In a vitriolic atmosphere, attorneys representing singer Yvette Marine attacked the credibility of Paula Abdul, who took the stand in federal court Tuesday to dispute claims she was not the sole vocalist on key tracks off her Virgin Records debut album, “Forever Your Girl.”
A particularly heated exchange aired claims that Adbul had an affair with Jackie Jackson, one of the Jackson brothers, which caused the breakup of his marriage.
Marine is suing Virgin Records, claiming her voice was blended with Abdul’s on several tracks, including the hit single “Opposites Attract.”
Marine is seeking unspecified damages in the suit, which does not name Abdul. Virgin has since filed a libel action against Marine as a result of the singer’s statements concerning the suit.
Virgin co-counsel Dave Parker painted Abdul as someone who got ahead on hard work and determination. He also implied throughout that Marine, whose family has been in the music business for generations, took a less difficult path.
Marine testified last week that she recorded a guide vocal on “Opposites Attract” for Abdul to use, but it was excised by producer Dave Cochrane. Marine said Cochrane intended to use the guide vocal in “five to 10 parts of the song” to shore up Abdul’s vocals. The backup singer also testified that she waited three years to file her lawsuit because she was unaware she was treated unfairly.
Parker methodically took Abdul through the steps leading to her signing of a recording contract and the process of pre-production and recording of tracks for the disc as a way of showing Abdul’s work ethic.
Parker also hammered Marine’s lack of involvement in these steps, playing tracks from the album and quizzing Abdul on the participants.
“‘Forever Your Girl’ was my life,” Abdul said. The singer said she reviewed “hundreds of songs” for the album, searching for cuts that she “could sing and record well.” Abdul also said she abandoned her career as a choreographer and rebutted plaintiff claims that she was ill and left some sessions early.
The fireworks began when plaintiff co-counsel Laurence Berman tried to attack Abdul’s credibility, asserting she misspoke during the morning session in an attempt to mislead the jury. A claim by Berman that she had a relationship with a then-married Jackie Jackson brought a flurry of objections and met with snickers from the courtroom gallery. Berman alleged this was how Adbul got her first big break to choreograph a cut for the “Victory” album.
Berman played a Virgin-produced homevideo compilation in which Abdul appeared discussing her schedule and explaining how she divided time between choreographing routines for the films “Dragnet” and “Coming to America” during the day, and recorded her album at night.
A heated exchange
The statements on the video contradicted Abdul’s testimony stating she quit doing choreography to work on her album.
Berman repeatedly asked Abdul about the discrepancy, but the singer kept dodging the answer, leading to one of the afternoon’s most vitriolic exchanges.
“Could you just answer the question,” Berman blurted, pounding his fist on the lecturn.
“I’m trying Mr. Berman, but you’re not letting me,” replied Abdul.
“You weren’t trying to mislead the jury?’ Berman countered.
“I also turned down projects,’ said Abdul.
Earnings not revealed
Berman also tried repeatedly to get Abdul to acknowledge her earnings from sales of the disc, but she steadfastedly refused.
When the area of lip-syncing was raised, Abdul became noticeably impatient.
Berman contended she used prerecorded vocals while on tour, which the singer initially vehemently denied.
“Not once did I not sing live, if that’s what you’re getting at,” Abdul said.
The singer did say that she uses prerecorded vocals on “certain parts of song” to accommodate her dance steps.
Abdul returns to the stand today to face re-direct examination by Virgin lawyers.