Freddie Jackson continues taking it Nice and Slow
Rock Me Tonight. You Are My Lady. Jam Tonight. Tasty Love. Have You Ever Loved Somebody?
With 11 number one singles in his career and being a twice Grammy-nominated artist, there is no mistaking those songs or the wonderful sound of a true singer—Freddie Jackson. And after nearly 30 years in the biz, there is no slowing down for this consummate artist, either.
Since his debut in 1985, Jackson, who along with Sade and Luther Vandross, practical-ly invented the “Quiet Storm” late night format on Urban Adult Contemporary radio stations, has had quite a meteoric rise—and somewhat of a letdown—in the music industry. But he has not let that stop him from continuing to record as well as perform live on the road. Just in the month of June in South Florida, Jackson was the featured performer at The Kappa Ball in Ft. Lauderdale and the headliner at The Overtown Rhythm and Arts Festival. He actually joked at The Kappa Ball that he was planning on moving to South Florida. “I’ve got some people checking it out for me. Looking at some condominiums. Somewhere where I can stand on the terrace and look at the ocean. Wherever it’s comfortable, pleasant and it’s quiet. I’ll be happy,” said Jackson.
The accolades continue to come as well. His song, “You are My Lady” was just inducted into the Library of Congress as one of the all-time favorite love songs. Not too shabby for a man who never won a Grammy. According to Jackson, “Isn’t that amazing? It doesn’t always take a Grammy to put you on the map. There are people who have Grammys who are not in the Library of Congress. And there are people who have been in this industry far more than 30 years—and some don’t even have a #1 record, let alone a Grammy. It’s not over. I’m still singing; Good things come to those who wait. So maybe it’s not my time. There are a lot of people who had Grammys who are now six feet under because they had too many of them and they didn’t know what to do with their success. So maybe this is my test. As the Jamaicans say, ‘Soon come.’ Grammys do not solidify who you are as an artist,” explained Jackson.
Jackson’s career has actually seen a resurgence of late, courtesy of the hugely popular TV1 Unsung series, which profiled the singer earlier this year. According to EURWeb, Unsung’s Freddie Jackson January 23rd premiere ranked as the highest-rated episode ever among households with an average of 616,000 homes tuning in to watch the show. “Well that’s what happens when people tune in and think they are going to get a piece of dirt that they’ve been looking for all their lives,” laughed Jackson. As a matter of fact, he said he has been approached by the network to do a “live” Unsung concert show with several others and for him to host it as well.
There have been many changes in Jackson’s life professionally and personally. The most obvious one is his significant weight loss—107 pounds! However, he insists he is in the best shape of his life and that he is not sick in any kind of way—although that seems to be a persistent rumor. Said Jackson, “I lost 107 pounds and it took me three years and I’ve been off my diet for eight years, so it’s been 11 years now. I don’t eat meat, I eat vegetables. I learned how to eat. I’m gonna be 55 years old. They can say that I’m getting older, but they damn sure can’t say that I’m fat!”
Another change is that a lot of his contemporaries are no longer here—those artists who created the landscape of radio hits that we still sing (and love) to this day: Teddy, Gerald, Vesta, Teena, Whitney. But the one voice that was truly his contemporary—and competition—on the music charts is the one that he misses the most: Luther.
“I miss him dearly. I don’t feel like I have anybody to compete with anymore. Luther Vandross and I were competitive friends. So we liked playing tricks and wanting to know when our records were coming out. And we would say, ‘I don’t think you should record that—that’s not a good record. But if I recorded it, it would sound like this.’ So we used to play and have a good time with our competition. Not like in the industry today. I truly, truly, miss him dearly,” said Jackson.
In his almost 30-year career and making it to the top, the singer said he is finally starting to enjoy some time off —although not too much time off—because he continues to tour year round. “I just spent nine incredible days in Puerto Vallarta. I make time to smell the roses. I make time for Freddie. I make the money to do it, so why not live my life, plus I’m not leaving a dime.“
Freddie Jackson is still making music and still bringing the heat to his live performances. His latest cd, For You, is in stores now and you can buy it online at Amazon.com.