Who is Audrey Jackson? Meeting in the downtown Philadelphia area we agree that by the end of this conversation we’d answer that question and more. A singer? An ambitious woman? These things are all true, but there’s more to the person than what you see. As we meet, I ask to record our talk and initially missed out on some good content, but throughout the conversation we’ve covered everything.
Who is Audrey Jackson? If I learned about you on the internet or at a show, how would you describe yourself to me?
I would definitely say I’m strong, the strongest young lady I know. Determined, positive, forgiving, loving, I could definitely relate to Audrey’s music. I have another name-its Ashley. Everyone in my family calls me Ashley, but everyone at school (Millersville University) calls me Audrey. I’m named after my grandmother.
You say people can relate to Audrey’s music, what in life made you the way you are at this point in your life?
Life experiences. I’ve been through a lot at a young age. I have a lot of stories (chuckles) are you sure you’re ready? I was raised by my grandparents and when I was in the 3rd grade, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. I had to move in with my aunt. I grew up in a more strict environment than my friends and we spent a lot of time in church. We’ll be there from 9AM until 6PM. When I started choir, that’s when I really enjoyed it. Growing up, especially in school was difficult. You know, when you’re dressed different and all to self, it’s a struggle. The only thing I had was my voice.
Do you feel like being in the church helped your decision to become a singer?
I would say yes because as a child I didn't have a choice to go (chuckles). I actually started singing other songs, sort of like how Toni Braxton used to sneak and listen to other music outside the church. I would listen to a lot of songs about love, songs from Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and Michael Jackson. I’m young but I consider myself an old soul.
Which artists’ music gravitated to you, to make you risk getting in trouble for listening to?
The fact that they don’t care about other people’s opinion. They’re brave, sexy, and strong. It’s very important to me because there’s a lot of people who try to bring you down. They’ll say “Oh your voice is only supposed to be used for religious purposes...” But I don’t believe that because people use music everyday; for motivation, just to get by, songs about heartbreak, and my music is to help people.
“People tell me I sound like Whitney Houston, Adele, Aaliyah, and even Beyoncé ” — Audrey Jackson
If there was one artist who you would compare yourself to, who would it be, and why?
People tell me I sound like Whitney Houston, Adele, Aaliyah, and even Beyoncé. They are all phenomenal artist but to compare them would take away from my goal which is to share my story. I’m going to put my feelings and my story in my music and that’s the main goal.
What is the writing process for you like?
I started writing about a year ago when I met my manager. I started writing about what I been through, but now I try to input different experiences from people around me as well. A lot of the music gets me through tough times. The songs I write sometimes, I really take my time because I care so much. It’s a challenge but I’m really excited about it.
You spoke a lot about your upbringing, growing up in a modest, humble household, how can that effect your growing success?
First off, for any success that I achieve I’m thankful for. I have a great team around me to raise my spirits. They believed in me, and helped me believe in myself. A lot of people were around me, especially in the church, shunning me saying “it’s a sin to sing songs like that” but I knew it was bigger than that.
How instrumental is having that support system?
I used to run track for many years. In a relay you have to pass the baton and you have to run good, and I’m like the last leg where I have to bring it home. So it’s like the music everyone plays their role and I have to bring it home.
Tell us more about your team…
We’re called It’s All Music The Movement. My manager had another artist and he was working with him before I came along. He introduced us and that’s where the movement started. The artist ended up not being loyal and is no longer apart of it. We’re based on a great work ethic, loyalty, and togetherness.
What’s a day in the life of It’s All Music The Movement?
First we get up and workout, listen to motivational talks via Soundcloud, then we head to the studio where either I’m writing or finishing up things we’ve started. Also my manager and I are writing and bouncing ideas of each other, then I do what I do!
“I was excited, it’s like growing up not a lot of your dreams come true but this is something I actually dreamed of and it came true. I was proud and it was so fun.” — Audrey Jackson
When were there times when it seemed all the hard work you put in paid off?
When my manager and I first started working, he asked me what was a goal of mine. I told him I had a dream of singing the National Anthem at a 76ers game and he made it happen.
Talk about when you received the call to sing, how did it feel?
I was excited, it’s like growing up not a lot of your dreams come true but this is something I actually dreamed of and it came true. I was proud and it was so fun. I’m actually singing again on February 8th so it’s amazing how I’m living out my dream.
What are some other things that, as you go on your journey, you’re checking things off of a to-do list?
Sitting down with record labels. Having people in those positions believing in me and in my talent is an amazing feeling. Winning a contest and being able to go to Gwinninfest where I met a lot of people as well. I sang in front of Frank Gatson. Just being in front of a man like that is cool in itself, but I was able to sit and talk to him. He gave me good advice about where I should take my career and things like that.
“I want to speak out on it because I know there’s a lot of young women who can relate and just need to know they’re not alone.” — Audrey Jackson
So now lets talk about the music..
Let’s.. (we’re both chuckling)
If I’ve never heard your music before, where can I find it?
Yes, I have a Soundcloud account and a Youtube channel. I just released a new song as a music video named “Ain’t Ready”. It has about 30,000 views on Youtube, and I have a lot of more work to do. I have an EP on the way called “The Love Triangle”.
The Love Triangle? That sounds like an interesting concept… Expand on that?
The Love Triangle is for the ladies. Its basically how we feel when we say we don't want a relationship but we’re being intimate with that person and it doesn’t work out because now feelings are involved. Now your girls are in your ear saying “forget him, lets go out” so now I’m out and meet another guy. This time we’re committed but he cheats now I’m heartbroken and this is what women really go through. I want to speak out on it because I know there’s a lot of young women who can relate and just need to know they’re not alone. I have a lot of music to just release like covers and freestyles just to hold you over.
Do you want to be a voice for young women?
Yeah I do, I think a lot of women had experience with relationships where it was a distraction to their lives and holding them back. It’s so many women who want to portray as a “bad bitch” but are stuck and not happy. I want to write for them, to give them inspiration to know not to settle, and overall to be happy. Even men too, life is too short not to be happy. I just think to have people thinking.
What’s the future like for Audrey Jackson?
A lot of personal growth. I feel like I have to experience life to find inspiration. I also want to support more. Life has been so busy for me I haven’t had time to even watch a new TV show. I always want to support but right now I’m on the grind. There’s this famous saying “you’re watching football, while they’re making money playing it” and I struggle with that. I want to be a better supporter to my family, but have a good balance in my career.
To keep with Audrey Jackson you can follow her on Facebook at Audrey Jackson, on Instagram at iamaudreyjackson, on Twitter at its_all_music_
Here’s the video to her latest single “Ain’t Ready”. Be on the lookout for The Love Triangle coming soon.