A disgruntled songwriter says that Jamie Foxx's song wasn't "Heaven" sent, but stolen instead.
Michael A. Johnson filed a lawsuit in March accusing the Oscar winner of rearranging lyrics to one of his copyrighted songs and presenting it as his own song "Heaven" off of his album "Unpredictable." He's seeking $15 million apiece from Foxx, J-Records, Sony Records, BMG/Sony Entertainment and Face Production for copyright infringement.
According to hand-written court documents found on TMZ.com, Johnson and a pal were watching "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in December 2005 when he heard Foxx perform a song that sounded suspiciously like his own ditty, the creatively titled "One of God's Angels Is AWOL."
Apparently, "AWOL" was copyrighted in 2003 and sent in a mass mailing to various record labels, including Sony Records and J-Records, the latter which released Foxx's album in December 2005.
"My songs were sent out in hopes of a contract, not to be changed and disguised as someone else's creation," Johnson states. "Mr. Foxx stole the potential recognition I would have received for writing the one of the number one songs in the country." He claims that he also lost out on exposure and royalties.
"The songs are so similar, that if my song was released today, people would think I copied Jamie's song," he continues. "I wanted to be recognized for the talented songwriter I believe I am."
As proof, Johnson points to eight lines in both songs that he feels are obviously copied. While some are similar -- like "One of God's angels missed roll call" in Foxx's song versus Johnson's "One of God's angels is AWOL" and "God's angel is lying next to me" (Foxx) versus "If God looked down He'll see His angel is here with me" (Johnson) -- other lines that Johnson indicates are only supposedly similar in meaning, but not words.
In the most dissimlar case, Johnson points out that Foxx's line "She had unfinished business" is just a briefer way of saying Johnson's line, "Let me tell you a secret no one ever knew before I was an angel and I was in love with you/God will have to understand I left Heaven for the love of a man."
The songwriter also expresses doubt about Foxx's claim that he wrote "Heaven" after being inspired by the birth of his daughter, who "at this writing I believe is 14-years-old." Apparently, he feels that the Oscar winner waited a few years too long to write such a song and makes a reference to Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely," which actually describes his daughter as "one minute old."
"Maybe Mr. Foxx thought or assumed because my songs were sent out hand-written that I was not professional enough to have had my songs copyrighted and took advantage of that," states the songwriter.
Johnson admits that he actually did get a contract from that initial mailing and went on to record three CDs.
Foxx, who won an Oscar for his leading role in the Ray Charles biopic "Ray," is a classically trained pianist and is known in the hip-hop world for adding guest vocals to Kanye West's hit "Golddigger" and teaming with Ludacris on "Unpredictable." He currently tops the list of finalists for this year's Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Awards with a nomination in eight categories, including top R&B/hip-hop album and top R&B/hip-hop artist.
Filmwise, he'll next star opposite Colin Farrell in the big-screen adaptation of popular '80s show "Miami Vice," which will open nationwide on Friday, July 28, and he'll once again show off his musical prowess in the adaptation of the musical "Dreamgirls," set to open this Christmas.