TJ CAPPOLA discovered Michael Jackson as a 10-year-old rifling through his parents' cassette collection.
He remembered the History album blew his mind.
"I fell in love with the music," he said.
"It was uplifting and joyful and made me want to dance.
"I started watching MTV and I taught myself all of the moves."
Within a couple of years, Cappola's older brother's dance teacher chanced upon a VHS of TJ strutting his Michael Jackson moves in the family's suburban Melbourne living room.
Cappola was recruited for an act in the dance studio's end of year concert before picking up a regular Friday night cabaret gig in Hawthorn, aged about 13.
"I missed all of my friends' birthday parties," Cappola quipped.
"But it was the best introduction to the entertainment industry."
Years later and more than a decade on tour, Cappola has established himself as one of the world's most authentic tributes to Michael Jackson.
To mark the 10th anniversary of Jackson's death (June 25, 2009), Cappola will again tour his Michael Jackson Live Concert Experience across Australia.
He said it was a fitting time to honour the music, dance and phenomena that transcended genres, ages and races.
"We decided to do the tour last year," he said.
"Michael Jackson gave me so much and it was my turn to give back.
"My passion and desire is to entertain people, making my Michael Jackson performance as realistic as possible and to pay the ultimate tribute to the King of Pop and to the people who respect his brilliant talent."
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A factory worker by day, Cappola's performance embodies the character, vocals and persona of Michael Jackson.
Together with a live band, professional dancers, choreography by Cappola's brother Adam, replica costuming and a state of the art lighting, Cappola recreates an authentic and electrifying musical masterpiece.
Cappola worked alongside Molly Meldrum at the Countdown Spectacular Concerts at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, performing to an audience of 15,000 a night, to the recent success of staging his biggest live concert production at Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne.
Other highlights were "Metamorphic" New Year's Eve, Jakarta, Indonesia, and winning the Channel 9 TODAY SHOW 2009 Nationwide Michael Jackson Dance Competition.
WHAT: Michael Jackson Live Concert Experience, Wangaratta Performing Arts Centre
WHEN: Friday, June 28, 7.30pm
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