AOL: Is there anybody that you've learned a lot from in terms of handling your career?
Akon: Oh, absolutely. Dealing with so many collaborations, you meet so many people and everyone has their own vision, so I feed off of everybody's vision as we're working. But of course there's going to be certain artists that you take certain things from -- certain artists that actually give you insight that you can walk with. A prime example was working with Lionel Richie; that was one of my most incredible experiences. [He's] the most humble guy as much as he's accomplished, and he makes you feel so normal. And then you go to someone like Michael Jackson, who's done and accomplished so much that there's not even words to explain what he's done to urban music and pop music. Every artist that I personally know has been influenced by him. To have basic conversations with them, to actually be in the same room to create with them, and learn from how they critique records, and how they mold tracks, and how they stack vocals -- just the simplest little things -- only makes you a better person. It makes you a better creator and allows you to open your mind up to new and innovative ways to create.
AOL: What specifically did you learn from Michael Jackson?
Akon: There's a lot of things I learned from Michael. The day I retire I will reveal all of my secrets.
AOL: You plan to retire?
Akon: Of course there's gonna be a time when I'll want to relax, spend time with my family, friends. You want to be able to look back and enjoy the success. That times gonna come eventually, just not any time soon.