denise spoke of her feelings when she heard Bulief’s version for the first time: “The hair’s stood up on the back of my neck. Of all the songs I would have wanted them to sing it would have been Heal The World. It has had a big impact on my life. I think it is an appropriate song because I think the world does need healing.
Denise had a ticket to go and see Jackson in concert in London this summer, and was also set to meet him after the show. After Jackson died, Denise said: "I felt like I had lost a member of my close family. I was just devastated. That’s a ticket that isn’t going to be given to anyone, not even my kids.”
The Thriller star was aware of James’ death and sent a personal message with flowers to the family. A tribute that Denise can now look back on with pride. “At the time I obviously had more important issues to deal with. But now when I look back I think it’s amazing that he took the time to send the flowers and personal message to me.”
Although the only project in line at the moment, this may not be the last single that Bulief release. Another Michael Jackson song, Gone Too Soon has been mentioned. Terri-Ann said: “Hopefully there might be another single in James’ name and maybe even an album as Denise is pushing for it.”
For now though everybody involved have their hearts set on making the single a success and raising as much money for charity as possible. “It’s just a case of people going out and buying it and believing that we can do this.”
Asked if she had a final message for anyone looking to buy the single or back the charity in any other way, Denise replied with a touching appeal: “Keep on helping me to make my dream come true in James’ name.”
Heal The World is being released on November 2nd and can be purchased in shops such as HMV and Tesco.
The single can also be downloaded online by following this link.
By Gary Maiden & Danny Masters, JMU Journalism TV
Denise & Stuart Fergus hope to raise funds for James Bulger House; YouTube: Bulief rehearse the song